Algeria (MNN) — Despite laws preventing conversion, Muslims are turning to Christ in what's being called an amazing move of the Spirit in Northern Algeria.
In 2008, Algeria put into full effect a new anti-conversion law that prohibited efforts to convert Muslims to another religion and gave the government the right to regulate every aspect of Christian practice. This law was a direct attack against Christians since almost all Algerian Christians are converts from Islam. The new law could make nearly all Christian churches in the country illegal.
Despite this new law, 2009 has been an incredible year for evangelical church growth, says Pastor Youssef Jacob with Operation Mobilization. "We have churches that have grown 802%. Many converts have come from Islam with no Christian heritage, no Christian background, no resources whatsoever, no training. But they just believe in God and His Word."
Jacob says the Kabylie people are the most responsive in the Kabylie region, which is home to more than 2,000 towns and villages. "In every village and every town there are Christians, and there are churches," says Jacob. "In one town, actually there are more churches than mosques, which is a big miracle to happen in the Middle East."
These churches aren't stagnant, either, says Jacob. "I know of many, many churches today who baptize about 120 to 150 every year. I have never been to a church in the west or anywhere in the world where the church is already packed 2 1/2 hours before the meeting." That's happening in Algeria.
With the large number of new Christians comes a need for training. Jacob says funding is desperately needed. "If we fail to train, disciple, and empower the Algerian church today, I believe it will be one of the biggest mistakes in the history of missions to the Muslim world."
As training takes place, Jacob believes these Christians could be the key to reaching the Muslim world. "The Lord has given to us a vision that first [we need to reach] the Kabylie, then the whole end of Algeria, North Africa and the Arab world, mainly. But also God has given to us a vision to send missionaries from Algeria to Europe."
While the church is growing, Christians are facing persecution. Jacob says, "I am one of the targets of the Muslim fundamentalists there. But I am not scared. I am not afraid at all. We still have many court cases which is hanging over many of our workers."
Operation Mobilization offers a Bible school, summer camps, and media ministry to help with the training. Jacob says funding is vital to meet all the needs. Click here to contribute.