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28th March 2024

Live services from a church in Bethlehem and the Istanbul church where a shooting took place earlier this year will highlight the power and hope of Easter to viewers in challenging circumstances across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Good Friday and Easter Sunday services will be broadcast live on SAT-7 ARABIC from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bethlehem. This church was featured in SAT-7’s Christmas coverage and attracted worldwide attention with its Nativity scene of the baby Jesus placed among rubble, representing the devastation of the war in the Holy Land.

SAT-7 ARABIC will also air a talk show hosted by the Rev. Dr. Jack Sara, President of Bethlehem Bible College, with other church leaders from the Holy Land. They will speak about the meaning and hope of the resurrection, especially in light of the conflicts in the Holy Land and elsewhere in the MENA. And there will be daily Sudanese reflection and worship surrounding the cross and resurrection in a program called Gems of the Cross.

SAT-7 CEO Rita El-Mounayer said, “Easter is a powerful reminder that our Lord is ‘a man of suffering, and familiar with pain’ (Isaiah 53:3). This is such a comfort to believers in the Middle East and North Africa as they face many trials, knowing that Jesus Himself suffered – and not just with us, but also for us. Our programs over Easter will broadcast this message of hope and salvation; please pray that it will touch many hearts and lives.”

Easter Programs Across SAT-7

Over on SAT-7’s Turkish channel, a service from the Church of Santa Maria in Istanbul will be broadcast live on Easter Sunday. The church was attacked by two gunmen during a Sunday service on January 28; one man was killed in the incident. SAT-7 TÜRK wanted to broadcast from the church at Easter to show solidarity with the congregation after such a traumatic event.

The team said Christians in Türkiye are feeling afraid about going to church at Easter, so please pray for them. The channel will also be making special Easter-themed episodes of some of its regular programs, including Homemade, Worldview, and Essence of the Gospel.

For Arab children, SAT-7 KIDS is showing various Easter specials, including a musical, Salvation, Not Just Death, performed by an Orthodox church in Assiut, Upper Egypt, as part of its children’s festival. The production focuses on how people’s lives were changed by the miracles of Jesus, including His raising of Jairus’ daughter, turning water into wine at Cana, and feeding the multitudes. The play culminates with His death and resurrection, delivering the message that it is through Jesus’ sacrifice that we can be saved.

SAT-7 KIDS is also showing a mini-series called Zoom In Easter every day in the week leading up to Easter Sunday, which educates children about the events of Holy Week from Palm Sunday through to the resurrection. The short episodes also help children apply the meaning of the cross and resurrection to their daily lives.

SAT-7’s Persian channel meanwhile will be showing a one-hour special Easter documentary called Journey of the Cross. It features a pastor and his son-in-law on a three-day road trip filmed in different locations, during which they discuss the significance of Holy Week. Two episodes of the children’s program Sweet Anecdotes will also explore Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection. The program is unique as it features cut-out paper figures to tell Bible stories in a visually engaging way that appeals to both children and adults.

“Beautiful Scent”

Some Christians in the MENA celebrate Western Eastern, which is on March 31 this year, while others will mark Eastern Orthodox Easter, which falls on May 5. SAT-7’s Easter programming is especially important for those in countries where they are unable to celebrate openly because of persecution and restrictions on religious freedom. This message from Farshid in Iran highlights the importance of Isolated Believers being able to receive God’s Word in the privacy and safety of their homes:

“Greetings dear brothers and sisters. As we approach Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, please pray and intercede on my behalf that the old me will be crucified with the Lord and rise again on the third day with my Lord as a new person. I ask Jesus to guard my heart every day. Thank you dear friends for helping me understand that I must commit all of my heart to the Lord and that anyone found in the Lord Jesus Christ will overcome impossible things.

“When I hear the Word of God in my home, it is like a beautiful scent fills the place, so I love God’s Word to be heard in my home every day. Thank you, dear friends, for all your endeavors.”

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