November 5, 2017

26 New Believers Baptized in the United Arab Emirates

Gureni Lukwaro, Middle East and North Africa Union

Twenty-six new believers were baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church at the closing of the Gulf Field Campmeeting, held October 18-21 in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates.

The new members will join the fellowship of seven Gulf Field churches, namely, Abu Dhabi International, Al Ain, Sharjah, Dubai Central, Dubai Visayan and Dubai South, as well as one company, Ajman and Fujairah Fellowship.

Gulf Field, which is part of the Middle East and North Africa Union headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon, has 19 churches and five companies, and 2,018 members.

“As per our records, this is the largest baptism we have had in our territory so far,” said Gulf Field president Steven Manoukian. “And by God’s grace, the various outreach programs in place in our Field and the prayers of our brothers and sisters all over the world, we look forward to many more such baptisms, and even bigger, as we continue to invite the people around us to the Kingdom.”

“We are very happy with this great harvest, and we thank our heavenly Father for this great blessing,” said Gulf Field Executive Secretary Kyorin Park. “We are asking everyone to continue to pray for us because we still have a big challenge of reaching out to the natives as all our members, including the new members who just got baptized, are foreign expats working in this region.”

Karl Haffner, who was the main speaker for the campmeeting, spoke on the topic of righteousness by faith.

“Every season of salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone, period. Justification, sanctification, glorification—is all Jesus,” said Haffner, senior pastor of Kettering Seventh-day Adventist Church and mission strategist for Kettering Health Network in Dayton, Ohio, United States.

Haffner challenged campmeeting attendees to accept and receive the free gift of salvation given by Jesus, full and free, reminding everyone that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, any of us can do to earn our salvation.

Alongside Haffner, the campmeeting was also blessed to have Lester Merklin, associate professor of World Mission at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, and Patricia Gustin, a veteran missiologist and the first female director of the Adventist Institute of World Mission located in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States. They have both served and directed the Institute of World Missions of the General Conference, and they took time to discuss matters of cross-cultural understanding and to promote tolerance in our cultural differences, especially when it comes to worship.

“I love to come in this region because here you find people from all over the world and the church have members from different parts of the world,” said Merklin. “So it is good to recognize and appreciate our different cultures and how they enrich our worship experience.”

Jaime Jorge, the Cuban-born Adventist artist with a successful performing career, blessed the congregation with his world-class violin performance as well as his testimony which led him to dedicate his life to serving God and blessing others.

The campmeeting was attended by more than 1,300 people from various countries of the Field territory. The Gulf Field includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, and four other Gulf countries that are at the heart of the so-called “10/40 Window,” an area located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator where people usually lack access to Christian resources, which makes contextualized mission more essential.

“It is important for us, if we are to proclaim the message to all cultures, to understand the cultures so that we can learn how best to present the gospel wherever we go,” said Gustin.