Seven emirates (lands) exist in the United Arab Emirates, a small territory, and all are closely interconnected. Dubai and Sharjah are next door to each other. Most of the travelers arrive at the Dubai airport, even though they live and work in one of the other emirates, so one tends to think of this entire massive area as “Dubai,” when it is UAE. The Seminary is located in Sharjah. The indigenous Arab population is small; most of the people come from other nations (Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan) as laborers. THIS is our harvest field.
The Sheik has allotted an area of the city of Sharjah for Christian churches, so several churches are built close together. This particular building (probably built as a “charity” by the Sheik) is used by several denominations; at least 30 different services are held there weekly. The Church of God hosts a traditional Malayalam service led by K.O. Mathew (overseer, pastor, Seminary president), and a contemporary worship service is directed by Mathew’s son. In the traditional service, men and women sit on the floor on different sides, and the entire service is in Malayalam; in the contemporary service, families sit together in chairs; the congregation is international in origin, and the worship is in English.
This specific building also hosts the Seminary; the second photo is of a Master’s degree class. Most (but not all) of the students are of Indian heritage. They award bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees (D.Min).