Pastor from Gaza
Pastor Hanna Massad, a of BethBC graduate, released his first book under the title of Pastor from Gaza, which gives an interesting history on the Christian community in Gaza.
Hanna Massad is an alumnus of the College in Gaza, as well as a former professor there. He is now living in the United States. He was born to a poor Greek Orthodox family and raised in the midst of the injustice and violence of Palestine’s Gaza Strip. He hungered for God and learned to love unconditionally the people who hated him.
The book tells Pastor Hanna’s story about the challenges of being a Christian in the Gaza Strip, recalling both the highs and the lows of his time as pastor of Gaza Baptist Church. It describes the way God blessed his ministry there, as well as his wife Suhad who was the Director of the Palestinian Bible Society Gaza Branch. The book also recounts the trauma of the persecution they faced there which, tragically, led to the martyrdom of one of their dearest friends and co-workers. It also explains a bit about the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians and what it is like to live under the rule of Hamas.
Pastor Hanna adds, “This book is a good introduction to those who find the conflict hard to understand and who want to know how the church is coping with such a hard situation. Pastor from Gaza will encourage and inspire you. I hope and pray that you will be blessed by it.”
Our Branch in Gaza
The Bible College has been encouraging study for students in Gaza for many years. From 1990 until the early years of this century, lecturers have traveled to Gaza and held classes, while some students were able to travel and study in Bethlehem. This all came to a halt as problems developed in the area. In 2011, several Christians asked if plans could be made to revive and renew the College’s involvement in biblical and theological study in some way even though restrictions made it impossible for College staff to travel to Gaza. Reverend John Angle from the United Kingdom, acting as the Director of the Study Center for the College, took up the challenge to initiate, fund and develop the College’s teaching ministry amongst the Christian community in Gaza.
Studying in Gaza is not easy. Teaching is in modular form with short periods of intensive study when lecturers visit. Skype, internet communication and e-learning is also used. Life is not easy in Gaza – electricity is intermittent and rarely available for more than eight hours a day, and gas for heating and cooking as well as all forms of fuel are in short supply and expensive. Of course there is always the fear of conflict, which is not a conducive learning environment.
Pray for the Christian community in Gaza. Many Christians are leaving and many hope to leave. Recent estimates (in early 2016) suggest the total Christian population in Gaza is now below one thousand. The region needs peace. Pray for the Gaza Study Center; not just that it will survive, but that it might thrive and serve this needy area. Pray that God will sustain a new vision for its future.
Pastor from Gaza is about the fires of persecution, the balm of forgiveness and the God who walks beside us through the flames. Get your copy from Amazon! You won’t regret it!
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.