Meet Marsail Al-Jilda our Student from Gaza

I never imagined for a moment that I would be able to join an educational institution like Bethlehem Bible College, especially since we (as residents of the Gaza Strip) had no idea of its existence. This is due to bad political and economic conditions and the continuous closure of Gaza for more than twelve years, and the severing of internal relations between parts of the Palestinian homeland. I consider myself one of the lucky ones to go through this wonderful educational experience of joining Bethlehem Bible College.

I loved working in a spiritual ministry and helping in the activities of my church in Gaza, especially the young women’s meetings and the summer camps. I also loved studying many theology courses at the Thomas Aquinas Center of the Holy Family Church in Gaza. All of that encouraged me to register at BethBC for a master’s degree in Christian Leadership and Ministry. The courses offered during this study have strengthened my sense of belonging to this land, my faith, the Holy Bible and the Word of God.

Since joining the program, the College has contributed, in many ways, to my development as a master’s degree student. They assigned highly qualified people to communicate with me and follow up on academic matters, in terms of books, lectures, and research. Gaza suffers from a scarcity of special books for Christian and theological studies. This scarcity of information available for us, as Christians in the Gaza Strip, led to a decline in my performance at the beginning of my academic journey, but the support I received from my brothers, priests, and leaders at the College changed that obstacle. They encouraged us (students in Gaza) by sending recorded lectures and following up with us in person through private communication sites, and encouraging us to give our best and not to give up.

As a mother of three young girls in their teens, I am particularly impacted by the conditions that Gaza suffers from politically, the strict presence of Islamic rule, and the successive wars on the Strip, which terrorize us and our children. Due to all these conditions, and the ruling party which does not respect Christians as persons but considers them as a winning card to use to obtain protection, all of this pushed me to settle in Bethlehem for nearly a year now, while my husband is still living in the Gaza Strip. This puts even more burdens on my shoulders. However, the College and those leading it continued to help me academically, and in addition I enjoy the relationship of love and cooperation with my classmates, the faculty and administrators of the College. All have supported and encouraged me in an indescribable way.

I cannot deny what the College afforded me on a personal level, as it expanded my theological perceptions and ways of communicating with those around me. I notice the change in my personality and the way I communicate with my family and those around me. In addition, the information I gain through my studies is reflecting on my daughters, as I become able to clarify things that were ambiguous to them, both on the social level (customs and traditions) and academically, through the educational curricula.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to the administrators and faculty responsible for this endeavor. I wish them more progress, success, on the local and global levels. I hope the College will work to raise more awareness in Christian communities about Christianity and deepening in the word of God and in His love, for it is the beacon that illuminates our hearts and minds.