Rejection from family and friends – that is what many new converts to Jesus Christ face in North Africa. That is what happened to Hassina (her real name protected due to security reasons), a young woman in Algeria.
Hassina was a respected young woman. Everybody loved to see how, as a devout Muslim, she practiced her prayers, respected Ramadan and stood out in doing good works.
“I tried to please God, doing all the things I should, but my life was a desert,” she recalls.
Everything changed when Hassina began to follow Jesus.
The change started with television. Hassina and her husband Djamel discovered the message of the gospel through a Christian television channel.
“We were able to hear the message of the gospel through Al Hayat TV. The programs gave me a different vision about God and the meaning of life,” says Hassina.
“My husband called the number at the end of a program. A man living in Algiers replied and gave us the number of the leader of a church just a few miles from where we live. We invited him to our home. He came and he answered all our questions about God, the Christian faith and salvation. I became confused, but I was convinced by what this man told us about God and how he felt about his own salvation,” Hassina continues.
“I listened closely to and I was convinced by the message of the gospel. I immediately expressed my faith in Jesus and told about my desire to follow Him. The man prayed and asked me to repeat the words. When I did, I felt as if God had rescued me from a deep well. I experienced a deep peace inside my heart.”
A few days later Hassina and her husband, newly converted to Christ, went to the church and met with other believers. “We were surprised by the number of Christians there are in Algeria. We realized that Jesus did not come only for westerners, as we were once told, but he came into the world to save all sinners without distinction of race or color.”
Hassina’s conversion created problems.
“A few days later I visited my family and shared about my new faith with them,” she says. “My parents became furious. My mother said that I was crazy. My father shouted at me, saying that I had disgraced the name of the family.
“My father presented me with a difficult choice. If I renounced Jesus, my father would accept me. If I would continue as a Christian, I would lose any relationship with my family.”
She made a very difficult choice.
“I could not deny Christ. I told my father that it was impossible for me to give up Jesus Christ. When I gave this answer, my father immediately ordered me to get out of the house.”
After a few weeks, her father sent Hassina a message, ordering her to divorce her husband, because he believed that it was her husband who influenced her. She refused and answered him that it was her personal choice.
Algeria is ranked No. 34 on Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians.
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575.