A Story Within the Story: Hala Ghneim at BethBC
As an alumna of Bethlehem Bible College, Hala Douqmq-Ghneim began working for BethBC right after graduation. She began her studies in 1990, and since then, she has been a part of the ongoing work of the College. As this month commemorates International Women’s Day as well as Palestinian Mother’s Day, it was fitting to introduce you to one of our faithful women who serve both the College, but also the community around them. As we step into BethBC’s 40 years of faithfulness, we get to know those that have been with us for the majority of that journey.
Hala went from a BethBC student to librarian immediately upon graduation. The College was in need of someone to help organize, build and structure a library for the current and future students of BethBC. Hala stepped in, and with a library that was primarily only Bible study books, she transformed it into what is now a children’s book section, a reference room and a much more broad and deep book selection.
Hala’s own journey with the Bible College has been one of growth and grace. She describes her time starting off at the College as the new librarian:
“Sometimes I dealt with the students in a more formal/strict way. I was thinking that I was doing the right thing, and this is how the job should be; but now I realize I can be more friendly and show love to the students while I do my job. This way is very easy because I let the light that is in me show to all around me.”
The balance of going from student to librarian and learning how to engage in a different role was an adjustment. Hala describes her time in her earlier days at the College as special and communal.
“Dr. Bishara & Salwa always opened their home for us as students and staff, especially at Christmas time. The College was smaller then than it is now. We really lived as a real family. We were concerned for each other and prayed for each other.”
Hala describes how it has been a blessing to see how the College has grown and to witness it first-hand. She went on to say,
“I accepted the job because I loved the College. I loved the people and the atmosphere, and even though I was offered another job with the Lutheran School in Bethlehem, I refused because I couldn’t leave the College that I loved.”
It’s no doubt that the College played a role in her life, as when she was asked one of the most important lessons taken from her time at BethBC, she answered, “Loving and being kind to people by shining the love of Christ in any situation.” The duration of Hala’s time at the College has allowed her to see the seasons of growth, struggle, victory and expansion.
“The College is a big blessing to the community. It’s a light in the midst of darkness, and it is a blessing through all the activities that are offered for the community ranging from the language courses, the Global Leadership Summit Conference that empowers leaders in the community, educational programs for children, the Shepherd Society and more. We also have a women’s group to assist and empower women as well as a refugee ministry to refugees in Jordan.”
Hala, having been part of the fabric of the Bible College for so long, says to current and future students of BethBC:
“You came to BethBC for a reason. God chose you to be here, and he has a plan for your life. While you are at the College, try to seek the Lord and follow his teaching.”
Hala followed her own advice that she is giving now. By her faithful service to the College, she has been a part of something bigger than any of us can be as individuals. Her role with the BethBC community impacts the lives of students and faculty daily. For many years, her presence has been one that contributes to the larger mission of the College, and her example is one that we can look to as faithful and steadfast. People like Hala are the reason why we are able to celebrate BethBC’s 40 years of faithfulness!
Kamila is volunteering full-time with Bethlehem Bible College in the Communications Department. In addition to her love for writing and sharing stories, her endeavors in Bethlehem and greater Palestine involve facilitating cultural immersion programs for young adults from North America to see first-hand the realities that those living here encounter. At times deemed the “eternal optimist,” Kamila holds fast to the future hope of restoration and reconciliation of all things back to God. When she’s not writing, or organizing trips, you’ll catch her training and competing with the Ultimate Palestine frisbee team.