Joseph and Mary of Bethlehem at ATS

Joseph and Mary are at Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS) preparing for their return to Bethlehem.

ATS Dean Dr. Ron Walborn shares, "On Saturday, August 29, I had the distinct pleasure of picking up Yousef and Merna at JFK Airport. Their long trip from Palestine had taken them almost three full days. Though they were weary, I could tell their eyes and their spirits were full of faith and great hope. God provided miracles to get them here and God continues to be faithful. It gives me immense pleasure to watch the Holy Spirit working at ATS in the lives of wonderful people like Yousef and Merna."

Their journey actually began two years ago when Yousef (Joseph) Alkhouri’s wife, Merna (Mary), met Scot Dressler (NC ’98/ATS ’01) at a Bethlehem Bible College conference. She shared about her husband’s desire to earn a degree in counseling. When she returned to her home with a Nyack College information brochure in hand, the couple literally prayed over the brochure and asked for God’s guidance on how to pursue the opportunity.

Yousef conceded that it was his plan to study counseling, but it become clear to him that God’s plan was for him to enroll in the Master of Divinity program. “Choosing this program will enhance my understanding of God’s word and learn how to serve Him and His people,” he explains. “God is taking me into a deeper relationship with Him through learning more about Him.” (Read more about them here.)

What ATS distinctives attracted him? “Many things are unique about ATS. The balance between the academic progress, spiritual growth, and the conservative and practical Christian theology—I find in ATS these are the most important elements that help any Christian studying ministry. Professors are always willing to help and to support me through listening to my questions and needs. They also pray for me, particularly because I am an international student. I would say that I feel the presence of God in the classes and upon my professors. I feel at home at ATS. People are kind and willing to help and pray with each other. The power of God that I touch at ATS is different from anywhere else.”

Just completing the first semester, Yousef shares his goals for his post-M.Div. studies: “My plans are to go back to Bethlehem and use everything I learned at ATS and the church in the U.S. to serve my local community and to teach Bible at Bethlehem Bible College. My country needs a new generation of Christian theologians and leaders to serve the local church and the new generation of leaders.”