This March was a special month for BBC students. They experienced both spiritual renewal and social experience in their lives through their community service in the area of Bethlehem.

The Student Council and Mrs. Shireen Hilal, the Dean of Students, in cooperation with BBC, arranged a weekly visit to St. Nicholas Elderly Home in Beit Jala this month. They spent quality time with the elderly there, prayed with them, talked with them, sang worship songs for them, and brought them gifts. Especially on Mother’s Day in Palestine (March 21st), they went to the elderly home to remind those people that they are not left alone, but loved by them and Jesus.

Students also visited two or three families in Bethlehem every Saturday of this month. They chose the “forgettable,” poor, and simple families, bringing with them food for the families and gifts for the children.
The students also arranged a small Mother’s Day celebration at the campus for the moms and staff at BBC. They celebrated the hard-working women at BBC, and gave them flowers as an act of appreciation.

Another thing students did during the spring months was going to the private and public schools in Bethlehem,  to talk to the high school students there about BBC and encourage them to be part of our big family. They visited more than 20 schools, and they also reached out to the local churches in Bethlehem from different denominations.
We thank God for our enthusiastic students and our amazing Dean of Students, working alongside each other, to build themselves spiritually, and to reach out to the outside community.
Psalm 27:4

One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.

The 2017 Annual Student’s Spiritual Conference in the North was attended by thirty of our students and a few faculty members. This year they chose a theme for their conference from Psalm 27, calling it: “One Thing I Ask!” The sessions of the retreat were also taken from the same passage:

Session One: “Entering into God’s Presence”
When we enter into God’s presence, God changes us and transforms who we are. He grants us spiritual blessings when we spend time with Him.  As children of God, we have to be diligent in our walk with God.

Session Two: “Gazing on the Lord’s Beauty”
When we are far away from the Lord, we cannot see or experience His beauty. God desires for us to be close to Him at all times. When we see God’s beauty, we experience His protection over our lives, the significance of seeking His face and witnessing His goodness as we wait for Him.

Session Three: “Satisfying the Heart of God”
Walking according to God’s calling and mission for our lives satisfies God’s heart. Walking faithfully and humbly with God means we care for the sheep (His children) that He has entrusted us with. 

Final Session: “Declaring His Glory”
There are so many ways for us as Christians to declare God’s glory. When we are continually in God’s presence, we gaze on His beauty and thereby satisfy His heart. We can declare His glory by:  loving God with all our heart, and loving our neighbor as yourself, making disciples of all nations, demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit as we seek to tell others about the great God we serve, and leading a life of holiness in every way.
It was a spiritually satisfying conference as well as an entertaining one. The group visited some magnificent places in the North such as Banias, Kufur Yaseef village, Haifa and the Bahá’í gardens, and the Stella Maris church in Haifa.

The students came back thankful for this amazing opportunity they had to get closer to God and one another. They came home full of energy for their final exams.

Who is better to feel with you than someone who has been through the same trials as you? Who can feel with an Iraqi refugee better than a Palestinian refugee? Thirteen of Bethlehem Bible College’s students, along with the Dean of Students, Mrs. Shireen Hilal, and Shepherd Society social worker, Mr. Sari Zeidan, went to Jordan last week to serve among the Iraqi refugees there.

Twice a year, the Shepherd Society organizes a trip to Jordan to visit Syrian and Iraqi refugees who fled to Jordan due to civil war and persecution that are taking place in their countries. Palestinians from BBC’s staff, students and the Shepherd Society go to show them love by standing with them in their pain, praying with them, and giving them basic supplies like food and blankets. It is surprising what they receive in return.

Through Our Students’ Eyes
“One of the families I visited this time is a Christian Iraqi family. They fled to Jordan after one of ISIS’s guys stopped the wife while walking in the street one day, and he started to hit her and curse her because she wasn’t wearing the hijab. He hit her badly, and broke her nose. After that day, they moved to Jordan, and for two years she was healing from that trauma. They moved to Jordan without their two daughters because their daughters had moved to Canada. Now they are working on getting visas to Canada so they can reunite with their daughters.

“What affected me most is that this family told us many times that the Bible said that there will be hardship, but after hardship, the sun will rise. We knew that this family were new believers; they asked us to pray for peace and security, and for them to reunite with their daughters again.

