YWAM Middle East

 

Welcome to Bahrain, the pearl of the Arabian Gulf. We’re a little more relaxed than our Gulf neighbors with lots of opportunity for you to visit or join us to live and minister.

PEOPLE:

Population: 1.31 million people (with 2.1 million mobile phones!)
Just over half the population are foreign workers mostly from Asia.
70% are Muslim, 15% are Christian and 10% are Hindu. The official language is Arabic with Persian Farsi and Urdu. English is widely spoken and the principal language of commerce.

Bahrain

Bahrain is a small island off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf. Though well developed, it has less oil and natural gas than its richer Gulf neighbours, and so is seeking to expand its economy through the banking sector and staging the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Bahrainis are quite racially and religiously mixed. Though most Bahrainis are Muslim, recent years have seen growing tensions and sometimes violent clashes between the majority Shiite population and the minority Sunnis who include the royal family and ruling class of Bahrain. Bahrain has been home to the American mission hospital since 1903 and there is considerable tolerance and openness for the Christian community in Bahrain. There are a number of churches. Though most Bahrainis would still be unwilling to come to a church due to family and societal pressure, this would not be as severe as other Gulf nations. Other Bahraini believers meet in small groups in homes.

PLACE:

Capital city is Manama, with 230 000 people.
Bahrain is the smallest among the Arabian countries. It’s an archipelago of 33 islands. The main island is 50 kilometers long and 16 kilometers at the widest part. It fits into Cyprus 12 times and has 4 airports!

Bahrain is connected to Saudi Arabia by a 26km causeway (bridge). Plans are on track to construct a causeway that will connect Bahrain and Qatar; once completed, it will become the world’s longest marine causeway.

Very hot humid summers with dust storms are offset by mild winters.
The highest point on the island is 122 meters.
It is virtually all desert.

Long Term Opportunities

Most mission workers coming to Bahrain either start their own business or find employment in the thousands of companies in the country. Some are in professional roles like teaching, sports coaching, engineering or the medical profession; others are in management; others in sales or service roles. Because Bahrainis make up almost half the population, many Bahrainis are involved in ordinary occupations in the country like serving in shops or driving taxis. This makes it much easier to reach out to Bahrainis than their more secluded Qatari or Emirati neighbors. 

Because Bahrain pays foreign workers according to what they would receive for the same work in their home country, most of those working in construction and service roles (maids, cleaners etc) are from South Asia (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka etc) or the Philippines. Other roles depend on the persons’ qualifications and levels of education. YWAMers wanting to move to Bahrain should first look for employment (because different job opportunities and people’s skills are so unique we can only offer very limited help in finding work in Bahrain). Once they have found employment, we will connect them with the other team members currently serving there. YWAMers serving in Bahrain are involved in prayer and then look for opportunities to share the gospel in their work situations and in the society they are living in.

RANDOM FACTS:

Bahrain was the first Arabian Gulf country to discover petroleum in 1932. More recently it is one of the fastest growing economies in the Arab world, particularly focusing on its international banking sector. Bahrain is a diversified economy with some of the region’s best education and health systems.

The nation’s big challenge is to balance tension between the Sunni minority government and Shia majority population.

Language Learning

Most foreigner workers living in Bahrain use English as their language of business, but Arabic is the heart language of the people. There may be some options for learning Arabic in Bahrain. Probably a better option for learning Arabic is in Oman.

 

Visas

Many nationalities receive tourist visas on entry (with cost) and most others can pre-organize visas (with cost) to enter Bahrain. However, for staying long term, people usually need to find employment. 

 

Cost of Living

Housing is much cheaper here than in other Gulf nations. Petrol is cheap and food costs are on par with Europe or the USA. Many companies will offer a package of housing and children’s’ schooling, depending on the level of the job being applied for. 

 

Short Term

There are opportunities for short-term ministry in Bahrain.

- Prayer and Worship- Ministry with churches and youth groups. There are various congregations of different nationalities and languages worshipping at different times during the week.- Friendship reaching out, bridge building and careful outreach.

 

Security Situation

Generally security in Bahrain is fairly good. However there have been demonstrations by Shiite Bahrainis in recent years and these have sometimes developed in to violent clashes between demonstrators and police. Visitors should avoid any demonstrations and seek local advice as to the current security situation in the country.

 

Who to talk to

For more information contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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