Middle East (SAT-7/MNN) — The only access some people have to a congregation is through their television set.
SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, is providing a church of sorts, a makeshift seminary program, and a source of Biblical instruction–all through TV.
Picture yourself taking your first steps into a new life. You have been preparing for this step for weeks, ever since you came across a program on TV. This step was never an easy one. You had to speak with a trusted friend, careful of what you said, but you finally located a church–all the while looking over your shoulder, worried that if you say the wrong thing to the wrong person, you could be interrogated or put in prison!
The hard part is over. You found a church and a community of believers. One morning, as you arrive for service, something feels strange. The church doors are barred shut! When you call your Bible study leader to ask what happened, you learn your pastor is missing and the group can’t meet again.
When you return home, confused and afraid, you find that you have more questions than when you first sought out the church. Why did this happen? Is there another safe place to go?
Am I alone now?
This is an all-too-common occurrence some Christians face in parts of the Middle East and North Africa. With few church buildings, especially outside cities, it is unlikely people will be close enough to travel to a new church if one is closed or destroyed. Illiteracy is also a problem for the region. If Christians are able to obtain a Bible, reading it may be an unsurmountable challenge. Additionally, in some countries it is illegal to even attend a church!
SAT-7 is addressing this head-on with programs that lead a seeker through sound Biblical teaching, as well as educating church leadership through a series called TEACH: Theological Education for Arab Christians at Home. This Arabic series will bring theological education to those who may never be able to go to seminary so they can lead a house church in their area. TEACH is broadcast on SAT-7, creating a community for isolated Christians. SAT-7 does this through educational programs, oral Bible study to those who can’t obtain or read a Bible, and programs broadcast directly into the privacy of millions of homes so viewers are safe.
“I’m a new believer and found a church, but they are not permitted to let a Farsi speaker like me into their church. I give thanks that your programs can teach me.” – a SAT-7 PARS viewer
SOTA, or Seminary of the Air, brings sound teaching to Farsi viewers through distinct levels of training and discipleship programs. Creative producers work with talented hosts to engage viewers with live discussions. SAT-7’s Audience Relations teams work hard to do follow-up to ensure new believers can find a church or group of other believers in their area.
“SAT-7 is like a church in every Christian home. It became like a church to my family and children. It satisfies me not only with spiritual food but with my social and cultural needs as well. It is very beneficial to all members of the family.” – a SAT-7 ARABIC viewer
SAT-7 broadcasts via satellite on free-to-air channels. SAT-7 is a community to people throughout the Middle East and North Africa–a community that can’t be barred or locked or burned down.
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(Now, you can give to SAT-7 on your mobile device with MoGiv! Get started by texting keyword “SAT7” to 59769.)