Published on March 13, 2014
Algeria: land of church growth and Bible hunger
Algeria is the birthplace of Saint Augus8ne -‐ one of the most important early Chris8an theologians. But by the beginning of the 1980s, there were only around 2,000 Algerian Chris8ans in the whole country.
Today, there are between 100,000 to 200,000 Chris8ans. The Church is con8nuing to grow rapidly, especially in the Kabylie region in the north of Algeria. This church in Tizi-‐Ouzou, Kabylie, holds several services every weekend and can host 1,500 people at a 8me.
“I will pray un8l I see my country worship you, Lord, un8l I see my country saved. You alone can heal my country. Have mercy on Algeria, pour your blessings on my country.”
The revival began in July 1981, when a church from Algiers organised a summer camp in the mountains near a village in Kabylie. 31 villagers became Chris8ans.
Around the same 8me, all Protestant missionaries were expelled from Algeria. The Catholic Church, almost en8rely made up of foreigners, remained under strict control.
Ironically, these events helped fuel the Chris8an revival in Algeria as Algerian Chris8ans took the sharing of their faith with their fellow ci8zens into their own hands!
I was 16 when Chris8ans gave me a new Testament and a tape with some preaching in my language, Kabyle. I had been searching for God for a long 8me, and I was so touched to read and hear God speaking to me in my own language. In Islam, God only speaks Arabic. In Chris8anity, I met a God who knows my name, loves me and welcomes me. -‐ Fahrid
Being a Chris8an in Algeria isn’t easy. I wish I could carry my Bible openly on the streets, or read it on the bus. Many people are afraid to go to church. But we have a God who protects us! Please pray for Algerian Chris8ans to have courage and strength. -‐ Amina. (She leads worship in her church in Algiers. She is also a Bible Society volunteer, helping to proofread the Bible transla?on into colloquial Arabic.)
When Algerian Chris8ans sing ‘God is my refuge’, they sing it from the heart. Some have lost their jobs, had their Bibles destroyed by family members again and again, while others have hidden their faith from family members for many years, afraid of being beaten or thrown out.
Many people from all walks of life are becoming Chris8ans through watching Chris8an TV channels. One day, a family of 7, who had been following a Chris8an TV program, went into a church and asked the priest for a Bible. Afraid that he would be expelled from the country, he wouldn’t sell them one. But he discreetly gave them the Bible Society’s phone number.
The family went to the Bible Society, spoke with Ali Khidri (pictured), who leads it, and bought a Bible. A few days later they were all bap8sed. 5 years later, the family s8ll faithfully aaends church every weekend.
Here in Algeria, the Bible Society is the only place where people can buy Bibles. Even when we Catholic clergy need a Bible, we contact the Bible Society. It is such an important ministry to provide this book that is unlike any other. -‐ Monsignor Ghaleb Bader, Archbishop of Algiers
“Please pray for the peaceful coexistence between religions here in Algeria -‐ that everyone accepts each other and that diﬀerent religious views are seen as enriching rather than a cause for conﬂict,” adds Archbishop Bader.
I really want to thank all who have helped provide the Bibles that we are distribu8ng here in Algeria. Thank you for all your gies and prayers. Please pray that many more people will turn to the Lord. and that we are able to ﬁnd or build more church buildings, as churches here are growing so fast. Pray also that the law of 2006, which makes Chris8ans criminals if they share their faith, will be revoked. -‐ Ali Khidri, Bible Society of Algeria
Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people. To ﬁnd out more about our work around the world, visit unitedbiblesocie8es.org Ephesians 6:18
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