Afghanistan (SAT7/MNN) — Christians recognize the need to pray for the victims of the world. But how often do they consider praying for the oppressor as well?
It is no secret to Christians that God’s Word is the key to overcoming trials as it teaches Christians what it means to lead a joyful life. But there are millions of people living in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan who have never even held a Bible. SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, has released a new PARS program, titled Secret of Life (in Farsi, Raze Zendeghi) that is now carrying the wisdom of Scripture to them via satellite television.
True to the program title, SAT-7 viewers are learning the Secret of Life in the Dari dialect of the Farsi language. Dari is among the dialects most commonly spoken in Afghanistan. Hosts Shoait and Mariam use Scripture to address social issues and take phone calls during the semi-live program which is produced by Pamir Productions. Producers hope to make the program fully live in 2014.
It is risky for people in Afghanistan and Iran to call SAT-7 PARS programs. Secret police are monitoring their phone calls, e-mails, and text messages. They could be imprisoned or even killed for choosing to follow Christ. Still, they call programs like Secret of Life to share their testimonies and prayer requests.
Recent episodes of Secret of Life have discussed domestic violence, forgiveness, and peace. Domestic violence is a global travesty, but it takes an especially devastating toll in Afghanistan, where victims have little or no access to state services and legal protection. During this particular episode, Nabil*, an Afghan father, called to testify about how Christ changed his life.
Nabil’s journey began during the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. He and his family moved to Iran, where they continued to practice the state religion devoutly. While living in Iran, they met a Christian family who encouraged them to read the Bible. Nabil was touched by their kindness. After reading the Bible, he decided to follow Christ. Nabil told viewers on-air, “When I look back into my previous life, all I see is darkness and anger, lies and abuse. I never showed any love to my wife or children. I would come home, and if my meal was not ready, I would start shouting and breaking dishes. My wife and children would hide from me.”
This traumatic intimidation is a reality for many more families, making Nabil’s call relevant to other viewers. Nabil offered advice through his redemption story: “When we accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts, little by little the darkness, anger, and abuse disappeared. I started to love my wife and children. Keep praying and listening. Through Christ, you can get well and see light instead of darkness, love instead of anger. Thank you for these programs. They are teaching us to be better people.” The beauty of this episode was that it not only raised awareness about the problem of domestic violence, but it also invited abusers into the conversation. It offered them a biblical alternative.
Often, SAT-7 PARS viewers share they are in despair because of poverty, violence, and oppressive family environments. Some feel that they have little control over their lives. Through programs like Secret of Life, they learn that the life of Jesus empowers them to bring peace and joy into their homes by changing their own behavior.
Please pray that this satellite ministry would continue to provide a place for believers to share in suffering and hope and for the lost to encounter Christ. Pray for the hearts of those that are participating in the violence, oppression, and exploitation toward others.
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*Viewer name has been changed for privacy.