God Is Faithful: ABTS Graduation Ceremony 2022
October 14, 2022
Look and See What the Lord Has Done
September 16, 2022

New Bachelor of Theology Students Join Us on Campus

More than two years after the pandemic forced us to close our classrooms, students from several Arab countries came together for an in-person residency at ABTS! During this induction period, from the third to the twelfth of October, we heard them share about their passion for God’s work, and we could see as we listened to each of their testimonies during morning chapels that God’s fingerprints were evident in each of their lives and ministries. Their personal testimonies are always a highlight for us. They remind us of God’s continuous work in our region, and how He is growing His Church within difficult contexts. They also remind us how God leaves the 99 for the one, and at the same time how He welcomes 3000 to His Church in one day; how He mends one broken heart, but also opens the sea to save a multitude of people. They remind us that He is the same God today, whose calling they have obeyed.
During this residency, we strove to lay a foundation by introducing first-year students to theological education at ABTS. Elie Haddad, president of the seminary, introduced the vision and educational philosophy at the seminary, and faculty members gave students a series of introductory teaching in research methodology, critical thinking, and academic integrity. Equally important, the residency aimed to form the students into a cohort and a community of learners. In the words of Academic Dean Walid Zailaa:
The residency is an indispensable element of our community formation, especially in its holistic focus — not only on the cognitive aspect but also on the behavioral and affective aspects. We could see how the community came into being as the residency progressed. That is why, as much as possible, the residency sought opportunities for fellowship such as a one-day spiritual retreat.
The retreat took place on a Saturday. It is an essential part of the non-formal components of our curriculum. It helped the students to bond together, and with ABTS faculty and staff. We started with individual worship focusing on disciplines such as solitude, silence, personal reflections on Scriptures, and allowing God to speak during prayer. Then, we moved on to communal worship. Bassem Melki, our Dean of Faculty, shared:
When we began to talk about fear and worry, and the story when Jesus calms the storm, we had to stop and pray because some of the students were in tears. There was a lot of room for vulnerability. For instance, one of them shared her fear of balancing between raising her children and studying theology. Several shared that they had never discussed such matters openly in this personal, biblical way. Overall, it was a time that they would remember as they return to their homes.
Twelve of our 14 new students were able to join us on campus. They came from Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Morocco, and for the first time, from Bahrain and Libya.

Carlos from Syria, who serves the Lord in Lebanon through church planting and discipleship, shared, “I got to know my fellow students well during the residency. We laughed together and supported each other. These ten days were very important in that they helped us bond. Although we have returned to each of our homes, I expect that we will continue to support each other as the year progresses.”

Hasnaa from Morocco shared, “I loved meeting everybody here at ABTS, and the professors were very helpful. I formed good friendships with students. We went on trips together, and they were all lovely. I learned about the vision and mission of the seminary, and I really liked the library! It has plenty of useful resources for theology students.”

Marianna from Egypt serves the Lord in Lebanon among Syrian refugees in outreach, discipleship, and training leaders for ministry. She shared, “When I heard the testimonies of the students and heard about their encouraging walk with the Lord, I was deeply touched. The whole residency was a push forward as we head toward online education.”
We praise the God who continues to call faithful men and women to serve His Church in the region. Our first-year Bachelor of Theology students have already finished taking their Arabic course and will soon begin taking their first module. We ask you to lift them up in prayer as their theological training begins. May they seek and obey God’s will because He is able to do more than we can ever imagine if we come to Him with ready and teachable hearts and minds.