Church unity a key to revival in nation
‘There are no denominations in Algeria!” said Operation Mobilisation (OM) Field Manager Rev Youssef Ourahmane.
All Christians in the north African nation worship and serve Jesus Christ in unity, and that is part of the great success behind the evangelising of Muslims there. But the cost of following and proclaiming Jesus in Algeria is great, Ourahmane said during a powerful message at the Kwasizabantu Ministers Conference in KwaZulu Natal on Tuesday.
Ourahmane, who is an OM Field Manager and Assistant of the Area Leader of Middle East and North Africa region, was born into a very conservative Muslim family in Algeria, and was led to the Lord by missionaries in 1980. Since 1988 he and his wife, Hee Tee, have been serving the Lord in Algeria together.
He said God was doing a unique work in Algeria.
“Today we have revival in Algeria and over 100 000 Muslims are converted. We have churches that are growing by 200%, 400% and up to 820% per year!”
In Ourahmane’s experience Muslims are amongst the easiest people to evangelise.
“The devil has been lying to us that the Muslims are so impossible to convert. God is using those without any Christian heritage and no theological training to convert the Muslims to Christ.
“As a Muslim I always felt God is so far, but in Jesus Christ God is so near. Our church is full of Muslim converts. Even our preachers all have Muslim names. The Muslims never get tired talking about God. That’s why they are the easiest to evangelise”.
Muslims respect those who live and strongly believe what they preach, without compromise, he said.
“There are so many being converted that the churches are too small and if you want to have a seat you must come at least two hours before the time! The 4th largest church in the world is in Algeria. Only last Sunday they baptised 100 Muslims!”
“What is happening in Algeria is a great headache to the government of Algeria. It’s the first time in their history that they see tens of thousands of Muslims coming to Christ.
“A certain Muslim leader said about 3 years ago that if the Christians truly lived as Christians, there would be no other religion on earth”.
‘Evangelism worse than terrorism’
According to Ourahmane, the minister of religious affairs in Algeria has said three times: “Evangelism in Algeria is worse than terrorism”. So he sees Christians who live as true Christians as worse than terrorists, while he goes to other countries to open a new mosque.
Algeria was a Christian land, but became Muslim over the centuries. The first missionaries came in 1881. It was a very difficult time. They spent many years without seeing a single convert. Converts were either poisoned or rejected by their families.
In 2008 Ourahmane was sentenced to prison for three years, but was acquitted in the same year after several appeals, along with two colleagues.
“Yes to follow Jesus costs something” he said.
The Quran teaches that a Muslim who leaves Islam must be warned three times. If he doesn’t listen, then his blood is innocent i.e. any one can kill him. When you leave Islam and become a Christian then you have no right of inheritance from your family; you’re an outcast.
God has delivered the Algerian Christians from the fear of man. The law is still there but they don’t fear the law. They fear only God, not man, said Ourahmane.
In an interview he shared the following testimonies from Algeria:
- One day Farida, the hospital maid, saw a patient’s son trying to give his unconscious father some water to drink from a tablespoon.The doctor had told him his father was dying. The son tried desperately to keep him alive. When Farida saw this, she felt she had to do something for the unconscious man. She told the son to go so she could finish her cleaning. When he left, she took the small bottle of water from his bedside and prayed and sanctified it by saying: “Lord, You said when two (the patient and Farida), are gathered in Your name, You are here. This bottle is now sanctified, it is Your blood and it is You who wash the sick man.”Then she gave him the first spoonful of water and he swallowed it! Then she gave him the second and he swallowed more easily. Then she gave the third and he opened his mouth more and swallowed easily.
Covered only with a sheet as he was thought to be dying, Farida sprinkled his whole body with the rest of the water from the bottle and said: “Lord, wash this sick man. You see Lord he has two sons, please have mercy.” When she finished sprinkling all the water on him the sick man began to shake violently. She quickly covered him with a blanket. A nurse passed by with the food trolley. She refused to give any food for this dying man, but Farida insisted on a tray of lunch for his son as they had paid for it. Reluctantly, the nurse left a tray at the bedside locker. There was potato stew which Farida mashed and gave to the sick man. He ate all of it! The son came in and saw his father eat the last spoonful; he was dumbfounded and overjoyed! He hugged Farida and thanked her. Farida told him to be quiet as she did not want the staff to know what had happened. After an hour, they all heard the sick man saying, “Farida is not a Muslim”, over and over all afternoon. The next morning, when Farieda came to work, she saw him with his son leaving the hospital!
- There was a sister born blind in a village in Algeria. One day she saw Jesus on His Throne. She was amazed and asked about Jesus from the Quran. But nothing satisfied her. Then she heard of Jesus from the Bible and she got saved, her life transformed and her face was shining. Today she brings many Muslims to Christ.
- Another girl, Nidia, never went to school and could not read or write. She cried a lot and blamed her family for not teaching her to read and write. She wanted to read the Bible but could not. As she was crying Jesus revealed Himself to her and told her to pick up a Bible; she did so and found that she could read it. Today she can read her Bible fluently in Arabic.
- A Muslim was diagnosed with brain cancer and pronounced to be close to death. His sister in law was a believer and said to him, “this sickness is not to death but God’s glory”. She laid hands on him and so did the elders and he was healed.