Send a Christmas message to youth from churches that have been forced to close…
The Algerian government has been closing churches and investigating the activities of congregations over the last few months (like the one in the video above). The closures have specifically targeted a group of protestant churches – eight have been closed this year. Could you send a message to young Algerian Christians facing the prospect of Christmas with no church to celebrate in?
We’re looking to send a bunch of digital messages over the Christmas period to let our family in Algeria know that they aren’t alone and that we are standing with them in prayer – a kind of digital Christmas card! Could you write a short note, something that could fit into a text or WhatsApp message that we could send to them? Maybe an encouraging Bible verse, prayer, song lyrics or some other encouraging words. Use the form on this page to submit your message, then we’ll get it translated and sent on in time for Christmas.
Real-time WhatsApp message timeline…
Some of the most recent churches were closed in October – and we heard directly from young Christians who were there when the police raided their services and forced them to leave their church. They kept us up to date via WhatsApp.
13/10/2019 at 18:47 15/10/2019 at 18:58 20:12 16/10/2019 at 14:52 17/10/2019 at 10:27 17/10/2019 at 11:53 17/10/2019 at 13:16 17/10/2019 at 14:00 18/10/2019 13:00
‘Please pray for us, today the authorities gave the order to close our Church next Wednesday on the 16th of October.’
‘They are closing our Church right now. The authorities told us that would close the Church tomorrow but they came today at 6pm while we were praying and worshipping. They say that we can film this and tell America all we want, but that they won’t stop closing our Churches.’
‘They’ve beaten our pastor, he is covered in bruises.’
‘They have closed the building where we do the services, but we who have not been arrested and are staying to protest. Tomorrow, all the Christians in the region are going to protest against the local government for what they have done.’
‘We went to protest and do a sit in in front of the authorities but the police stopped us and arrested 12 people. The local authorities have decided to do all these bad things, hurt us and beat us, please pray for us.’
‘They arrested five more people. That’s 17 people now, please pray that they will be released soon.’
‘I was arrested while I was with my Dad, we were walking towards the local authorities to protest against the Church closures but the police came and put me in jail. They took down my name, they took my phone and searched through it.’
‘For now they released everybody, we are waiting outside the Church for our elders to tell us what to do.’
‘Tomorrow we decided with our youth leaders that we as a youth group will fast and pray. We don’t have a Church service to go to but we will fast and pray together.’
13/10/2019 at 18:47
15/10/2019 at 18:58
16/10/2019 at 14:52
17/10/2019 at 10:27
17/10/2019 at 11:53
17/10/2019 at 13:16
17/10/2019 at 14:00
Why are churches closing?
There are various reasons. Most churches aren’t registered with the government – they need a license, and no licenses have been given in 13 years. The government says the churches and their pastors are spreading ‘destructive ideas’. It’s more likely that the churches are full of converts from Islam, and those people are seen as traitors. Those who convert can be hated, even by their own family, for going against Islam. There are even laws that mean you can get into trouble for ‘shaking the faith of a Muslim’, so Christians have to be careful when talking about their faith. Churches can exist, but they have to stick to the rules – those rules prohibit Bible studies, foreign preachers and Sunday schools, so you can see why many don’t stick to them!