We give thanks to the Lord for being our refuge and protecting us during these difficult times. David said in Psalm 121, ”I will lift up my eyes to the mountains: from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord.” It is amazing how the Lord protected all the family of the College.

Dear friends,

We give thanks to the Lord for being our refuge and protecting us during these difficult times. David said in Psalm 121, ”I will lift up my eyes to the mountains: from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord.”  It is amazing how the Lord protected all the family of the College.

After forty days of blanket siege and curfew, Bethlehem is attempting to return to a state of normality. As people drive through our “little town”, renowned as the birthplace of Christ, our Savior and Lord, rampant destruction is evident. A thick fallout of dust and debris from tank and heavy artillery movement covers the area. Streetlights, roads, building fronts, trash dumpsites, cars, traffic islands, telephone boxes, light poles, street railings, stone fences, and some parts of the Nativity Church itself, all bear the scars of the latest incursion.  In addition, some public buildings, homes and offices were ransacked, damaged and vandalized. Most of the physical damage can be repaired in time. What cannot be dealt with so easily is the pain of those who lost loved ones and the emotional, physical and psychological damage and trauma that were inflicted on the civilian population. A whole city of men, women and children were, except for the occasional lifting of curfew, held hostage in their homes, denied all basic human rights. It was a crime for them to open the window, walk on the street, go to church, go to a hospital, go to school, or conduct any normal day today business.

There is also the fear of further incursions and arrests. And so the citizens of Bethlehem, though now free to move around within the boundaries of their city, remain imprisoned in their own city and fearful of the return of the Israeli army with the tanks.

We are very thankful and praise God that the standoff ended inside the Church of Nativity. Yes there was loss of lives, deportations of Palestinians to Gaza and out of the country and some damage to the Church, but for us it was a relief that it ended in a peaceful way and that we can once again feel free to move around and get back to the business of the Lord.

Most of our students, faculty, and staff returned to classes on May 13th and are making a renewed effort to finish the semester. An intensive study program is being implemented whereby a single course will be taught for an entire week. Hopefully, the semester can be finished by the end of June. Graduation has also been postponed to early July.

We are very thankful that the College campus escaped any physical destruction and that we can resume classes without the added burden of having to do repairs. We sympathize with other institutions that incurred physical damage to their properties and belongings.

Though many of our students, staff and faculty faced the same trial by fire as the rest of the Bethlehem community, their faith in God sustained them and brought them through the difficulties. None of them were injured or arrested, although soldiers entered and searched the homes of several. In one instance, a home was searched twice. When the father was asked about weapons, he used the opportunity to explain that his only weapon was the Holy Bible. Also, one of our teachers, Dr. Raed Abdul Masih, had his home seized by 70 soldiers and used as a lookout post for three days. He and his family were confined to one room during this time, while their home was ransacked and some items stolen.

A silver lining in the midst of all the chaos is that the Church has been an instrument of God in bringing comfort, healing and much needed aid to the people regardless of their religious or denominational persuasions. Here at BBC members of our faculty, who could not teach because of the incursion, immersed themselves in humanitarian ministries. They became the channels between donors and recipients of food, medicine, money and toys. At Bethlehem Bible College, we wish to thank all who have contributed to the humanitarian needs in Bethlehem and other areas.

Please continue to pray for:
– Peace in the Middle East and for an end of the occupation.
– For Nathan Musselman, an American who was a volunteer at BBC and now is in an Israeli jail for being part of the international peace group.
– For Bethlehem to stay safe from further incursions by the Israeli army.
– For people to find jobs.
– For the students to complete the semester.
– For the 24 graduates. (12 BA and 12 two year’s Diploma) that they will be mightily used by the Lord.

Again, thank you for all your efforts on behalf of the Bible College ministry. We have received hundreds of emails and letters of encouragement and prayers. Several called, and some old friends that we have not heard from for years called to inquire about our safety. We praise the Lord for all of you  – our partners and friends.  God answered all the prayers and we are all safe.
We look forward to the day when these students will take up leadership roles in the different churches and Christian ministries in the land, that they will too be part of the ministry of forgiveness, love and reconciliation
We know that our labor (and yours) is not in vain in the Lord, as Paul so gently reminds us in Col. 3:23. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

In Christ’s love & service,