- (Photo: AP Images / The Clarion-Ledger, Vickie D. King)
The Salvation Army, one of the most recognized Christian nonprofits, has extended its reach to 121 nations.
The United Arab Emirates is the most recent nation to be added to the list of countries where the organization is offering social services. Salvation Army work officially commenced in the Middle Eastern country on Tuesday.
According to an announcement Tuesday, "The Salvation Army is developing relationships with members of the government, diplomatic and legal communities in the U.A.E. 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."
The evangelical organization began working in neighboring Kuwait less than two years ago. Majors Mike and Teresa Hawley, along with Lieutenants Robert and Glenis Viera, from the U.S. began exploring the idea of extending the Army's ministry into the United Arab Emirates in 2009.
They secured rented premises for regular meetings in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, and its legal presence is growing as it works in cooperation with other churches.
Early this year, the evangelical group was officially recognized in Sierra Leone. The West African country's first 25 Salvation Army soldiers were enrolled in May.
"I was only a Christian by birth and not in practice, but the coming of this great Army of God has created the thirst for the Word of God in my life," said Francis Kargbo, one of the new soldiers.
The Salvation Army was founded in 1865. Its international headquarters is in London. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.