The Coronavirus pandemic is sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. As a voice of the Church in the region, SAT-7 is broadcasting programs speaking encouragement, sharing much-needed health information, and providing instructions on wellness for millions of viewers.
Pandemic in the Middle East and North Africa
Lebanon was experiencing economic difficulties and near financial collapse plus social unrest before the virus hit. Now, sheltering in place is made challenging by sketchy internet and interruptions in basic services like water and electricity. For some 2 million refugees in communities throughout Lebanon life has become even more stressful. Kiss-and-hug traditional greetings have been suspended.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan cancelled flights and barred gatherings over ten. Saudi Arabia has stopped the “Unrah” smaller pilgrimage and may stop the enormous “Hajj.” The U.A.E. forbade non-resident foreigners to enter the country. Egypt is stopping travel for tourism. Medical resources are limited in several countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Syria and Yemen are in the throes of war and violence, so the virus only adds to the threat to life and well-being experienced by some 6.2 million displaced people. Iran has so far recorded the highest number of Coronavirus cases in the region. Turkey has aggressively embraced social distancing and business closures. Despite the claims of some, like Syria, no Middle Eastern or North African country has been spared.
SAT-7 vs the Pandemic
SAT-7 works holistically, meaning the ministry broadcasts the whole counsel of God from Scripture and addresses a wide array of life issues and concerns for viewers.
Here is one example of SAT-7’s response to the virus:
Pastor Adel Malek came to Egypt from the USA before the travel bans to film the third season of the Christian teaching program Words for Life. He shared several recommendations with viewers, encouraging them at a time of dire circumstances around the globe:
- Take heed to doctors’ directions for protection such as avoiding closed places and crowds.
- Try as much as you can to keep washing your hands.
- Use this opportunity to listen to music through which you can hear the voice of God.
- Read one of the books you have been postponing.
- Call your friends whom you haven’t talked to in a long time.
- Sing, play musical instruments, or do anything positive to calm yourself.
- Remember that there’s hope; God is with you.
- Keep in mind God created and protects us.
- During this time, love your neighbor as yourself.
SAT-7’s ability to connect with people in the relative safety of their own homes is an especially powerful tool during this time of social distancing and commercial lockdowns.
SAT-7’s encourages, points to the Lord and his love, and when necessary, grieves with those who grieve. All provide solace in the face of an invisible enemy.