Dubai's Future Preacher

Dubai’s Future Preacher

by Jeffrey Rosario  |  December 1, 2014

A few months ago I had the privilege of traveling to Dubai to speak at a revival meeting that was organized by a small group of young Adventists. Though I have travelled in other countries with a significant Muslim presence (Jordan, Turkey, Israel), Dubai seemed unusual; like a city that was still trying to figure out its own identity. I’ve never really been drawn to it in spite of all the hype.

Most of Dubai is calculated to impress. It is one of the richest cities in the world, and one of the fastest growing. It is home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which towers above the city at 2,722 feet and contains the world’s highest mosque, highest restaurant, and highest nightclub. Then there’s Burj Al Arab, the world’s only 5 star hotel rated as a 7 star where the Royal Suite will cost you about $20,000 per night. If you get bored in your luxury hotel room, you can always head out to the Dubai Mall––and yes, it is the largest shopping mall in the world.

All this hype makes Dubai a melting pot for people from around the world eager for a chance in the bustling job market.

For me, that screams evangelism.

As part of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is in a Muslim country where there are certain restrictions regarding religious liberties for other religions. Christians are allowed to meet for worship, but only in compounds specifically designated by the municipality. The compound where we met on Sabbath morning is comprised of several rooms, which are shared by Catholics, Orthodox, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, and Seventh-day Adventists.

In a city where only about 17% of the population is of Arab descent, the rest of the population are immigrants, the Adventist church also reflects this dynamic––basically 99% percent of the membership are from the Philippines, with a few Africans.

During my visit, I met Karim. He is an anomaly; the only Adventist of Arab descent in the whole church. Karim was born in Lebanon and raised in a Greek Orthodox family. As a child, he was dedicated to all things church; helping the priest prepare the bread for communion, carrying the candles, the cross, and the other icons used during Sunday Mass. Everyone thought he would become a priest himself.

Throughout his teens, Karim’s family faced difficult financial struggles as the result of Lebanon being embroiled in a long civil war at home and military tension abroad. Amidst national instability, he had to manage up to three jobs alongside his schoolwork. Around this time he stopped going to church and began to drift away from God.

Eventually, he dropped out of school and, because of his growing interest in music, became a production manager for a music company while working as a DJ in nightclubs.

Then in 2003, a possibility opened for him to go to Dubai. He jumped at the opportunity. But even while working as a DJ in various upscale clubs throughout Dubai, he could never shake off the Christian ideals he was taught by his parents. Others quickly noticed that he never smoked or used alcohol or drugs, despite many opportunities to do so. He was a really unusual DJ!

he could never shake off the Christian ideals he was taught by his parents.

It was in one of these clubs that he met his wife. Her parents happen to be Seventh-day Adventists and this led to a close relationship between Karim and his father-in-law. In the many conversations that resulted from that relationship, Karim’s father-in-law constantly spoke to him about God. One day he sent Karim a series of DVDs on Bible prophecy that completely amazed him. He was impressed with the emphasis on Scripture.

Through the process of learning more about the teachings of Jesus, Karim began a conversion experience. It’s as if he heard someone telling him, “Are you listening?” After devouring the DVDs, he continued to study the Bible. Everything made so much sense; it had a ring of truth in it. In February of this year, Karim was baptized.

Today, Karim is happily married and has a beautiful daughter. But his story is far from over. The journey has just begun. He is still a popular DJ in one of the premiere cities in the world, and though he has been a powerful witness in that scene, he knows it is not ideal; he wants out. He’s planning to soon quit his job and begin his studies to enter the ministry.

I had the privilege of having lunch with him as he shared his story with me. I can see it in his eyes. His passion is evident. He’s a preacher in the making. I’m excited to watch how God turns this young DJ into an evangelist to preach in a part of the world that needs to hear the everlasting gospel!

Jeffrey Rosario Speaker
Light Bearers
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  • Anandhi Moses

    Praise the Lord

  • Amen I love hearing stories about this part of the world

  • Sean McGrath

    Jeffrey, thank you so much for sharing this young man’s testimony. It just goes to show how we can witness right where we are, in the midst of opposition too. Blessings to you brother. I hope you’re feeling better. Sean McGrath

  • Anup Dominic

    Thanks Jeff for telling the story! As a friend of Karim and watching this story continue to unfold before my very eyes, I too am convinced that he is a preacher in the making. A much needed Arabic- speaking preacher for our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Weina

    Beautiful testimony, thank you for sharing.

  • Kathy

    Whoa, can’t wait to hear the rest of the story! Jeffery, you must keep us updated on this young man please. :))

  • I wonder what church you went to. Nearly all the Adventists I know in Dubai are from India.

  • Benny Makoloane

    Boooooooomm!!!!!!

    That was the sound of you blowing my mind with this story!

  • Joseph Fryling

    Amen, I want to hear updates.

  • God is at work all over the world. Praise His name!

  • Jack

    Thank you for this uplifting story!

  • claudinec

    Amen. God finds His children in strange places. Glory be to Go

  • Beachcleaner Mike

    I do business in all of the GCC, so I visit Dubai 5-6 times a year from America. I happened to attend one Sabbath when Karim spoke on ‘Looking Back’, 25 October. He is a talanted and gifted speaker, one that I am sure the Lord is using to his glory. I encourage all travelers to visit Dubai and the wonderful SDA Church there. Anup & Jonathan help Paulo lead a spirt filled congregation of 200+-.

  • Thank you for sharing this story Jeffery.
    I’ve met Karim and prayed for him. God blessed Karim with great friends and mentors around him such as Dominic and Steeve to to help him on that journey.
    Thanks everyone for your interest and please pray for Karim and many others in MENA territory who by God’s grace will repeat this testimony in the future.

  • FORTUNE WILSON.

    I PRAY THAT THE ALMIGHTY GOD WILL GIVE HIM THE GRACE TO KNOW AND SERVE HIM BETTER.

  • Audrey King

    Very excited about the wonderful way in which the LORD is preparing leaders in all the parts of the world where darkness reigns. Thank you for this story. Audrey King. South Africa