One year later, Christians are still assessing the Gulf War’s impact on religious life.
During the dark days just prior to February 26, 1991, when the Persian Gulf war came to an end, Oshagan Choloyan, prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Kuwait, kept his church open 24 hours a day. The Armenian expatriates living in Kuwait came eagerly and often for prayer and the liturgy, he says, because they had little else to cling to. “It was a time you could find nothing in Kuwait—no food, no water, no electricity, nothing.”
Today, nearly one year after Kuwait’s “Day of Liberation” from Iraqi occupation, Choloyan says that spiritual eagerness has not faded, although life in Kuwait has become very different. He believes “the Gulf War was the test of fire,” but he admits he is still unsure about its ultimate results.
Throughout the region, churches and international mission agencies continue to assess the impact the Persian Gulf War will have on Christian life and witness in the Middle East. “For most Americans, the war was over when their people came home,” says a church worker based in the Gulf states. “For those of us who live here, it is very much still a part of our lives.”
Following the war’s disruption, ministry is resuming in most areas. Virtually all the missionaries who were evacuated have returned to their posts. Gerry Volkart, Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board associate area director for the Middle East and North Africa, says all but one of her group’s 165 representatives are back in the region. According to Volkart, the returning workers have not encountered the strong anti-Western sentiment many had feared a year ago when they left (CT, Mar. 11, 1991, p. 55). “It has been a lot more positive than ...1
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