Bethlehem Bible College Goes Abroad
As 2019 drew to a close and we jumped into 2020, Bethlehem Bible College (BethBC) was busy around the world speaking, teaching and attending different conferences and events. We have been continually amazed and thankful for the Lord’s provision and the work of his hand in the ministry of BethBC both locally and abroad.
Bethlehem Bible College was honored to conduct its first workshop in Germany where the invitation was addressed to the Online Biblical Studies Program students who are all Arabs living in Europe. This activity of the BethBC Online Department comes out of its passion and care for the needs of the students and the necessity of meeting them face to face in order that the College get to know them personally, encouraging them, and meeting their needs as one big family.
This online workshop included nine students and three faculty members: Dr. Rev. Jack Sara, President of Bethlehem Bible College, shared with students the importance of today’s church mission and ministry in the world; Dr. Rev. Munther Issac, Academic Dean of BethBC, shared with students the art and application of conducting expository preaching; and Dr. Madliene Sara, faculty member and lecturer at BethBC, presented vivid, applicable presentations on Christian counseling.
At the conclusion of this workshop, the College was able to receive substantial feedback from the students who expressed their appreciation for the meeting and community as well as the applicable academic learning material that was shared.
Nearing the end of 2019, President Jack Sara and President Emeritus, Dr. Bishara Awad, traveled to South Africa to participate in a conference about church planting. The gathering had people from many different countries around the globe, and their time together was one of encouragement and sharing testimonies about church planting taking place in cultures around the world. This gathering of church leaders gathered in Pretoria highlighted the major movements within different countries that are empowering indigenous church planting movements. Many sessions included sharing about discipleship, mentoring and local movements and strategies for church planting.
President Jack Sara commented on the gathering, “Our churches here in Palestine are smaller than others, but we don’t measure by number; we measure by impact. Conferences like the one in Pretoria allows us to gather resources and build stronger networks. We see the reciprocity in terms of building God’s kingdom among the nations that we serve in, which is a great encouragement. BethBC has more of a global impact with our students that are now serving all over the world.”
Our network and impact is bolstered through these gatherings, and we consider these types of meetings to be ones that help to fuel the ministry of Bethlehem Bible College.
Professor of Comparative Religions, Daniel Bannoura, attended the International Qur’anic Studies Association’s annual meeting, which happens in conjunction with the Society of Biblical Literature through the American Academy of Religion in San Diego in late November. He presented a paper on “land verses” in the Qur’an, which seeks to understand the function and purpose of the holy land as influenced by its biblical subtext.
Dovetailing this academic conference, Daniel was invited on a speaking tour in California and Texas at the beginning of December. He spoke on topics relating to the ongoing conflict with Palestine/Israel, Palestinian theology, and Christian-Muslim relations to around 15 different universities and churches. These venues for speaking opened the door for Daniel to share more about the work of Bethlehem Bible College and the ministry we are doing both here and around the world.
Also traveling to America at the end of the year, BethBC student Riham Khair attended the Passion2020 Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Passion is a gathering of young adults that challenges those in attendance to live in such a way that God’s glory is revealed to those around them. Riham’s experience at Passion 2020 was, as she said, “A shift that I experienced in my spiritual life.” There were 65,000 students worshiping God together, and Riham found another group of young Arabs from countries like Morocco, Lebanon and Eygpt, and they spent time in prayer for one another. “It was special for me to meet an Arab group and pray together. The conference was focusing on our generation being prepared to shine the light of God by being the light God has called us to be.” We are pleased that our students are able to join in these conferences that bring young adults together from around the world.
Dr. Bishara Awad was invited to speak with a delegation from Palestine on behalf of Palestinian Christians in Holland. This five day trip involved meeting with government officials and members of parliament to present the plight of Palestinian Christians in Palestine. As the situation grows more difficult in Palestine, it is important to share with other world leaders the ongoing struggle of Christians, and their emigration from the land to other parts of the world. The delegation from Palestine shared with the government leaders their desire to see the situation of Palestinian Christians reversed so that the upcoming generations can stay and thrive in the land.
We see these opportunities to share the realities of Palestinian Christians as a crucial step to build awareness and also take steps toward a more sustainable future in Palestine.
President Jack Sara attended the World Evangelical Alliance meeting in Indonesia at the end of 2019. This gathering provides a platform for leaders in the evangelical community worldwide to come together to meet. President Sara serves as a catalyst for convening national evangelical leaders in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. With over 1,000 leaders in attendance, there was tremendous energy and engagement with members of the Alliance from many different cultures and churches. President Sara was also able to share and preach at several different churches in the Jakarta area.
It is our honor to continue to represent Palestine on the global stage among evangelicals around the world. We thank the Lord for these opportunities to share about the work not only happening in Palestine and BethBC, but within the MENA region.
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.