ALGIERS – With nearly 920,000 square miles, Algeria is the tenth largest nation in the world. It is the largest country on the continent of Africa. Initially settled by the Berbers, Algeria has had a long and storied history.
The country gained independence in 1962 from France which had invaded and began colonizing it in 1830. The French and Algerian war lasted until 1875. The state, once friendly to Christians, experienced a civil war that lasted from 1991 until 2002.
Nearly 100% of the population primarily identifies as Sunni Muslim, which has escalated the imposition of “extremist ideas” within the country’s legal system. In recent years, Christians have suffered closure of churches and schools following the passage of a law that makes it illegal for anyone to “shake the faith” of any Muslim.
Youssef Ourahmane is a native Algeria who came to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ while traveling in Europe. He accepted the Lord’s call to reach out to his own people in 1988. Over 20-plus years, he has witnessed an explosion of evangelism and, more recently, the closure of his House of Hope ministry facilities. The government is using church inspections and other restrictions as reasons to close churches, similar to what has been occurring across Asian, South Asian, and Southeast Asian nations.
Nonetheless, Youssef and his wife are pressing on under the banner of “No turning back.”
Youssef preaches that the church is not four walls and a roof. He, therefore, also believes that closing a building does not have to hinder the operation of the local church. In fact, he has used the anti-evangelism laws as an opportunity to share the Gospel with police officers and local officials who must carry out the closures. Instead of confronting them over the law, he shares the good news of Jesus Christ with them, much like Paul did when under house arrest in Rome.
Youssef has created a new ministry, Algerians for Missions. His goal is to “send out 1,000 Algerians for Missions by 2025 within Algeria and beyond.” Youssef has overseen the construction of the new Timothy Mission School to prepare men and women to reach that objective.
“That building, as far as I know, is the first in the whole Middle East and North Africa that recruits Muslim-background believers, trains them and sends them out for missions.”
According to Operation Mobilization, developing a local mission’s school was necessary to continue to evangelize Algeria. As with so many other countries not friendly to the Gospel, it is challenging, if not impossible, for Westerners to obtain visas to enter Algeria as missionaries or other Christian workers.
Youssef’s wife observed, “God has a special plan for the Algerian church, and He is putting all the puzzles together to accomplish His plan.”
Around the entire world, the Revolution in World Missions foreseen over 40 years ago has become the standard for reaching the nations for Christ.
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