Palestine (MNN) — College students everywhere are cracking open new textbooks for the fall semester, but Bethlehem Bible College (BethBC) didn’t slow their roll during the summer. The college in Palestine offers short language courses to the surrounding community in English and Hebrew.
We spoke with Claude Juha, the head of the Community Training Department at BethBC. She says their language courses have a two-fold purpose. Community members can gain marketable skills, and it is a great way to invite non-Christians to their campus.
“It’s kind of an outreach program where we target the local community here in Bethlehem. They come and see our work at the college and see our mission. This is helping them to know more about Christ.”
Interestingly, around 90 percent of the language program’s students from the community are Muslim. For example, the nearby city of Hebron is totally Islamic, and they currently have 10 students enrolled from Hebron.
It is a rare opportunity for Christian language teachers to live out the Gospel.
Each language course packs 40 hours of class time into two and a half months. BethBC offers between 10 to 15 courses per year, depending on teacher availability.
Juha says, “We are looking more to expand our department to have more languages…here in Bethlehem for other individuals who are looking forward to having a foreign language like German or Italian.”
The language course teachers are ESL certified volunteers from the United States. Juha says the few months they have with their volunteer teachers is a beautiful time.
“I was noticing from this summer [that] most of the teachers who come here, they were so engaged with the students who took the English courses. They felt that they wanted to stay more with the students. They had a good relationship with them. They felt very hospitable; especially our Palestinian students are very hospitable and…very welcoming. The teachers felt at home.”
This past summer, BethBC had eight volunteer language course teachers from the US. But Juha says they always need more.
“Since most of the teachers are willing to come during summer, the rest of the months of the year we are out of teachers.”
If you are interested in serving as a language course teacher with BethBC in Palestine, click here to learn more!
There are also several other opportunities to volunteer with BethBC. Find the full list of volunteer roles here!
“I’m hoping to reach a very experienced teacher through you who have it on their hearts to come and interact with the local community and to give them some experience teaching,” Juha says. “Most of the people here are looking to expand or to have a new experience from internationals. So I think the college is a good place to come and serve.”
Juha says they also need believers who will commit to praying for their ministry in Palestine. BethBC is strategically placed to be a light for Christ and language education is opening doors for the Gospel. They are even celebrating the recent accreditation of their Hebrew Language Diploma program that will officially start this month.
“Pray for us to expand and to find new teachers that have great experience [and] that are willing to come here and benefit the local community,” Juha asks.
“We need also their prayers to help us expand in the English language to make it not only short courses during the year. We are looking forward to searching for a certain English program that is accredited or is internationally well-known that can be held in the college here in Bethlehem.”
Header photo courtesy of Bethlehem Bible College.