Brenda Kay Waddell Awad is a United Methodist missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries serving in Israel/Palestine with her husband, the Rev. Alex Awad, where they are involved with a small international church in East Jerusalem and in supporting the ministries of Bethlehem Bible College (BBC).
Brenda fills a wide range of functions at the church—Sunday School director and teacher, women’s group leader, and hospitality coordinator. At the Bible College, she spends approximately 30 hours per week assisting with English administrative needs and developing proposals for the college’s worldwide support base. Brenda substitutes as an English teacher as needed, and also works with other United Methodist mission personnel in the region to facilitate United Methodist group visits.
In an effort to bring about reconciliation among Palestinian and Israeli believers in Christ, Brenda and Alex participate in and support the activities of Musalaha (an Arab-Israeli reconciliation organization). The Musalaha ministry conducts annual activities (women’s meetings, theology of the land seminars, desert encounters, and leaders’ events) that foster ties between the two groups and promote peace and understanding amid much diversity.
A native of Fleming-Neon, Kentucky, Brenda says, “My parents taught me and my 10 older siblings the value of hard work, honesty, and faith in God. My parents’ influence, plus interaction with school missionary programs and church groups led me to accept Christ and the basic tenets of Christian faith at an early age. I committed my life to God to serve wherever the Holy Spirit would lead.”
Acting on this rich Christian heritage and desiring to prepare for Christian service, Brenda attended Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education. While at Lee University, she was active in missions and felt the call to serve as a missionary, not knowing where God would lead. One scripture verse that seemed to follow her was Acts 1:8: “And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Upon completion of her work at Lee, Brenda taught first grade in Calhoun, Georgia. She then married Alex, a native of Jerusalem, whom she met in her last year of college. They both taught in the public school system in North Georgia for several years. While teaching in Georgia, Brenda received a master’s degree in education from North Georgia College in Dahlonega.
In 1979, the Awads responded to the call to go to Bethlehem and assist with the newly formed Bethlehem Bible College, where they spent the next six years as independent missionaries. From 1985 to 1987, they served at Hope Secondary School, a charitable boarding school for young people from ages 12-18 in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem. Most of the students were victims of previous wars and occupations in their land. The Awad family was forced to leave Israel because they were refused renewal of their visas.
Brenda and Alex were commissioned as missionaries by the General Board of Global Ministries for service in Israel/Palestine, but spent the next five years struggling to obtain visas to re-enter the country. During that time, they served as mission interpreters in various locations on behalf of Global Ministries: as Mission Interpreters In Residence (MIIRs) in Ohio from 1989 to 1990; as peace and justice educators in upstate New York from 1990 to 1991; and as MIIRs in the South Central Jurisdiction from 1991 to 1994. In 1994 they returned to Jerusalem, where they continue to serve the body of Christ.
Brenda and Alex three adult children: Christy, Basem, and Randy.
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