BBC’s Volunteers say, “Come and See!”
Bethlehem Bible College is grateful for the small stream of international volunteers who pass through our doors on a regular basis. Currently, we have a handful of people volunteering with us from the United States, Canada and Australia. Most of our volunteers help us with things like English Communications, overseeing our guesthouse and teaching ESL classes to the community. Whatever the length of our time together, it is always is a great encouragement to us as well as a wonderful and life-changing adventure for them.
What is it like to actually live in Bethlehem? A volunteer at BBC can expect to meet Christian brothers and sisters from around the world; from every tongue and tribe and nation and denomination! But even more than this, it is a chance to connect in a meaningful way with Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ and hear stories of what it is like to live in this land—stories that the typical tourist will never have the chance to hear. It is an opportunity to stand in prayer with each other, enjoy some fantastic Middle Eastern cuisine, attempt to sound out some worship songs in Arabic, get to know the children who live in the refugee camps that surround the college, and see some unique history—all in the context of living right down the street from where Jesus Christ was born!
As visitors to the West Bank, we are often asked the same first question: “Aren’t you scared?” We pause a bit and think of the simple hospitality we have experienced here; the numerous homes we have been invited into; the countless cups of coffee and tea that have been served to us with warm smiles. We think of walking home at night—the dark streets feel safer than those of many large cities. We think of the Muslim mamas selling their dates or grapes in the street and how so many of these poor have refused any payment for their generous samples. We think of the ancient elegance of Manger Square and the peace that can be found in quiet moments in Bethlehem’s holy places. We think of the bustling busloads of tourists who pass through here every day and Bethlehem’s numerous holiday parades and celebrations. We think of the godly staff of this college and the faithful Christian community here that has learned to stand for the sake of the gospel in this land.
Even in the midst of a cacophony of sound: regular Muslim calls to prayer mingled with the occasional sound of a volley of tear gas being fired, there is less a sense of fear than there is a sense of being called to pray; to engage with the heart and mind of Jesus Christ for the sake of justice and peace for everyone who lives this Land.
To all who are considering a visit here, we can only say—come and see! Ahlan wa Sahlan (welcome) to the land of Jesus Christ. You will never be the same.