Middle East Salvationists join together in celebration
More than 260 delegates from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman and Kuwait gathered in Dubai March 18 to celebrate the growth of The Salvation Army in the Middle East. Unfortunately, delegates from Bahrain were denied travel visas due to current unrest in that country. The Salvation Army has officially been in operation in Kuwait for three years and one year in the UAE.
Middle Eastern delegates were joined in their celebrations at the Deira City Centre Hotel, Dubai, by the Texas Brass Band from the USA Southern Territory, members of the newly formed Middle East Advisory Board and Colonel Ross Gower (Under Secretary for South Asia, International Headquarters). Regional leaders Majors Mike and Teresa Hawley hosted the event.
Delegates led a worship service from Kuwait, Sharjah (UAE) and Abu Dhabi (UAE), with contributions from the Texas Brass Band. Members of the Texas Brass Band led a service for young people. The event served not only as a celebration of the Army’s past, but also as a consecration of its future.
Major Mike Hawley made clear the purpose of The Salvation Army in the Middle East: to be light and salt for a uniquely available group of international people. At the end of the gathering the visiting band travelled to Kuwait for further performance and worship opportunities. Guided by Kuwait Regional Officers Majors Stewart and Heather Grinsted, in partnership with The Lighthouse Church, the band participated in multiple services and conducted a concert.
This was the first known visit of a Salvation Army band to these countries and was a great encouragement to friends and soldiers of The Salvation Army living and working in the Middle East. There is every indication that there are real and extensive opportunities for growth in this new region of The Salvation Army.