Universities across the U.S. have faced financial trouble as a result of COVID-19, and many colleges around the world are no different. Marianne Smith of Bethlehem Bible College in Palestine explains that the university was particularly hard hit because of its sources of income.
“About 30% of our overall income is locally generated, and that comes primarily from tourism. The shutdown in March [has] not opened up [for tourism] yet, [and] probably won’t be opened up until sometime next year,” she says.
With this in mind, Smith hopes that Giving Tuesday can help. Giving Tuesday is a movement started in 2012 that encourages people to do good. It is recognized the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and is the perfect time to give to people and nonprofits in need.
Smith hopes gifts this year can help the university compensate for the shortfall in tourism income so they can continue their unique mission.
An Intentional Institution
Bethlehem Bible College is a very strategic institution, beginning first with its location.
“We operate from Bethlehem and the West Bank, so all of Palestine, and then we also have additional online programs that reach out to Arab students around the world,” Smith says.
The university is also unique because of the accessibility it offers students.
“We are the only Bible college that teaches in Arabic, so we’re pretty much it [for] people that are working in Palestine and among other Arab students around the world.”
Another part of being a strategic university is remaining aware of the history of the area and local believers carry.
“Most people think that all of the Christians in Palestine are Muslim converts, [but] they’re not,” Smith says.
“The description of the Day of Pentecost [says] that there were Arab speakers in the crowd. [Palestinian Christians] are the forerunners of the faith. They’ve been [keeping] the light of Christ burning for the last two millennia, [which is] pretty remarkable.”
How to Help
You can support Bethlehem Bible College by donating to their Giving Tuesday campaign here. Smith emphasizes that this time of year is vital for the university like many nonprofits.
“Bethlehem Bible College receives approximately one-fourth of our yearly income between November 15 and January 15 every year, so starting with our Giving Tuesday campaign [and] going through [the] end of the year. We rely on those funds to operate next year,” she says.
To learn more about Bethlehem Bible College and how you can be praying for the students and staff, visit their website.
Header image courtesy of JESHOOTS.COM via Unsplash