From Egypt I Called my Son; Ordination of Our Chaplain Michael Arteen
Last Sunday, Bethlehem Bible College Chaplain Michael Arteen was ordained by the Evangelical Council of Churches in the presence of his family, friends, and colleagues from BethBC. More than our Chaplain, Michael is a spiritual mentor for our students. He is Egyptian and is married to our Academic Dean Assistant Grace Al-Zoughbi Arteen, and together they serve at the College.
I Interviewed Michael and Grace Arteen, and they talked more about this step and what led them to it.
His First Flame
“I grew up in a Christian family, my mother is Coptic, and my father is Evangelical. I was 14 years old when I accepted Jesus Christ as my own Savior in the Brethren’s Church in Upper Egypt.”
The Beginning of the Ministry
“When my life changed, I wanted to be part of a ministry. My first ministry ever was teaching Sunday School, in the same church where I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I loved the kids and ministering among them. Step after step, God started to develop me and my skills, and he started to train me for bigger ministries. Then I started ministering with the youth groups in the same church. I used to visit the houses in the village I came from, a small village named “Nag Hammadi” in Upper Egypt. I used to go with my friends and knock on the doors of people, giving them Bibles and inviting them to our church. Since I became a committed believer, I really wanted all people around me to know Jesus as their Savior, and to taste a bit of the happiness, joy, and change I’m experiencing.”
More Cities for Christ
“I moved to Cairo, to study in the University of Cairo. I studied Physiotherapy, and I also had a ministry among the students, until I moved to the US in 2003. I was studying and serving as a part-time minster in the US. And then God started to get me busier in the ministry, so I started to minister in the Arab Churches in different states in America.
“One day I felt God calling me to be a full-time minister, not to be a pastor in particular, but a full-time minister. And God gave me grace in the eyes of any church I was ministering with. At the same time, God started to work on my heart and life, with a desire to be sent to the nations. I didn’t know which country, but God was preparing me to leave my comfort zone, where everything is easy and available, to go to another country where it might be harder, but with more chances to minister to Jesus.
“After I met my wife, Grace, she started to talk to me more about Bethlehem, and how there is need for ministers. In 2014 when I first visited Grace, it was also my first time to visit Bethlehem. I really loved the place, and people, and I felt peace. In my first visit I met Pastor Jack, the President of Bethlehem Bible College. He invited me to be part of the College’s family, and to be the Chaplain and the spiritual mentor of the students at the College. He asked me to pray about it and answer him back.
“It immediately connected in my mind, the years of God’s working in my life and heart, and the idea God gave me to be sent to the nations. The country is not unknown anymore, it is Bethlehem! I prayed a lot, and accepted the offer Pastor Jack gave me. I went back to America, finished all my things, and I moved to Bethlehem in September 2014.”
“When I first came to Bethlehem and started to minister among BethBC’s students, people started calling me Pastor Michael. After a year Pastor Alex Awad (the previous Dean of Students at BethBC, and a minister from the United Methodist Church in the US) was retiring, and he asked me to continue his work and to take his place in Bethlehem. Grace and I accepted the offer, and we went together to Oregon to train on how to be ministers for the Methodist Church.
“A voice from almost everywhere started to appear about my ordination, the Methodist Church, the local church in Bethlehem, my family and friends in Egypt started asking me: Are you planning to get ordained? All of these voices led me to think, why not? We didn’t know how to get started, where to go? But God led us, and opened doors for us through the Evangelical Council of Churches in Palestine, represented by Pastor Munir Qaqish. I presented the idea to them, they studied it, and thanks to God I felt accepted and very comfortable. Within 10 days all the processes were done.
“Last Sunday was my ordination day in Bethlehem. It is a big responsibility, but I’m proud of this move, because he who started the good work will finish it to the end, I pray that God gives me harvest.”
About Michael’s ordination, Grace (his wife) says: “I always encouraged Michael in all that he did. I didn’t see him only as a minster but as a leader and a shepherd. We always talked together about how much people need a good shepherd to lead and support them in their lives. I always saw Michael as the right person for this position – who feels with people, shares their pains and joys, and most of all because he is a praying man. I know Michael more than anyone, and I know how much he is a committed person who wants to honor God in all that he does in his life.”
We at Bethlehem Bible College congratulate Pastor Michael on this blessed step he took, and we pray that the Lord will continue with him. May he be a blessing to everybody he meets and minsters to.
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.