“Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in” (Galatians 6:9).

“God speaks in different ways, and He spoke to me through this trip.  I came back to Bethlehem with a fresh inspiration to continue working for the people.”  Gabriel Hanna has just returned from a conference in Kenya, where he was invited by the Christian Organizations Research and Advisory Trust of Africa (CORAT Africa) to speak about media as a tool for development.

As Director of Bethlehem Bible College’s media department,  “Gabi,” as he is known around here, is also producer of several BBC television programs that reach across the entire Arabic-speaking world.  A graduate of BBC himself,  he is the creative dynamo behind a local talk show that deals with social issues such as family, violence, education, the environment from a scriptural point of view.  He also oversees a children’s Sesame Street style program, and several shows that specifically minister to women, which he produces along with Madleine Sara.

From May 16th to May 20th, Gabi shared about his role at Bethlehem Bible College and related the struggles of the minority Christian population in Palestine to those facing the Kenyan church.  Encouraging the Kenyan Christians towards social change through the use of media, Gabi taught along the theme of “continuing.”

“’Continue’ is a big key word for me.  In spite of the great obstacles we face, we must ‘continue’ to do good, ‘continue’ in service to others, continue—even in spite of war.”

It was Gabriel’s first time to Kenya, and certainly the first time for most of the people there to meet a Palestinian.  Even so, the scene was familiar to him.  “There were clashes in Nairobi not far from where we held our conference.  In some ways it was all very familiar, but I was so impressed with how the church in Kenya is pressing through their challenges.  They are very kingdom-minded, seeking to be a positive force in their society for good.”   In addition to being challenged and inspired by the Kenyan church, Gabi also greatly enjoyed his time in the garden-like beauty of Africa: “It was refreshing to be in the midst of all that nature!”

The Kenyan and Palestinian church share a common struggle; whether to try leave their region in search of an easier life elsewhere, or remain under limiting circumstances.  Yet, both regions are in need of believers who are committed to remain and be salt and light in their nations.  For his part, Gabi is committed to remaining and encouraging others to do the same:

“Paul said that it was far better to depart and be with the Lord, and yet he preferred to remain with the people so that he could serve them.   Are we like Paul?  Are we willing to take a more difficult life for the sake of others? All over the world, the church is rising up to the challenges of their culture and being salt and light in their communities.  What we are doing for the Lord is never in vain. There is a power in serving others!  God blesses us with joy when we do what is right.”