BIG CHURCH GROWTH IN ALGERIA DESPITE ADVERSITY
Producers Samia and Salah Kessai are no strangers to adversity – the church they attend recently reopened after months of enforced closure. But the couple, who make impactful SAT-7 programs on the ground in Algeria, refuse to lose heart. Their work is a vital support for those choosing to follow Christ.
Like many Christian leaders in Algeria, Samia and Salah have witnessed amazing church growth in recent years. “Every three months, the church holds baptisms, sometimes for more than 100 people. In June, 67 people were baptised,” says Salah.
But as political tensions have increased, churches have been subject to greater interference from the authorities. “They refuse to grant permission for churches to operate, and then they close them down because they don’t have official permission,” Salah explains.
Four churches have been closed, including Salah and Samia’s in Aïn Turk, near Oran. It was shut down for seven months before thankfully reopening in June.
Undeterred, Salah simply says, “The more problems the Church faces, the stronger it grows.”
Many people experience God
The couple produce lively church service broadcasts as well as Christian teaching programs and talk shows. “SAT-7 programs have a great impact on viewers, who like to watch shows in their own dialect,” says Salah. “Many people experience a personal relationship with God through watching the programs.”
The impact of the programs is not limited to Algeria. Salah describes meeting a group of Christians from Morocco, saying, “They told me that they meet in a home for their prayer meeting and watch My Church in Algeria. They pray that one day they will have a church like this in Morocco.
Difficult to be a Christian
Salah explains, discipleship can be a big challenge in North Africa. Believers often face pressure on their journey of faith from those around them. Samia says she encourages them to learn from the example and heritage of Christians in the region’s past.
To help provide for the needs of the country’s youngest believers, Samia and Salah are producing A Verse and a Story, a new children’s program in which two young presenters share about Jesus through drama and songs.