Women’s group at Bethlehem Bible College encourages women to pursue their God-given dreams

An interview with Madleine Sara

Madleine Sara is not only Rev. Jack Sara’s wife, but a professor at the Bible College with a strong vision for empowering women. I sat down with her to ask her about the women’s group she started this fall at BBC.

Why did you start a group for women at Bethlehem Bible College?

For two reasons. First, my personal calling is to be engaged in women’s ministry. I have a strong passion for women. I believe in women and their potential. For 13 years, I served in our church, leading women’s Bible Study and Discipleship groups. When we, Jack and I, came to the Bible College, I was searching for my role here. I felt the Lord’s hand guiding me to continue working with women and that all the previous years were preparation for something bigger. My dream is to have a women’s center, and what I’ve started at the Bible College is a step of faith in making this bigger dream a reality. Second, in an Arab society, open doors for women are limited. Although many women have college degrees and wonderful potential, they often get married young, do not pursue these degrees and stay at home.

What is the purpose of your group?

I hope to empower women to be active in their societies. This begins with a woman understanding her worth, value, and God-given purpose in life, then giving her the tools and the power to pursue this vision and dream. Even if a woman stays in the home, she has a huge impact on her children and the next generation that will lead society. I want to see change in my society and women influencing our children, our communities, and our Palestinian nation. I strongly believe I will see a generation of powerful women with great spiritual influence. In my role, I want to create the space for every woman to realize she is created in God’s image; that this gives her value and purpose. They have the choice to create change and enact God’s great plans. “I am a Pot in His Hands,” is the name I received from the Lord for this project, because every woman can be molded by God to fulfill His purposes.

What do you think are the main issues facing women in Palestine today?

In a male society, it is a struggle for a woman to find her place, both in the secular world and in the church. Although, others and I have teaching gifts, we do not always have the opportunities to use these gifts. Women in the church are often restricted to children and women’s ministries. Though we might have the same talents, gifting and capabilities, there is less chance for me as a woman to live to my full potential than a man. Another issue is the lack of respect and dignity. Even if women have jobs, they are often looked down on.  I believe, women deserve to have a refined sense of identity, authority and dignity

What success have you seen from this group?

My idea is that this group will multiply. When women leave this group after a few months, I would like them to lead groups of their own. This is what I have done. Now, two of the women who were in previous groups are helping me lead a group. One of the women who participated last fall in our group was afraid to speak and pray publicly. She had struggled to accept her outward appearance. Because of our group she decided to eat healthy food and embrace her elegant qualities. Although, this woman knew the Lord for years, in our group she has changed.  Wonderfully this woman has shared her testimony in church and is a living example of great results. This is one of the women now helping to lead a group with me this spring. My hope is that this group, “I am a Pot in His Hands,” would create the space and the spiritual atmosphere for women to change and experience the power of influencing others and that our numbers will grow exponentially.