People across the Middle East and North Africa are desperately seeking hope during this time of global lockdown, and together, we are that source of light and encouragement. As the coronavirus spreads and churches are closed, viewers across the region are responding to SAT-7’s spiritual comfort, mental health support, and practical health advice.
In Iran, the regional epicenter of the crisis, viewers say SAT-7 PARS programs are helping them lean on their faith to find hope amidst despair. When church leader Rev. Keyvan Seerous prayed fervently on Signal, a live program that is receiving seven times more viewer responses than usual, many shared that his words had a profound effect. Lale* says:
“These days we need prayer so we can be strengthened. Really, what would we do if we didn’t have Jesus Christ? We see others who feel so much pain, fear, anxiety, and anger. Truly, we can see what God meant when He said whoever puts the blood of the Lamb on the door of his house will be safe. My husband is a street vendor and is currently without work, and we do not even have any loose change. But we are living in faith and we have never been left in need. We are praying for everyone else.”
“A Rare Source of Joy”
More viewers are tuning in to watch SAT-7 TÜRK than ever before since it began satellite broadcasts in 2015. They are saying that the channel is a rare source of joy as Turkey grapples to contain the region’s second-highest infection rate. Viewers find much-needed support from the team at SAT-7 TÜRK, and the channel’s live programs, including Turning Point and Worldview, address how Christians can respond to the crisis.
“SAT-7 is uniquely placed to provide our audience with the spiritual support they need. As our viewers have shown us, when people have hope, they find the strength to carry on. When they can find meaning in a crisis, its impact on their mental and physical health is lessened. We are committed to continuing our broadcasts as they take on this vital role: helping viewers navigate unprecedented times in which their other lines of support have been cut,” shared Rita El-Mounayer, SAT-7 CEO, in a recent video encouraging viewers.
On SAT-7 KIDS, the channel’s Facebook audience has increased by more than 500 percent as beloved presenters have calmed children’s fears with special video messages. A single video of Family of Jesus presenter Mina Awny, in which he shares spiritual encouragement as well as hygiene advice, reached more than 425,000 people in a matter of days and was shared 2,700 times.
Meanwhile, SAT-7 ARABIC is bringing Christian leaders together across denominations and national borders to encourage believers and witness to others. On special live shows and in a series of clips entitled “Messages of Hope,” church leaders from Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Algeria, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates speak on experiencing God’s love, overcoming fear, and safely helping others during the pandemic. And on social media, a discussion with well-known church leader and psychiatrist Dr. Maher Samuel entitled “God, Fear, and the Coronavirus” was watched by 160,000 people.
A Holistic Response
In the Middle East and North Africa, the coronavirus pandemic is hitting a region already dealing with great challenges where many countries are less equipped to support their citizens.
As always, SAT-7’s response is a holistic one, addressing viewers’ needs from many angles. The social development and education brand SAT-7 ACADEMY is offering crucial health advice in “public service announcement” clips, and the parenting program The Coach has featured advice from a preventative medicine specialist. The live education advice program Follow Up is focusing on children’s mental health and serves as a lifeline for children who are now without school. The educational program My School is going live on Facebook from the presenter’s home.
In Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, and Cyprus, where most SAT-7 programs are made, local teams are committed to continuing live broadcasts while following all government guidelines. Filming of prerecorded programming is on hold and office staffs are working from home. Live shows are being made in studios with the smallest teams possible to protect the health of staff.
*Name changed for security.