I experienced that we take a lot of things in our lives for granted, such as living with our families. It is a little thing that we even don’t think about or thank God for, but when I saw this family praying and waiting to see their daughters again, to sit at the same table for dinner once more, I felt how much I’m taking my life for granted. I’m asking God to provide things for me when I need to thank Him for the hundreds of blessings I have in my life.” -
Ranin Qumsieh, Biblical Studies student

“I visited an Iraqi family who looked death in the eye. ISIS terrorists attacked their house, and started to shoot randomly, but they escaped miraculously. What touched my heart is the hope they still have. It is extraordinary to have an armed man inside your house shooting, and something hard to forgive or forget. But that makes me believe that God is still in control, and they are alive now praising and worshiping God. He is truly in control of every detail in our lives, and He won’t ever leave us.  Those people, after all they have faced, still trust in the Lord, and believe that He is in control of everything. They were the ones who blessed me and changed my life!” - Riham Khair, Mass Media student

One thing is certain in all the chaos and injustice in this world; one thing that can’t be denied as true and trustworthy: Him. The Highest One, the Almighty One, the One who is still, and will always be in control! 
Women’s Conference: "By Faith, We Will Break the Arrows"

“A Pot in His Hand” Ministry, in cooperation with other sister ministries, organized its first women’s conference in Tayba, a village in northern Palestine, entitled, “By Faith, We Will Break the Arrows.” The conference was based on Ephesians 6:16: “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
Leaders of the conference focused on the impact of what holding on to the past can do - build barriers that prevent and hinder spiritual growth in the lives of believers, which can often result in disgruntled, competitive or indifferent character. The women participating in the conference wrote their barriers on paper and metaphorically nailed these issues from their past onto the wooden cross. There was a prayer room where some women spent time after midnight praying for their lives and the lives of others.
The conference ended with a prophetic picture of a heart broken with arrows. Both Sister Madeline Sara and Sister Salwa Salman led this session by holding arrows and explaining the work of the enemy in pointing arrows at believers and the Church. They explained that it is time to return these arrows to their opponent and declare that the enemy is defeated forever; and that as believers, we declare our full awareness of what the enemy is trying to do by corrupting and destroying the Church of the Lord and its sons and daughters.

A Pot in His Hand Magazine
The women ministry’s team of BBC worked very hard to produce the 9th issue of our magazine, “A Pot in His Hand.” In this issue, we emphasized on the importance of self-image for women and their role in society that has led us to dedicate this issue to stories and articles that highlight women’s conflict with traditional roles society forces upon them.

We challenged stereotypes by highlighting successful happy families that are led by women, and women who are making history. This issue is an attempt to present opinions and experiences of diverse types of women. However, what we can confirm with confidence and faith is that the Bible sanctifies the value of a woman and her status, and encourages us to care and give attention to her growth, education, progress and advancement in all areas of life.

A Pot in His Hand’s Vision
With a vision to provide a voice to the voiceless in a male-dominant society such as Palestine, the magazine is part of the women’s ministry of Bethlehem Bible College, started by Madeline Sara.
The purpose of this ministry is to equip women to identify themselves as valuable; to build up self-worth and help women understand that they can be agents of change and influence in the world, and finally, to help them identify their strengths to achieve their goals.  Young women need a vision of who they are, where they are going, and what they are to achieve in this life. The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).
Madeline Sara, a visionary woman’s leader and wife of BBC President Jack Sara received the name from the Lord.  “This name reminds us that God is the One who shapes us into what He wants us to be.”

For Women, by Women
As a seasonal magazine that comes out every 3 months, the entire production team composed of women; including the photography and design, as well as the writers and editors. Half of our small team are graduates from BBC.  For every issue, the team prays and seeks God for His help and direction in addressing such topics as achieving dreams, healthy relationships between men and women, raising children, spiritual topics, and stories of brave women who faced sickness and other challenges, but learned how to “rise and shine” in every difficult situation. The magazine is distributed to Palestinian women from all backgrounds, including Christian and Muslim. 
At the end of June, our students participated in Erasmus+, a cultural exchange program, with a British group from different cities across the UK.
It was a very extraordinary experience for our students who had the chance to get to know new people from a different culture. It helped our students to develop their English skills, as well as their confidence in speaking English. A British group of eighteen people came to the Holy Land and experienced our culture, food and music, all the while taking a deeper look into the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that is taking place in this land.

“I learned a lot of new things about British people on a cultural and political level. This program gave us the chance to meet new people and to get to know them and their way of thinking, which is a lot different than us.” Raneen Abu Sada, Biblical Studies student.

Another BBC student, Mousa, added: “We found that difference is good, and we are looking forward to meeting with new groups. What was remarkable for me was the song workshop we did together. We joined in one heart to sing a song, and merging the two languages together was an amazing thing that showed that we can unify two different groups in one song. Music is the language of all people.”
Thanks to our volunteers, Bethlehem Bible College is hosting diverse courses this summer to help build the community and take a part in paving a bright future for our local community. Having over 120 participants, most whom are young adults seeking jobs. We provide them with opportunities to improve their skills to help them qualify for jobs. Our courses this summer are:

1.     Practical Accounting
2.     English for Business
3.     Summer English Program (beginners level)
4.     Hebrew language
Christ at the Checkpoint Conference – Young Adults will be held at the college at the end of August. Taking place once every two years, the conference is already drawing a lot of interest from our students, staff and local community.

The planning committee members are all young adults working together to encourage our local young community to keep on seeking hope and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

The conference includes lectures, workshops, discussions and field trips, all presented in a creative method to catch the youngsters’ attention and contemporary interests as well as challenges. The title of the conference this year is “Faith in Our Reality” - focusing on the fact that we all have a role!