Algerian Christians display an unmovable faith as 13 churches in the country remain closed. Speaking to their fellow Algerians – and to believers around the world – on satellite Christian television broadcaster SAT-7, Christians offer prayers and share their hopes for the future of the church in Algeria.
Showing his community’s steadfast belief, Isaac, a young boy from a Christian community in Tizi Ouzou, Algeria, prays, “Lord, even though I’m a small child, I’m firm in my faith, thanks to You. Despite the difficult situation, we believe in You, our beloved God.”
Isaac’s is one of five powerful video testimonies shown on SAT-7 ARABIC from Full Gospel Church, one of the Algerian churches which was shut down by the authorities in October. “I was present when the doors of the church were closed and sealed. It bothered me seeing the security men dragging the women out,” remembers teenage believer Hamza. Echoing a statement made by his senior pastor, Hamza continues, “Even though the authorities sealed the doors of the church, they can’t seal our hearts.”
The testimonies also highlight the urgent need for prayer support from fellow believers. “I ask you to pray for us, that we will remain firm in faith until the authorities of our country grant us rights as Christians – the rights our constitution grants us, but the authorities have not enforced,” says Safia.
As the words of these brave Christians beam into homes across Algeria and the wider region, SAT-7’s production team in Algeria is preparing a documentary to be aired on SAT-7 ARABIC, as well as be distributed to other channels around the world. The program, featuring the voices of Algerian church leaders and their counterparts across the region, will counter messages of division that viewers hear elsewhere.
Local SAT-7 Producer Salah Kessai explains how the Algerian Church was not established from foreigners setting up churches in the country. He says, “This documentary will reveal the truth and give a clear idea of Christianity’s deep roots in this country, from the early days of the Church.”
The documentary will also explain the current relevance of the Protestant Church and its legal rights under Article 42 of Algeria’s constitution. “The Church in Algeria serves thousands, if not more,” says SAT-7 ARABIC Programming Manager George Makeen. “It’s strong. It’s growing. And they need our support – they need to be recognized.”
With plans to broadcast in late December, the documentary will show viewers of all backgrounds that upholding freedom of religion and belief is beneficial for everyone. “We want viewers to understand that when you support Christians, you are not just supporting a minority – we are working for the good of the whole nation,” explains Makeen.
Meanwhile, churches remain closed and SAT-7 ARABIC’s regular broadcasts from Full Gospel Church are suspended, but Producer Kessai sees God on the move. “The closure of the churches has given us the opportunity to speak to more people about the Church and the life of Jesus,” he says in a message shared by Rita El-Mounayer, the CEO of SAT-7. “The Church isn’t a physical building; it is the body of Christ.” Believers can continue to worship the Lord from their homes.
Through their humble faith, we can be encouraged by their response and know that the strength of the Church in Algeria will not be weakened by any decisions made to try to hinder it. The will of the Lord will prevail and no one will snatch His children out of His hand (John 10:28). Hebrews 6:19 reminds these believers and us all, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
Please continue to keep Algerian church leaders and members in prayer:
- That churches would be reopened if it is God’s will
- To further develop home prayer groups with guidance from the Holy Spirit
- That Algerian believers’ love for others will remain steadfast
- Giving thanks that the church closings have created new opportunities for Algerian Christians to minister to their communities
Algerian people, both Christians and Muslims, need to hear of the love and hope that Christ freely gives to all. Will you help support the broadcasting of HOPE to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) this holiday season? You can make a special year-end donation to SAT-7 by clicking this link. Thank you for partnering with us in making the Gospel available to all in the MENA!