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7 June, 2016 – Day 2
North Africa: The Lamb of God
North Africa was the homeland of Christianity for centuries before Islamic armies conquered it in the 7th century. Today North Africa has over 100 million Muslims who make up 98-100 percent of the population in Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.
As North Africa moved away from European colonization in the 20th century, North African governments have used Arab culture, including Islam, to unify their nations against further foreign influence. Despite these efforts, there is a stubborn native Berber population whose claim to North Africa as their homeland is older than anyone.
Despite being oppressed for centuries there are still at least 19 distinct Berber people groups in North Africa with 30-40 million speakers of Berber languages. These range from the Moroccan Riffi (4-6 million) and Algerian Kabyle Berbers (5-6 million) in the north, to the nomadic Tuareg (1.2 million) of the Saharan Desert.
Though it is hard to count them all, there are many new churches appearing in North Africa. While traveling through the villages of the Berber mountains, I often noticed framed pictures of Jesus depicted as the Good Shepherd. Written beneath these images were the words written in a local Berber language: The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A Berber woman named Zeinab explained to me, “The shepherd means so much to us because we are a people who have sheep. We know how the shepherd must love the sheep and hold the sheep close to his heart.”
These Berber believers are no longer sheep without a shepherd. They have found their Shepherd and are listening to His voice.
How to Pray
- Pray that the emerging Christian movements in North Africa will endure despite oppression.
- Pray that new Berber translations of the gospel message will awaken the faith of North Africa’s indigenous Berber populations.
- Scripture translation, radio and satellite television, and the witness of believers are contributing to a rediscovery of the new yet ancient faith of Christianity in North Africa. Pray for the workers who produce these messages.