Â A former Capitol Hill staffer is now planting an evangelical church in a very unlikely part of the world.
During a recent speaking tour across the U.S., Josh Manley talked with anyone who would listen about his new church on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Along with his wife Jenny, the former senior aide for Senator Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi) planted RAK Church in the United Arab Emirates in 2012.
What makes the ministry effort different is that the ruler of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, has granted land for an evangelical church building in the middle of a Muslim region. Located only 60 miles from Iran and other nearby “closed” countries, the church is in a strategic location for both a church and a regional ministry training center.
â€œWeâ€™re so grateful that the Lord has opened the door for this ministry, and weâ€™re grateful for the way the Lord has gone before us already just by providing the land from the government,â€ Manley tells OneNewsNow.
â€œThe government has been true to their word and continues to give us access â€“ and weâ€™re thankful for the way that the doors are being opened for the gospel amongst people who live there.â€
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary graduate says at the present time there are only seven evangelical buildings on the Arabian Peninsula. â€œJust last year the chief religious leader in Saudi Arabia said that there should be no Christian churches on the peninsula â€“ and yet the ruler of Ras Al Khaimah courageously granted us land for this ministry,â€ he shares.
Since there is currently no established English-speaking congregation in RAK, many Christians who live there travel to Dubai every week to attend church â€“ a distance of about 103 kilometers (64 miles). According to Manley, other Christians in RAK have simply given up gathering together at all.
RAK Church is currently conducting a building pledge drive to construct a church and ministry center, which it envisions to be a hub for evangelical ministry throughout the region. They currently meet in a convention center near a shopping mall.