ALGERIAN BELIEVERS ENCOURAGED TO “REST IN THE LORD”
As Algerian Christians face great uncertainty, including whether shuttered churches will be allowed to reopen, a new SAT-7 ARABIC program in the Kabyle dialect encourages them to rest in the unchanging, unchangeable love of God.
“Since believers are not able to worship together, new Christians cannot access the support they need to grow in their faith,” shares Samia Kessai, SAT-7’s Algerian program coordinator. “Many have also lost their job due to the pandemic. Often their only refuge is Christian television programs that minister to their current needs.”
As in other places in the world, all churches in Algeria remain closed due to COVID-19. But unlike elsewhere, some buildings have been shuttered for much longer – and some Christians are unsure whether their churches will be allowed to reopen at all.
In the latter part of 2019, a wave of church closures by the authorities swept through the country, leaving their members – many of them new Christians – without access to fellowship or spiritual encouragement. Then, in late August 2020, a court rejected the request of one congregation, Spring of Life Church in Makouda, to cancel the closure order against their building. This decision is seen as likely to be replicated for other churches.
Against this concerning backdrop, the new SAT-7 ARABIC program Rest in the Lord speaks to new believers in Algeria in their own dialect and in a welcoming, homely context. Throughout a spring and summer of isolation and uncertainty, female presenters Zarifa, Najat, Mariam, and Sarah have offered deep biblical discussion to help viewers grow in their faith.
“We chose the name Rest in the Lord because we are all believers in Christ and the Lord changed us, and changed our lives,” Zarifa explains. “He gave us rest and the promise of eternal life.”
In the first episode, which aired in the spring just as COVID-19 began to spread, the program’s four female presenters encourage viewers that God is ultimately in control, even when life feels out of control. “God’s will is not always clear to us,” says Sarah. “But His will for us is that we will have a relationship with Him, know His Word, worship Him, and seek Him,” she continues.
Encouraging wisdom like this is particularly important for Algerian new believers, who follow Jesus in a part of the world where it is estimated that less than 0.5% of the population are Christians. Brave new believers often have to move away from an inherited family religion and strong cultural expectations to follow Jesus. And, while national laws protect the freedom of religious belief, the actions of the government contradict this, meaning programs like Rest in the Lord – which is produced by Agape Media – are greatly needed.
- Pray for new Algerian believers who need Christian input, that they will find and benefit from Rest in the Lord.
- Pray that shuttered churches will be allowed to reopen, along with others, as soon as it is safe for them to do so.
- Pray for the presenters of Rest in the Lord, that they will be filled with wisdom and love to share with viewers.