Volunteering at Bethlehem Bible College, Summer 2016

Spending a month volunteering at the Bethlehem Bible College (BBC) was definitely a highlight of my summer, if not my whole year. I did not know what to expect when I first moved into the guesthouse at the start of July, knowing only that there would be adventures, challenges, and tasks I could not imagine in store. And I’m happy to say that the BBC did not disappoint. Whether it was attending lectures about the political situation and theology of the land, spending long afternoons cutting out chameleons from paper plates, or running a world-themed kid’s camp with volunteers literally from around the world—all of these memories have become so unique and precious to me. I hope to share a little bit of my experience at the BBC, in order to thank the Bible College from my heart and strongly encourage you to visit or volunteer with their amazing team.

During my month at the BBC, I took Arabic lessons in the morning and volunteered in the communications office in the afternoon. I was paired with a local Palestinian volunteer, also a student of the Bible College, to plan the arts and crafts section for the upcoming children’s summer camp. I was able to help run and experience this seven-day kid’s camp along with two other teams of international volunteers at the very end of my stay. This year’s camp was very special because it was the first camp the BBC hosted for both Christian and Muslim kids alike. Knowing this interfaith dimension of the camp made serving there even more meaningful to me. Throughout the preparation and running of the camp, I loved that our whole team was completely focused on expressing God’s love to these children, regardless of their faith or background. Many of the Muslim children were from local refugee camps, and we recognized that our purpose was just to serve these children by showing them the love, peace and hope of our God.

My favorite part of volunteering at the BBC was undoubtedly the people I got to know there. Between practicing Arabic with my local partner and hearing the stories of new friends from South Africa, Canada, and Bolivia, I was able to learn about countries and cultures that I had not known before and form genuine relationships with many brothers and sisters in Christ. It was heartwarming to see how people from all over the world could connect almost instantly over a common faith and compassion for the situation in the region. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to volunteer at the Bethlehem Bible College, and I really look forward to returning for yet another adventure in the future.