Salvation Army flag flies in United Arab Emirates
Army now at work in 121 countries
General Shaw Clifton has given approval for the work of The Salvation Army to be officially commenced in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as of June 1, 2010, bringing the number of countries where the Army operates to 121.
It is less than two years since The Salvation Army’s work started officially in neighboring Kuwait, under the leadership of Majors Mike and Teresa Hawley, officers of the USA Southern Territory. It was known, however, that there existed a long-standing fellowship of Salvationists from a number of countries residing and working in Dubai, in the UAE.
In 2009, Lieutenants Robert and Glenis Viera, also from the USA Southern Territory, joined the Hawleys, and the work continued to develop in Kuwait. In the same year, exploration began regarding the possibility of extending the Army’s ministry into the UAE. The Army received an invitation to plan a Christmas carol service in Dubai, which was attended by hundreds of people. Meetings then commenced in rented property in Sharjah.
Working in cooperation with other churches, The Salvation Army’s legal presence in the UAE is growing. Residency permits have been obtained for the Hawleys and rented premises have been secured for regular meetings in both Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, where significant groups of Tamil-speaking Salvationists live.
The Salvation Army is also developing its relationships with prominent members of the government, diplomatic and legal communities in the UAE. Together with the formation of an advisory board, these steps will help ensure that The Salvation Army becomes part of daily life in the Middle East.
General Clifton asks that Salvationists around the world pray for God’s continued blessing upon this newly established expression of Salvation Army ministry.