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2nd May 2023

The crisis in Afghanistan is so widespread and has escalated so rapidly that it is scarcely believable. Economically, the country is on its knees, with an extra 15 million Afghans pushed into poverty since 2020.[1] Socially, there is intense pressure on vulnerable groups, with women “systematically being erased from all areas of public life”[2] and non-Muslims experiencing “continued harassment, repression, and violence.”[3] SAT-7, seeking to make God’s love visible in the region, has stepped up its programming for Afghans in recent months.

SAT-7 PARS’ live programs for women, including New Identity and Insiders, discuss the challenges that Persian women are facing, offering prayer and encouragement as well as highlighting examples of godly behavior in the Bible. A woman named Andisha* expressed her gratitude to our Viewer Support Team after watching an episode of Insiders, saying, “Thank you for your excellent program, which helped me to have more peace.”

Another SAT-7 PARS live show, Signal, exists for the benefit of all Persian believers. By amplifying the testimonies of Christians nationwide, the program aims to fulfill 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (NIV). Farzana*, an Afghan woman, wrote to us after watching the show. “I was ever so happy that you responded to my message and that you have prayed on our behalf and for the blessing, peace, and restoration of this unhappy country. Thank you so much.”

Signal, presented mostly in Farsi, now has a segment specifically for Afghans in the local Persian-language variation of Dari, enabling more women like Farzana to hear uplifting testimonies from across the region in their heart language. The segment is presented by Noorullah Noor, an Afghan assistant pastor living in Germany, who is also at the forefront of an exclusively Dari initiative, Church4Afghanistan, broadcasting weekly on social media. Noorullah explores biblical topics and discusses the situation in Afghanistan with different Afghan guests, paying special attention to the persecution of Christians in the country.

Executive Director of SAT-7 PARS, Panayiotis Keenan, shares the heart behind this initiative: “Through Church4Afghanistan, we want to further support the Christians in Afghanistan by providing them with a platform through which they can access Christian resources and receive mature Christian teaching in Dari, their own heart language, as well as make their voices heard.”

There is huge need for community and discipleship among the 10,000 or so Christians living in Afghanistan.[4] Because of the real threat of violent persecution, they are forced to practice their faith in secret. Considered guilty of apostasy, which is punishable by death, Christians are even at risk from their own family and friends, as their Christian faith can provoke ostracism or “honor killings.”

That is why SAT-7’s programs mean so much to Afghan viewers. Arman*, a SAT-7 PARS viewer from Afghanistan, wrote to us to say, “Fellowshipping and appealing to the Lord together with other believers is so empowering… and I thank God that I have you in my life.”

 


*All names have been changed for security purposes.

[1] https://www.undp.org/afghanistan/publications/afghanistan-socio-economic-outlook-2023
[2] https://press.un.org/en/2022/ga12469.doc.htm
[3] https://www.state.gov/reports/2022-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/afghanistan/
[4] https://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/2021-10/2021%20Factsheet%20-%20Religious%20Minorities%20in%20Afghanistan.pdf

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