“I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat…” ~Jesus Christ
The Shepherd’s Society, the charitable arm of Bethlehem Bible College, celebrated the opening of new offices this morning, on the campus of BBC. As the community outreach arm of BBC, the Society was established in 1996 to meet the practical needs of the economically challenged in the region. “We exist to show the love and mercy of Jesus Christ to those around us, regardless of their religious background,” said George Abdo, the new Director of the ministry. The Society helps to provide practical assistance such as food, financial aid for medical expenses, and small grants to help struggling and unemployed families start a new business such as olive wood carving or shepherding.
“The financial situation in Bethlehem is difficult. We have a special burden to help our Christian brothers and sisters remain in Bethlehem, which has traditionally been a Christian city. Many are leaving to find better opportunities elsewhere, but we want to help them remain in their homeland and bear witness of Christ here,” said Mr. Abdo. “However, Shepherd’s Society exists to help all the poor, whether they are Christian or Muslim. Every Christmas and Easter we give gift baskets of food to the Muslim families that we are helping, telling them that it is a gift from the Christ, our God.”
In addition, Shepherd’s Society also has an office in Gaza and travels to Jordan several times a year where they have the opportunity to minister to the many Syrian and Iraqi Christian refugees. “They feel hopeless. Conditions of life are very difficult for them. All of them had to leave their homes behind and they may never be able to return. They are sleeping on the floor. They need practical assistance and encouragement from other Christians. Many in Gaza are also homeless and struggling to survive. Most of the world is not aware that there are almost 1,000 Christians in Gaza. We thank God for the generosity of international donors who are giving us the opportunity to minister to the needy across this region.”
“BBC is not just an academic institution. We exist to be a light in the community and show them the love of our Lord in practical ways” said BBC President Jack Sara. “The first exposure that many local people have to the college is through this ministry.”
Much of the BBC staff, Shepherd’s Society staff and local Board Members were on hand this morning to celebrate with ribbon-cutting ceremony. Previously, the Society had conducted its ministry from smaller quarters. After remodeling part of the men’s dormitory into a spacious new office, everyone came together to celebrate and enjoy a large meal. “We thank God for His blessing. It is so fulfilling to share the love of our Lord in this way, said Director Abdo. “I love my job. Coming to work every day is like a honeymoon.”
Amira is the Communications Coordinator of Bethlehem Bible College. She is a committed Palestinian Christian who has a passion for writing about the intersection of faith and seeking justice for her fellow countrymen. To read more of her writings sign up for Bethlehem Bible College’s monthly newsletter.