Ongoing Journey: A Year in Review
As the celebrations for Bethlehem Bible College’s 40th anniversary came to a close at the end of 2019, we wanted to look back on special and monumental events of 2019. It was a memorable year as the decade came to a close, and we are glad to share them with you!
40th Anniversary Celebration
After forty years of training and serving Christian leaders, we celebrated with the College’s family both local and international over a weekend in early November 2019. The Student Reception highlighted our students and alumni and where many of them are now serving in different ministries and careers that shine the light of our Lord. The weekend was topped off by our Fundraising Gala Dinner, where Bethlehem Bible College (BethBC) leaders, current and past, shared the story of faithfulness with those in attendance. There was a lovely dinner and an auction to raise funds for our student scholarships and other projects at BethBC. It was a weekend of encouragement and victory in Jesus’ providence for our College and community.
Diploma in Hebrew Language
BethBC also launched a diploma program in the Hebrew language, which was open to members of the community. The main objective of the diploma is to broaden the type of courses and programs offered at the College, and to respond to the needs of the local community by offering a long term program that enables participants to acquire skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening in Hebrew. Participation in the course helps to open doors for different kinds of job opportunities where work may overlap with that of other Hebrew speakers. The first cohort in the program consisted of 26 students, most of whom were from the Bethlehem and Hebron areas of Palestine.
Mission Network News
In 2019, Mission Network News (MNN) continued to shine a spotlight on Bethlehem Bible College through a series of articles and short news highlights. MNN’s interviews and articles spanned many topics ranging from the College’s perseverance in training up Christian leaders in the midst of uncertainty, how to get involved through volunteering at BethBC and even a more historically accurate depiction of Christmas in Bethlehem as told by Tour Guiding Program Coordinator, Haytham Dieck. It is a tremendous blessing to have MNN share the work of Bethlehem Bible College to their audience and expose more and more people to the realities faced by Palestinian Christians in the land.
BethBC Academic Blog
As 2019 was drawing to a close, Bethlehem Bible College launched our very own academic blog in both Arabic and English. The purpose of the blog is to have a free space where academics and friends of BethBC can publish biblical and theological articles pertaining to the Christian faith within the Palestinian context. Several articles have already been published, and there will be more to come in 2020. Check out this amazing new platform that allows the College to publish and share the research of our context here in Palestine through the lens of faith.
Academic Coalition for Interfaith Dialogue in Palestine
In October of 2019, a local initiative was launched between Bethlehem Bible College and the Faculty of Sharia from An-Najah National University in Nablus. This initiative was named “The Academic Coalition for Interfaith Dialogue in Palestine.” The aim of the Coalition is to promote civil peace in Palestine by creating real opportunities for communication between academics in Islamic law and Christian theology to align efforts toward changing misperceptions of the other on both sides, strengthening brotherhood and rejecting extremism and racism.
As leaders within their respective religious communities, BethBC and An-Najah National University are influential in preparing and shaping religious thinking in Palestine. Through this initiative, there are great possibilities for building societies shaped by freedom and diversity. At BethBC, we are encouraged to be a part of forming the foundation for students and our communities to create a future in Palestine where greater understanding between religious groups can thrive.
Looking to the Past with a Vision for the Future
We count the blessings of 2019 as we enter 2020. Each year brings us to a greater understanding of the work that the Lord is doing here locally in Palestine, but also how we are participating in other movements and initiatives throughout the world. Moving into 2020, we carry that same understanding, and we yearn to see what God has in store for Bethlehem Bible College in our ministry of training up Christian leaders to serve in their communities, wherever the Lord may lead them.
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.