More than 50 members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), joined a clean-up project of Al-Qasba corniche, one of the few public beaches in the third largest Emirate in the UAE.
Church members had been discussing for some time about what they could do for their community with the year-end holidays approaching. They wanted a simple way to engage more people. From that desire, an idea was created to clean a place that local community members love.
The church members were encouraged to invite their friends, colleagues, and neighbors, and five non-Adventist friends joined the community service.
The church provided visibility vests with the Seventh-day Adventist Church logo and name on the front, and the email address of the church on the back. As the volunteers were picking up trash, there were many passers-by who stopped to take a closer look and checked out the print on the back of the vests.
“While we were spread out along the beach collecting trash, people came by to talk to us, and they volunteered to join us,” said Akhan Awungashi, senior pastor of the Sharjah Adventist Church.
After the community service, church members served breakfast for the friends who they had invited. “One lady, originally from Egypt, asked how she can join our group, so we invited her to an another year-end program,” Awungashi said. “She said she will surely join us and she will bring her husband along.”
The Sharjah church board voted to conduct one outdoor community service every month during the cooler half of the year, October to March, as part of the church’s Total Member Involvement program. The church pastor expects more people to participate in their initiatives.
“This is an important program that allows the Church to impact our community,” said Awungashi.