Two American missionaries home after detention in UAE.

By March 8, 2005

United Arab Emirates (MNN)–The two American missionaries held in the United Arab Emirates are now home safe. 72-year old Vivian Gilmer of Myrtle Beach, S.C., and 55-year old Marie Bush of Waxahachie, Texas, were detained Saturday, Feb. 19, for giving out Christian literature.

They were with a team that had just wrapped up a trip to India. 13 of the 60-member group decided to go to Dubai, UAE for a week of relaxation and shopping. Gilmer and Bush had given Bibles as gifts to friends attending the fair that they met during the week-long Dubai visit.

That’s when they ran afoul of the law. The Bibles themselves weren’t illegal, but they had also given one of the friends a CD, and authorities thought that violated their law of not distributing Bibles with other materials.

On Saturday, Feb. 26, they met with a public prosecutor who decided to deport them rather than press charges against them. They left the UAE on Friday, March 4th.

Prudence is always a factor in Muslim-dominated countries. But, Voice of the Martyrs’ Todd Nettleton thinks rather than let the arrests drive believers underground, it should spur them to action. “What I would like to see be the message of this is a new sense of boldness for American Christians. I think the fact that they were Americans means that they were deported and came home safely to their families. I think if they had been Christians from a less powerful country, perhaps they would have been imprisoned.”

Christians are permitted to practice their faith in their own homes and churches in Dubai, but Islam is the official religion, and evangelism is illegal. For that reason, Nettleton says prayer is still needed. “For those that received Bibles from this group that was there, I think that we can pray that there’ll be fruit from their ministry. I think that we can just praise the Lord that these two ladies are home safe with their families. They talked glowingly about how God watched over them, how He provided them the words to say when they were questioned, and how He brought them home safely. I think that’s a huge ‘Praise The Lord!'”

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