Stories

Young Christian with a Difficult Choice

January 3, 2014 by Open Doors in ,

Algeria*Representative photo used to protect identity. “My father asked me to abandon Christ if I want to continue going to school.” Kahina* is a brilliant student in her third year at a University in Algeria. Her dream of becoming a professional may not come to fruition, since her father discovered her Christian faith and that she went secretly to the church in her region. “I converted to Christ about a year and a half ago. At university, there is a group of Christian students with whom I shared my new faith with. I also went secretly to the church, but not in the area where my family lives. I was afraid to be seen by members of my family who are fiercely opposed to the Christian faith,” says Kahina, whose fear is justified. “My brother, who had preached the gospel to me, was forced by my father to leave the house. At home, becoming a Christian is seen as a disgrace that is thrown on the family,” she said. Aware of the fate that awaits her in case her father discovered her conversion to Christianity, Kahina continued to keep her faith a secret until she was denounced by her older brother. He is a very strict Muslim, and a group of villagers told him that they had seen her entering the church. Kahina now lives with terrible pressure from her family. “One day, I came home and I found my father and older brother, who belong to the Salafists, waiting for me. They asked me if I really went to church. I confessed the truth. My father became very angry. He insulted me and threatened to cut me out of the family and send me away from home,” says Kahina, who is just 21 years old. Once he calmed down a little, her father asked her to make a choice: ‘Abandon Christ or abandon your studies’. “My father put me under pressure; he asked me to swear to him not to put my feet again in a church. If I would do as he said, I would be able to continue going to school as well as live in my family’s home. If I wouldn’t do that, I would have to stop going to school and leave their home. Under that pressure, I promised my father not to go to church. I really was afraid,” says Kahina, visibly deeply affected by this event. This way she could escape “imprisonment” at home. “I promised my father that I would no longer attend church. But it is impossible for me to abandon Christ, because I have tasted His goodness,” she said. Although Kahina is now deprived of the joy of fellowship she tasted before at the church where she used to go every Saturday, she continues to live her faith in secret, and hopes one day to find the freedom again to go to church and to freely express her religious beliefs. “My desire is to go to church, but I can’t because of my father. However, I keep my faith in my heart”, she said. Because of religious intolerance rooted in the Algerian society, especially in areas with high Islamist presence, many Christians continue to live their faith in secret in fear of persecution. *For security reasons we don’t use her real name. Pray for Algeria

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