Educating ministers and providing mercy ministries to North Africa
Ministry Vision & Strategy
Maghreb Ministry was established in 2009 to support the work of their country’s national evangelical church in the areas of evangelism, discipleship, training, and holistic ministry. Working with both foreign missionaries and local believers, Maghreb Ministry works to reach their national Muslim brothers for Christ, equip local leaders, send missionaries, and build the capacity of local churches.
Remaining Faithful in Adverse Circumstances
One day, “Abdul” met a group of Christians who invited him to join their meeting. He was surprised to learn they met in a cemetery as it was the only place they felt safe enough to meet. Abdul felt very afraid and was always looking over his shoulder wondering who was watching. Yet, he was also amazed at how they talked about the love of God. He liked that they didn’t make their prayers complicated or recite them as Muslims do. He decided to follow Christ. When he went back to his village he started talking to people about his faith. His father found he had a New Testament and took it away. Abdul was devastated as he didn’t know where to find another, and he didn’t know any other Christians in the area. Eventually his father accepted him, but told him not to talk to people about Jesus. Abdul remains faithful to the Lord and hopes that one day his father will accept Jesus as his Savior.
While nearly all of the people where Maghreb Ministry works would consider themselves Muslim, this North African nation is one of the most secularized countries in the Arab world. There are believers in some of the larger urban areas, however there are probably only 500 indigenous believers in the entire country. Many believers are isolated from Christian fellowship and may only have contact with other believers through foreign workers and Christian media.
In early 2011, a number of Muslim nations went through various degrees of political and social revolution. Millions of people, connected mostly through social networks, took to the streets demanding an end to government corruption and repression. The existing regime where Maghreb Ministry serves was repressive even by North African standards. While there are great hopes for the future of the country, the nation is still struggling to see changes implemented and find their way toward democracy.
Unlike the revolution in Iran in the 1970s, this one was not religious. People were fed up with being oppressed, unemployed, and censored. The Church, however, may have benefited from these recent changes. The nation is now overcoming fear and exploring new possibilities of freedom of expression, tolerance, and individual rights. So although there has been and may always be persecution of believers, it may actually decrease in the future. There remains a chance, however, that if the political situation does not stabilize, Islamic fundamentalists could take advantage of the void in leadership and persecution may increase.
>EVANGELISTIC MEDIA: $3,750 for project
Media Outreach, Maghreb Ministry
North Africa’s young people are searching for answers in places their parents never did. Due to their increasingly sophisticated use of technology, many are being confronted with the claims of the Gospel through the internet and satellite television. Media productions attract seekers to the Gospel and create curiosity in non-believers to learn more about Christ. Maghreb Ministry, in partnership with other ministries, produces Christian media in their national dialect, including radio, websites, and satellite television programs. These programs are evangelistic as well as discipleship focused.
One program is a religious discussion and debate show which is broadcast five times per week. “When I decided to start recording this program, many people thought that I was crazy to show my face on television,” Amir said. “It is risky for a national to proclaim his faith in Jesus when legally there should not be any Christians! It is not easy, and we have a difficult time in our country with many even spitting at me.” Though his work sparks strong reactions, it highlights an underlying, strong interest in Christianity. The show’s accompanying website receives an average of 700 hits every day, and response grows each month.
Literature is an important tool, but besides the Bible there is not much Christian literature in the local dialect. Amir has written and published a book of poems that speak about Jesus in local poetic form. The team has recorded the poems with video for greater impact and broadcast them on television. They have also produced a worship CD in the local dialect and musical style.
The ministry is partnering with other ministries to produce a dramatized historical account of a well-known early Christian leader who lived in this region centuries ago. The purpose of this program is to highlight the nation’s Christian cultural roots which go back to the first century. Most nationals have no idea their nation was, at one time, predominantly Christian.
Gifts to this project will provide Amir and his team part of the equipment and funding needed to produce and broadcast more of these high-impact multi-media programs.
>FOLLOW-UP TEAMS: $273 per team leader per month
Follow Up Teams, Maghreb Ministry
Media has been instrumental in reaching North Africans with the Gospel of Christ, however there are very few believers to follow up with the many seekers who respond to these programs.
Maghreb Ministry’s follow-up teams are meeting this key need. Through personal visits, Bibles can be distributed and questions answered. This is often the first step in helping seekers move closer to salvation in Christ. The teams also connect seekers to local churches whenever possible. If no churches are nearby, the teams help scattered believers join together to form new house churches. This work of follow-up is critical so that believers don’t remain isolated, but instead establish Christian relationships that will provide encouragement, support, and fellowship. On average, 10 seekers from all across the nation request a personal visit each week. Amir estimates that about 80% of the nation’s believers do not have the opportunity to meet regularly with other believers.
Gifts to this project will provide Maghreb Ministry’s four follow-up team leaders with funding for transportation, a small stipend, and Christian literature to distribute. With this support, they will be able to greatly increase the number of people they follow up with each year.
>MAGHREB INSTITUTE: $530 per student per year
Training Workers, Maghreb Ministry
Most of the pastors and teachers in this North African nation have little or no formal training. They are committed and passionate believers, but without training their teaching can only reach a certain level. The vision of the Maghreb Institute is to equip effective leaders for the churches across the nation. Launched in 2009, this school began with nine students who began a three-year program on practical theology. A total of 20 students will resume training in September. Maghreb Ministry has asked Partners to provide part of the operating costs, as well as student transportation and teaching materials.
>TRAINING CONFERENCES: $72 per trainee
Conferences, Maghreb Ministry
Years ago, after a community of Africans clashed with locals resulting in 300 deaths, UCM ministered to the families in need, providing food and basic necessities. Several years later, the government was struggling to provide even the most basic necessities to the inmates in their prisons. The guards remembered the help the church had given years before and invited church members to help at the prisons. Again, the church took up the challenge and since 2005, UCM has been given access to the prisoners in six jails.
Each prison holds about 500 male inmates, plus some women inmates with their children who are imprisoned with their mothers. UCM works with four pastors who speak French, English, Arabic and other languages, and with some 20 volunteers who visit prisoners twice a week. Besides food, the church provides toiletries, blankets, and clothes for the male inmates. Women inmates receive the same, as well as baby clothes and food for their children. The UCM team has found this to be an excellent opportunity to share God’s love. The pastors are given the opportunity to hold meetings with the prisoners that include worship and preaching of the Word.
When the work started, the attendees were all Sub-Saharan African, but now many indigenous people attend as well. They are bound by law to remain Muslims, and had never received the truth about Christianity before their time in prison. This outreach is a unique opportunity to transform lives in this closed country. We aim to help 2,000 male inmates and 300 women and their children through this project this year.
>MERCY MINISTRY: $50 per person
Social Work, Maghreb Ministry
Over the years, education has been a huge priority for the government. Young people have pursued their education vigorously and have created a society of well-trained professionals. At the same time, the high rate of unemployment has left many people, including university graduates, unable to provide for their daily needs. Through this project, Maghreb Ministry, together with the national Church, will be able to provide basic necessities to individuals and families who are struggling financially. Partners hopes to raise enough for at least 50 people to be helped.