在此期間，我們成功地將親身授課轉為網上課程，而所有的學生都在網上完成了該學期的課業。除此以外，我們亦透過 Zoom 提供了一些免費的課程供大眾參與並且深受歡迎。我們將繼續嘗試尋找新的方法去提供更多的網上課程。在暑假期間，我們也開始了網上的阿拉伯文課程，並將舉辦一個有關伯利恆的導遊班。
A Thank You Letter from Rev. Dr. Jack Sara, President of the Bethlehem Bible College
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Greetings from Bethlehem, where once again we find ourselves in the midst of spiking cases of Coronavirus and an on-going state of emergency. We are thankful for God’s protection and also the support and generosity our brothers and sisters in Hong Kong have shown us. It is also very important to us to keep you informed about our situation as we walk through this extraordinary time.
As you know, with the first reported cases of COVID-19 in March, the Palestinian Authority acted swiftly and decisively, closing everything but essential businesses. The College had to shift to a work-from-home model, including all instruction, as the lockdown continued for nearly 100 days. Since that time we have had additional lockdowns on and off, and the state of emergency is in effect for the next month as the death toll is rising. Currently, the staff is working reduced hours on campus.
Because of our Online Program we were able to convert all of our in-person classes to an online format. All of our students finished their semester’s studies online. Additionally, we offered free online (Zoom) courses for the general public who responded with great enthusiasm. Our staff continues to think “out-of-the-box” to offer other new online courses. During the summer we have offered an online course in Arabic, and will be offering a tour guiding course about Bethlehem.
At this time, our desire is to start the fall semester with classes in-person, but we have to receive permission from the Ministry of Higher Education. Our students all prefer that, as well as faculty and staff. So much of the transformation of our students comes through the “family” atmosphere of the College, and from mentoring (both formal and informal) that can only take place face-to-face. The final decision will be based on the safety of our students, faculty, and staff.
We are very aware of the hardships that the Coronavirus pandemic has caused around the world. It makes us more aware than ever of the global Body of Christ who can help one another in every way. At Bethlehem Bible College we are reliant upon the faithful giving of our partners, especially as situation here becomes more dire and our local revenue streams (most of which come from tourism) have completely dried up this year. We know you are praying for us, as we pray for you. If you are able to support us with an extra gift this year or become a monthly supporter, we would be most grateful.
Thank you again, and may God bless and protect you during these trying times. Please visit us when the situation allows, and I look forward to visiting Hong Kong in future to share with you how God is using the Bethlehem Bible College to bless the Christian and Palestinian communities here in the Holy Land and beyond.
Rev. Dr. Jack Sara
Bethlehem Bible College