Bethlehem Bible College celebrated its 29th commencement ceremony in June and it is always a bittersweet time for us. Students from the Biblical Studies program and the Masters in Christian Leadership program have now finished their journey at BBC and are preparing to begin another one in real life.
We’d like to introduce you to John Matar, a 23 year-old Biblical Studies graduate who we know is going to do great things for the body of Christ in our region.
Following, are John’s thoughts in his own words.
Life at BBC
During my 4 years at BBC, I felt like a spoiled child among an amazing, big family. I can say that I spent my favorite years at the college—learning, growing, making friendships for life, and getting to know the people of God.
The students were like my brothers and sisters. I enjoyed time of fellowship and fun with them, as we cried, laughed, learned about Jesus and read the Bible together.
The faculty’s offices and hearts were open for us all the time. They were always ready to listen to us, and to pray with us whenever we needed it. I would especially like to mention Dr. Bishara Awad, the founder of Bethlehem Bible College, who encouraged me a lot with my ministry and I know is still praying for me. I also want to mention Michael Arteen and Mrs. Grace Al-Zhoughbi, Mrs. Shireen Hilal—and I could never forget Pastor Alex Awad who was always ready to listen and encourage his students. All the teachers were a blessing in my life and the students’ lives.
Growth in Faith and Ministry
My spiritual life has grown tremendously during my years at BBC, thanks to the morning devotions we do twice a week and our times of group prayer. Learning about Jesus every day and digging in the Bible to deeply study each verse gave me a clearer view of who the Lord is and why He created me and His purpose for my life.
I am currently leading a youth ministry, where we host weekly meetings and share the Bible, pray and have a time of fun fellowship. I have been sharing everything I learned at BBC with the young men and women, because I want His Word to go deep into their minds and hearts. I want to see them like arrows in the hand of the Lord.
I also have a ministry in visiting people in need of encouragement and prayer. We listen to their stories and talk about the love of Christ and the great things that he had done in our lives. After spending time encouraging them from the Scripture, we also pray with them.
Future Plans: A Youth Pastor
I want to be a youth pastor in Bethlehem area, because it is written that the harvest is great but the workers are few. The college helped me with theological information and helped to grow my faith and confidence—and now it’s my turn to go out to the world and share the gospel. It’s not my plan for my life, it’s His plan and purpose in my life. Yeah, I do believe that He can work miracles in my life. If He can do it for me, He can do it for anybody else too!
A word of Encouragement
I encourage every student to come to BBC, either to study theology or to sign up for another program, because it’s not just a normal school. BBC is a family where the Spirit of God is living and working. By the end of your study years, you will not only hold a degree but you will become a servant of the living God. I’m not talking about a normal educational experience, but a spiritual experience that will change your life forever and the lives of people around you.
To my favorite college, BBC, I want to address the leadership, faculty and staff: Thank you for your hard work, for your unconditional love, support and encouragement. Keep doing what you do: changing lives and sending highly qualified leaders into the world to change it as well.
My name is John Matar
I’m a BBC Graduate
I’m a light in my country.
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.