Ibrahim El-Khalil was a national pioneer and ordained minister who, for 32 years, made an invaluable contribution to the Seventh-day Adventist church in Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine during its informative years.
Aida Ghazal Farah was an educator, Bible worker, college dean of women, church musician, and youth leader in Lebanon.
Salam Fargo, sister of the first pioneer layman in Iraq, served as a home missionary in her country of Iraq.
Melcom Hagopian Gasparian worked as a Seventh-day Adventist teacher and pastor in Iran (formerly Persia) for almost a lifetime. He was born on July 25, 1909, in Van, Turkey, 50-60 km from the border of modern Iran.
Iran was first entered by Seventh-day Adventists in 1911, when Frank F. Oster and Henry Dirksen (both Americans) went there from Germany and settled in Rezayeh (Urmia) in northwestern Iran near the Turkish border. There they worked among the many Armenian and Nestorian Christians living in the area.
The modern Republic of Iraq occupies most of the region the ancient Greeks called Mesopotamia, the “Land between Rivers,” referring to the Euphrates and Tigris river valleys and the plain stretching between them. Similar terms are found in other languages, including the Arabic (بَيْن ٱلنَّهْرَيْن Bain al-Nahrain). The geographic region became a political one after World War I, with the formation of an Arabic-speaking state, the kingdom of Iraq.
Seventh-day Adventist work in the early 1900s was conducted on both sides of the Jordan River from Jerusalem, headquarters of the Palestine-Transjordan Mission. In 1913 Ibrahim El-Khalil, one of the earlier converts to Christianity in Lebanon, held evangelistic meetings there but was forced to leave a year later due to World War I. The seeds had been planted, however, and as a result of his work, Michael Hilal El-Haddad began to keep the Sabbath and pay tithe. He is believed to be the first known Jordanian man to accept the Adventist message.
Issa George Kharma was an Adventist educator with a pastoral touch. His high standards as well as his kind and constructive guidance inspired many young people, and his name became closely connected with Adventist elementary and secondary education in Lebanon.
George Farid Khoury was a pastor, church administrator, leading evangelist, Bible teacher at Middle East College, and missionary, serving the Adventist Church in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and the United States. Venice Semaan Khoury faithfully worked alongside her husband for 48 years as she assisted him in his ministry.
The state of Kuwait is a small emirate located on the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf, nestled between Iraq to the north and Saudi Arabia to the south. The Adventist work in Kuwait began in the early 1950s through Voice of Prophecy (VOP) broadcasts.
The first Adventist missionary endeavor was by Abram La Rue, a self-supporting missionary working in China. He visited Beirut briefly in 1897 and dropped off some literature with the intention of planting “the seeds of truth.” Following La Rue’s visit, H. P. Holser came from the Central European Conference in 1898 with a desire to start publishing Adventist tracts in Arabic. The reports these visitors carried with them helped to fuel an ongoing discussion on the nature of the approaches that should be used in the Middle East to better reach local communities. Institutional approaches appeared to be more effective, rather than individual missionaries.
The first record of the Levant Union Mission appears in the 1907 SDA Yearbook.
In 1928 the unentered territory of Libya was assigned to the newly formed Southern European Division.14 Colporteurs selling Italian publications were sent in to visit the Italian colonies of Tripoli in Tripolitania and Benghazi in Cyrenaica.15 The following year Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were organized as part of the North African Union Mission comprising Algeria, Morocco, Tunis, Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Tangier. Over the next period of twenty years there is no record of any decided attempts to establish organized mission work in the Libyan territory. In 1948 Libya was assigned to the Middle East Union, which was attached directly to the General Conference. When the Middle East Division was organized in 1951, Libya was assigned to the Nile Union Mission of that division.
Matariah Mercy Home was an orphanage operated by the Egypt Field of Seventh-day Adventists to provide care for underprivileged village children from 1947 to around 1990.
"Medz Yeghern" is an Armenian term meaning “great calamity.” It is synonymous with the deaths of several hundred thousand Armenians in Anatolia1 and Syria during the period of the Great War. For the Seventh-day Adventist Church, this same event caused the greatest proportional losses of an Adventist community in the church’s history. The great calamity came about due to a confluence of geopolitical, religious, and historical factors that overtook the most promising Adventist mission field in the Middle East and left behind a shattered and scattered population. The Adventist Church in Anatolia has never recovered.
The Middle East and North Africa Union Mission is attached to the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A. Formerly known as the Greater Middle East Union Mission, the Middle East and North Africa Union Mission was organized in 2012, renamed in October 2012, and reorganized in 2015. It occupies the following territories: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Western Sahara (Western Sahara is a contested area not universally recognized as a separate country or region), Yemen, and the northern half of Cyprus; comprising the Egypt-Sudan, Gulf, and West Asia Fields; and the East Mediterranean, and North Africa Regions.
The Middle East Division was a church organizational unit from 1951 to 1970.
The Middle East Messenger was the official organ of the Middle East Division from 1945 to 1980.
The Middle East Press, operated by the Middle East Union Mission in Beirut, Lebanon, was a publishing house with printing facilities that published in six languages. It was founded in 1947 but was forced to discontinue its operations in 1984 due to financial difficulties and the civil war in Lebanon.