On 8th May 2015, over 200 Christian students from 25 African countries came together in Algeria, for a time of fellowship and worship. Considering the challenges that Christians face in Algeria on a day-to-day basis, this was a significant gathering.
Algeria has witnessed a huge growth of believers in the past two decades, now numbering nearly 100,000, with many of them converts from Islam. These followers of Christ face legislation that restricts the public gathering of non-Muslims and makes proselytism a criminal offense.
In addtition, hundreds of Algerians are believed to be fighting alongside of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, whilst at least two Algerian extremists groups have pledged loyalty to ISIS.
Algeria is also on the main route for migrants hoping to reach Europe, many of whom face the danger of kidnapping by ISIS, and abuse from people traffickers.
The church in North Africa, has started to see these migrants as a potential ministry, finding itself in a position to host and protect the migrants, offering them hospitality and shelter.
But the Church in Algeria, small as it is, has taken this one step further, by organising a place to promote love and peace amongst the different migrant and indigenous groups.
This was the heart behind the May 2015 event, “Celebrating Christ in Diversity.”
According to Abe*, a committee member who helped organise the event, “The purpose of the meeting was to create bonds of fraternity to promote fellowship.”
Mirvie*, an attendee and organising member from the Democratic Republic of Congo, emphasized the aspect of unity promoted by the event: “I bless the Lord that the Church, the Body of Christ, is becoming increasingly aware that we are human first, that Christ dying on the cross gave his life for all humanity; regardless of your origins, your tongue, your skin color, your education.”
*Names Changed for Security
- Give thanks for the faithfulness of Algerian and North African Christians, even in the face of extreme persecution.
- Give thanks for their reaching out to migrants, and pray that many of those “passing through” this country will come to know Christ and His hope and love.
- Pray for the Algerian Church, for continued growth, not only in numbers, but in depth of faith and maturity.
- Pray for protection for Christians across North Africa.
Acts 9 vs 31: “Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, the Church increased in numbers.”