Here in the West we often lament the decline of church attendance but can you imagine a place where there are no Christians at all? When you look at the stats for Christians in Western Sahara it says it is almost 100% Muslim. In Operation World it estimates there are only ‘a handful of Christians’ at best and this is backed up by similar statistics on the Joshua Project’swebsite.
Western Sahara used to be a Spanish colony and has been a disputed territory since 1975 which Morocco controls 80% of the land. WIN1040 has an informative and helpful briefing with prayer points on the region including the political situation and how it affects the few isolated Christians that live there. 30 Days Prayer Network has a similar briefing and prayer points with an excellent video to watch of what life is like for the Sahrawi people.
Pastor Wally, founder of persecuted church charity, Christians in Crisis, who has quite an interesting background, visited Western Sahara in 2010 on a fact-finding trip. The most fascinating bit of his report, which reveals a lot of oppression that the people are facing there is when he meets Secretary General of the Polisario Front and President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz and his wife Hadija Hamdi:
« On both occasions, the Spirit of the Lord, inspired and led me to read and quote from the Bible before I prayed. It was a witness to them that there is a GOD who cares and desires and seeks justice and righteousness and truth on behalf of oppressed people. President Mohamed Abdulaziz and his wife, Hadija, were impacted and touched by the power of the Written WORD and the powerful presence of the HOLY SPIRIT.
President Mohamed Abdulaziz had declared an openness to the Christian message. He had stated that Western Sahara will be open to the Gospel once they regain and return back to their homeland. Glory to GOD! »
The openness displayed by President Mohamed Abdulaziz does sound very encouraging. Let us pray that one day that this will come to pass not only in Western Sahara but also all countries where there is religious persecution.
Next up on the Virtual Tour of Africa: We will cross the border into Algeria, another country in the 10/40 window.
The Global Church, 6/2/2012