History of Holy Land Ministries
Twin sisters Ida and Ada Stoltzfus arrived in Hebron in 1948. It wasn’t long before they focused on the needs of the children, whos plight in this stricken land was particularly heart rending. That led to establishing one of the first orphanages in the area.
In 1954 they expanded the ministry and opened a school. The school would grow from its initial kindergarten class of 13 students to approximately 300 students today, serving children in Kindergarten through 6th grade.
They lost their original funding in the sixties and had a difficult choice to make. Follow a new assignment by Mennonite Central Committee or stay with the school and become independent. They chose to stay with the school and continue ministering to their Muslim students. After a number of very lean and challenging years they met Ron and J.J. Armstrong, in 1982. Ron had just formed Holy Land Ministries, and was looking for a school to help. The relationship between Ron and the sisters grew and HLM eventually accepted control of the school.
While Ron and J.J. continued their efforts to support the school from here in the states, in 1999 Gregg and Rawda Doolittle became the on-site school directors. Gregg and Rawda’s efforts have resulted in continued improvements in the quality of education, as well as a continuation of presenting God’s truth through morning Chapel meetings.
David and Lois Garrison joined HLM in 2010, and transitioned into that leadership role. David’s business background and Lois’ heart for children and teachers have made them a good fit for being with Holy Land Ministries as it seeks to strengthen and expand its role of ministry in Palestine.
In 2010, the Lord saw fit to combine Gregg & Rawda’s vision for a new school with the involvement of a major donor from the U.S. to allow us to embark on the building of a brand new school in Bethlehem, the Bethlehem Academy. The doors opened in 2014 to both Muslim and Christian students. We are the only school in the region to use an American Christian curriculum combined with both English and Arabic classes, a combination that we believe will make it possible to train up a new generation of leaders for the West Bank that stay home and lead with true Biblical wisdom.