Today is International Women’s Day, and Bethlehem Bible College has been featuring women among their staff and students over the last few weeks with a campaign called “Celebrating the Lives of Ordinary Women.”
The reality is Palestinian women in Arabic culture are not often celebrated. In fact, women tend to be treated as second-class citizens.
Bethlehem Bible College’s communications officer Amira Farhoud says, “Each house here has a different story. There is a lot of beating, a lot of threatening, [and] a lot of abuse for women and for kids all behind closed doors. We know a few, but there are a lot of stories that are hidden.
“A woman can’t defend herself because your father will tell you that your husband can do whatever he wants with you — beat you, hit you, humiliate you. You’re his now. So yeah, we have this culture.”
At home and in society, Arabic women often hear they are worthless, or at least “worth less” than men. Then they open up social media and are bombarded with messages that if they want to achieve a sense of worth, they have to strive for impossible beauty standards or become a counter-cultural “boss babe.” Neither messages are ultimately fulfilling.
The gospel’s message to women is entirely different in every way: God has instilled women with inherent dignity, value, and worth as co-heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Our worth is in Jesus,” Farhoud says. “We know that He loves us. He respects us. He gave us our dignity. He gave us our worth. The Gospel of God makes the whole difference.”
Ultimately, Bethlehem Bible College is educating and uplifting women in the heart of the gospel. The college even has a women’s ministry that encourages female staff and students with biblical counseling. Today, their aim is to celebrate these women!
“In a society that doesn’t respect women a lot, here at Bethlehem Bible College we are well respected [and] well treated,” Farhoud says.
“We came to say that you are celebrated even if you are an ordinary woman…. The small things that you do are extraordinary, like cooking for your kids, like teaching them, like managing all of that while being a full-time staff or a full-time working mom. You are extraordinary. So that’s the idea of the campaign.”
This International Women’s Day, Farhoud asks, “[Be] praying for us, of course — especially for us as women in our daily life jobs that we do and for our families, for our children, and even for Arabic society.”
Pray for Palestinian women to embrace their worth in Jesus Christ and be beacons of confident faith to their families, friends, and communities.
This story originally appeared at Mission Network News and is republished here with permission.