Algeria-Faces of Joy Part 2
Written by David Witt
Algerian believers are all persecuted for their faith since they are ex-Muslims in an Islamic state. The leaders share that the persecution is direct and indirect. The government does not say no to the church, but they do not say “yes” either. The government enforces strict policies regarding religious freedom for non-Muslims into the laws. For instance, one Christian family tried to give their son a Biblical name on his birth certificate. For one year, the government continued to reject the names they had chosen and sent back the form. Finally they had to settle on a more generic name for their son on the birth certificate. Official permission for meetings or building permits is nearly impossible in most areas. The government is tolerating personal expression of faith in the Lord Jesus, but tries to discourage growth by not allowing the Church to organize or build.
Social persecution is also an issue, reports the Christian Algerian leaders. “People do not accept Algerian Christians and we are treated as outcasts. It is difficult living near our Muslim relatives. They treat Christians as unclean which opens up emotional wounds of rejection and shame from family members. With time we see Muslims come to respect the good behavior of Christians, but not the shame of conversion.” God is using these difficulties to bring hope to their Muslim family members. Just as flowers release a beautiful fragrance when they are crushed, so our Algerian brothers and sisters return love and grace for insults and shame. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)
Yasmine’s husband was antagonistic when she accepted Christ as her savior. He caught her kneeling in prayer and kicked her in the head. For one year, Yasmine suffered from her husband’s persecution for her faith. Her only “church” and discipleship was secretly watching Christian programing on the satellite television. After one year the husband said, “You either stop being a Christian or I will divorce you.” She would not deny her faith. The court date was set for the divorce. She prayed, “God, I do not want to separate from my child.” (In Islamic nations the children are not allowed to stay with Christian converts.) She had a dream and Jesus spoke to her, “Do not be afraid, I will be in the court with you.” On the day of the divorce proceedings as she waited outside the court doors her husband came and said we will not get divorced. She does not know what changed his mind. Several days later some of his relatives converted to Christianity. The husband now allows the wife to pray and watch Christian television. Her husband is sympathetic toward her faith, but will not allow her to go to church.
The Algerian leadership has discovered the joy of being living martyrs in the midst of their difficulties. One leader shared, “In 1962 many Algerians died fighting for freedom from France. We called them martyrs. They were actually war victims who had no choice, but to fight. Martyrs are the ones who volunteer to love Christ and their enemies. True martyrs live and die for Christ.”
Spirit of Martyrdom ministries is honored to serve the living martyrs in Algeria. SOM recently hosted an Oral Inductive Bible training for Algerian Christian leaders. One pastor shared, “I have prayed for three years for the Lord to bring me a fresh and effective means to share the gospel and disciple others. I know God has answered my prayer with this workshop.” Thank you for your partnership with us in prayer, giving and volunteering your time. Together we are His Witnesses!
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