Stepping into Suffering: BethBC Student Retreat 2018
“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!”
Our students’ retreat this year was different than usual: they went to Jordan to serve among Syrian and Iraqi refugees. They stepped out of the box, and went to encourage, listen and feel with those refugees who left their homes and countries because of war and persecution.
With the support of our president, who went with the students, and the Shepherd Society, which is the helping hand of the Bible College, our students visited houses of the refugees in Amman, Jordan. They listened to their stories and prayed with them. It was a blessing for both the refugees and the students themselves.
Enjoy reading some of the student testimonies:
“It was not the first time I visited the refugees in Jordan, but it was the most special one because this time we served among children and youth. It was wonderful for me and my colleagues when we saw that our mission and goal was to bring Jesus into the heart of every child.
This visit changed the way I see and experience life. I have learned a lesson I will never forget for the rest of my life: everything I have in this life is without any value, and all the things that I strive to reach will not stay with me in the end. So, I decided to restore my calculations and work harder to reach eternal life with Jesus.
Every time we go to serve among the refugees to encourage them, but it’s me who comes back full of strength and encouragement. This gives me strong motivation not to stop in the call that the Lord Jesus has called me: “Go and teach all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Mathew 28:19
-Berta Shomali, Biblical studies 4th year student.
Ibrahim, one of our Mass Media students, expressed his feelings in a very nice way:
“Those people are living in houses that can’t be held by its own walls because of the huge amount of suffering and pain they are facing! They welcomed us with warm greetings and eyes that hide a lot of pain; more than anyone could handle or live with. And when you reach the point when they tell you their stories, and how they fled their homes, you can’t help but cry your heart out! May those tears reduce and share their big amount of pain! At the end of our visit, when they smile with hope, I can’t help but think of the small seed that dies in the ground to come back more alive than ever! I can’t take those people out of my heart or prayers!”
“It is one of the closest ministries to my heart, and it was not my first time to visit. Every time I go to Jordan and meet with the Syrian and Iraqi refugees, I learn something new and different! It is indeed very hard to listen to their heartbroken stories, and to see how many tears they shed while remembering how they fled their homes under the rockets and guns. It was a challenge for me to listen to all of this pain and suffering, and be able to encourage them and assure them that God is still in control while praying with them!”
-Raneen Qumsieh, Biblical Studies student.
Alfred Ghawali, a Biblical Studies student, said that the trip was the hardest and most beautiful days of his life: “I was blessed and a blessing. All we did was hear and pray for them, but they appreciated it so much. They needed someone to listen to their pain and stories.
I met two little boys who have been friends since they lived in Iraq. They fled with their families to Jordan, but one of the families are leaving Jordan to go to Australia because of the hard situation they are living in! I watched the two boys talking about one of them leaving the other. I witnessed the amount of pain and loss they were facing and experiencing! That was too much for me! Too much for anyone to handle! At some point, I felt paralyzed. How can anyone handle so much pain, and what can I do to take this pain away? To help them? I know that I can pray, for prayers change the impossible!”
We are so thankful for everyone that helped our students have this experience, and mostly we are thankful for those families who welcomed them into their humble houses with a warm smile, and for teaching our students what it is to be strong in facing a life crisis with hope and joy! We pray for the Lord of peace to bring His peace into the whole world! Amen!
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.