Of course aside from the major considerations regarding how and where the Lord would have you serve, are the practical matters of what it’s like to live in any given area. The following information is provided to hopefully fill you in on some of the questions you may be having about what it’s like to live and work in Bethlehem.
The West Bank in general has had times of unrest; the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is well reported (although not always accurately). First and foremost it should be clear that Holy Land Ministries is not concerned with politics. We are there to minister to the children and families of the West Bank by providing a quality education in a gospel-centered environment. Everything else is a distant second. If your primary desire of serving in this region is to “right wrongs”, educate people regarding perceived “political or social realties”, or work exclusively in “reconciliation activities” we would suggest that this ministry is not a good fit for you. If you are burdened by educating children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, regardless of religious or cultural background, we believe you may have found the right team to work with. You may want to refer to our Statement of Purpose for more information.
In spite of the occasional unrest in this area our school has had no issues regarding safety. On the rare occasion when tensions are running particularly high we have closed the school for a day or so.
Cost of Living
As a “raise your own support” ministry you are certainly asking the question, “What is it going to cost to live there for a year?” While there is no exact amount, based on the experiences of other teachers we have developed budgets to give you some guidance. We’ve found that a family of four can live on about $35,000 for year; a single teacher for about half of that. Everyone is different of course, and many line items will vary for you depending on your interests and lifestyle. See our budget for families and our budget for singles to see our line by line estimates.
Training & Acclimation
Most of our volunteers will need training in the particular job they are volunteering for as well as some coaching in becoming acclimated to a new culture. We accomplish this through a two-fold process. First, there is a one week training period held in Chicago each spring. Once you arrive in Bethlehem, in mid-July or so, we have more training to fully prepare you for work in the classroom (or in a support role) as well as what to expect when mingling with the local residents of Bethlehem.
We have relationships with two organizations that help us with managing all donor support. Your suppporters will get receipts for their giving as well as a year-end giving statement to help with their tax preparation. You will receive a W-2 statement for your tax filing, and help through the filing process. At the appropriate time we will help you decide which of these two organizations might be best for you.