The Middle East Union Mission was operational in two separate periods from 1941-1951 and again from 1970-2011.
Middle East University (MEU) is a Christian co-educational institution of higher learning owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Middle East and North Africa Union. It is situated in the foothills of the Lebanon Mountains five miles (eight kilometers) from the center of Beirut, the capital city of the Republic of Lebanon.
Morocco is the most western country of North Africa and is known as the Maghreb or the “Arab West.” Its first exposure to Seventh-day Adventists began in the city of Casablanca in 1925.
Manoug O. Nazirian was a pastor, a missionary, a leading evangelist, a church administrator in various capacities, an educator, an author, and a college president in the Middle East Union.
Nile Union Academy (NUA) is a Seventh-day Adventist coeducational secondary day and boarding school. It is operated by the Egypt-Sudan Field (part of the current Middle East and North Africa Union) at Gabal Asfar, 10 miles (16 kilometers) northeast of Cairo, Egypt. NUA is accredited by the Board of Regents of the General Conference, and religious training is emphasized.
Nile Union Mission (NUM) was organized in 1951 as part of the newly organized Middle East Division. Its territory included Egypt, Libya, northern Sudan, the portion of Arabia bordering on the Red Sea, and Aden. NUM had a brief history and was dissolved in 1962.
Salim Elias Noujaim was an early Adventist convert in Lebanon. He initially supported the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a layman and later served many years as a school principal, president of the Lebanon Section, Voice of Prophecy director, and Education secretary for the Middle East Union.
Shukri Melhem Nowfel was a pioneering home missionary, pastor, editor, Biblical and Qur'anic scholar, and educator serving the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine for over 50 years.
Hamad Elias Obeid was a self-supporting literature evangelist and itinerant preacher in the Middle East during the early history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He preached the Advent message with zeal for over 50 years in people’s homes, stores, and markets, laboring with both the common folks and high government officials.
The Palestine-Transjordan Mission of Seventh-day Adventists comprised the territory of the British protectorates of Palestine and Transjordan in the Middle East and had an estimated population of 1.2 million when it was organized in 1929. It had a brief history of about nineteen years until a reorganization took place with the formation of the State of Israel.
Qatar is a low-lying desert peninsula extending about 100 miles (161 kilometers) into the Persian Gulf. It currently has an area of 4,473 square miles (11,586 square kilometers) after settling land disputes with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in the 2000s. The population (2020) is 2.4 million. Most Qataris are Arabs, adhering to the Sunni branch of Islam, and Arabic is the official language of the country. An estimated 88% of the population of Qatar is made up of expatriate workers.
One approach for the Seventh-day Adventist Church to connect with the leadership and people of Saudi Arabia has been through the promotion of temperance, an area where the Adventists and Muslims have much in common. The International Commission for the Prevention of Alcoholism was set up in 1952, with King Saud Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia as one of five honorary world presidents. As the first worker to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Wadie Farag, assistant temperance director of the Middle East Division, succeeded in getting an interview with King Saud in his palace in Riyadh. Visits were later made to the King by W. A. Scharffenberg (executive secretary of the International Temperance Association of Seventh-day Adventists), and again in 1962 by Scharffenberg and Anees Haddad (temperance director of the Middle East Division). This was later followed by other initiatives and collaborative programs.
The plan of entering Sudan to establish the Adventist message took place as early as the 1892 General Conference meetings when Church leaders voted to send a missionary there. However, Sudan remained an unentered territory for Adventism for many years. The first Adventist missionaries were allowed to enter Sudan in 1953, and the first indigenous Sudanese was baptized in 1961.
The Sultanate of Oman is an independent monarchy on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.
Not very much has been recorded about the earliest beginnings of the Adventist work in Syria. It is reported that in 1893 four people became Seventh-day Adventists in Aleppo during a visit there by Zadour G. Baharian, the pioneer Adventist worker in Turkey. However, it was decades later when regular work was established in the present boundaries of Syria.
Diran Tcharakian was a poet, artist, author, university professor, and convinced atheist before he became a Seventh-day Adventist minister and modern-day Paul in Turkey’s Ottoman Empire. Following in the steps of Adventist pioneers Theodore Anthony and Zadour Baharian, he became known as “the new apostle” to the interior of Asia Minor, where in the end he sacrificed his life for the Adventist cause.
Tunisia, officially the Republic of Tunisia, is the northernmost country in Africa. The history of the Adventist church in Tunisia began in 1928 when it was organized as part of the Mission and Services in Trans-Mediterranean Countries.
Seventh-day Adventist work began in Turkey when a Greek shoemaker, Theodore Anthony, returned from America in February 1889 as a self-supporting missionary. Having immigrated only two years earlier at the age of 49, he accepted the Adventist message during evangelistic meetings near his home. Selling his business and all his belongings, Anthony’s only ambition was to share his newfound faith among friends and family in his native country.
The first mention of a Seventh-day Adventist living in UAE was in 1975 when Mrs. Darlene Pickle held a series of health cooking classes in Dubai, where she lived. She also conducted a weekly Story Hour for the neighborhood children with help from her own five children.