PIEN 2024 Speaker Tour

PIEN is excited to announce a speaker / book tour 7th – 21st April 2024 with Mercy Aiken, co-author of the incredibly moving biography of Bishara Awad, a Palestinian Christian and founder of Bethlehem Bible College…  

‘Yet in the Dark Streets Shining: A Palestinian Story of Hope and Resilience in Bethlehem’

Mercy co-authored ‘Yet in the Dark Streets Shining’ with Bishara, who is unable to attend the tour himself; however, Mercy has lived extensively in the West Bank and interviewed Bishara and many of his family members and other Palestinian Christians over a number of years for the writing of this book. The book powerfully weaves historical facts with a personal account of Bishara’s life and is a riveting read. Bishara has led a remarkable life, many times stepping out in faith to undertake the seemingly impossible and seeing the pathway miraculously unfold. The book brilliantly engages the reader on so many levels.

 To whet your appetite for the tour take a look at the book launch webinar by the Network of Evangelicals for the Middle East that features both Mercy and Bishara in conversation with Andrew Bush, the director of the Bethlehem Institute of Peace and Justice. 

About the Book

From the back cover blurb:

“Yet in the Dark Streets Shining details the little-known story of Palestinian Christians through the heartbreaking but inspiring account of a boy who grew up to be a spiritual and community leader in Bethlehem. Bishara Awad was just a child when his father was killed by a sniper during the Israeli-Arab war of 1948. After the family fled their Jerusalem home, Bishara and his siblings grew up as refugees. His spiritual journey brought him through poverty and danger, while witnessing loss and death. Under the shadows of persecution and war, he learned how to live his Christian faith in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ. When Bishara learned how to forgive, he became a firebrand of faith and hope. Rising to the many challenges, he launched Bethlehem Bible College, the first Bible college in the West Bank.” 


“Sometimes, the best way to learn the story of a people or an era of history is to learn the story of one person or family from that people and time. This book thrusts you into the dramatic, dangerous and deeply meaningful action of a storyline that reads like a biographical thriller. Through the real-life personal story of Bishara Awad and his family, you will gain insight into the Middle East, its history, and its people, and I think you will also gain insight into current realities that affect you right now, wherever you live. – Brian D.  McLaren, author and pubic theologian.  

When myopic self-centered eschatological and political doctrines blind us to human compassion and love, both must be unmasked and challenged. Please, leave the lofty heights of ideology and presumption and listen to the authentic story of real human beings caught in the crossfire of both. – Paul Young, author of The Shack”

About Mercy Aiken

Mercy began volunteering with Bethlehem Bible College in 2015 and lived there over a period of five years. She is passionate about sharing her experience through writing and advocacy. Mercy is currently employed as Relationship Manager for the Network of Evangelicals for the Middle East (NEME). In this role Mercy engages evangelical leaders, scholars, and pastors in learning more about the challenges that Christians and others face in the Holy Land and across the Middle East. Mercy holds a B.A. in English from Northern Arizona University and is currently working on a Master of Arts in Theology/Culture/Peacemaking from Saint Stephen’s University in New Brunswick, Canada. She is part of the International Advisory Council for Christ at the Checkpoint and is passionate about ecumenical work and relationship building between Christians, Muslims and Jews. Mercy also organises and leads tours to the Holy Land twice yearly.

About Bishara Awad

Bishara is widely recognised for his work in education and Christian leadership. In 1999, he was the recipient of the Bob Pierce Award for Christian Service from World Vision. Bishara was the chairman of the Middle East Association for Theological Education from 2010-2018. He established the Bethlehem chapter of the Rotary Club International and currently lives in Beit Jala with his wife, Salwa.

The Bethlehem Bible College was founded by Bishara in 1979. The college has grown exponentially over the years and offers courses up to Masters level. It also engages international students through language courses and a Certificate Program in Peacemaking and Justice in the Palestinian Context through their Bethlehem Institute of Peace and Justice. Their Christ at the Checkpoint conference attracts people from all over the world and their lecturers are sought after speakers internationally.