In the past month, SAT-7 PARS’ Audience Relations team has received numerous heartbreaking messages from viewers in Iran reaching out to the team seeking prayer, support, and encouragement. The Audience Relations team speaks God’s Word into these situations, continuing to be a vital support that viewers can turn to in their hour of need.
“The coronavirus is decimating the Iranian people. Since Nowruz (the Persian New Year in March), at least 50,000 people have died, and the hospitals have no more beds. Most of our depression and sadness, certainly in my case, arises from the coronavirus,” shares one anonymous viewer, speaking to the SAT-7 PARS Audience Relations (AR) team.
“Iranians are disheartened,” comments Manisa*, another SAT-7 PARS viewer. “They have no delight or joy in anything, and they are weighed down by hardship and pain.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Iran has been the worst affected country in the Middle East, reaching a record 709 daily deaths in August 2021. This has had devastating consequences on the individuals and families affected, as one viewer shares:
Please pray for our distant relations, four of whom have died of the coronavirus and another five, including Fardad* and his son, are very sick. Fardad’s mother died of the coronavirus, but he hasn’t been told. The medical staff have advised that the news could make his condition worse. Pray for comfort; this family has lost both mother and father in the space of a week.”
It is difficult to evaluate the severity of the outbreak. Investigations have shown that the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths are significantly higher than official figures. It is also difficult to gauge the emotional and mental toll that people in Iran are living with, surrounded by uncertainty, sickness, and death. However, the SAT-7 PARS team has a unique insight into the situation through their viewers.
“The heartbreaking messages we receive from our viewers give us an insight into what the situation is really like on the ground and how severely it is impacting people,” says Rahel*, SAT-7 PARS’ Audience Relations Coordinator. “They are sad and afraid, but most of all, they are tired of the hopelessness around them.”
“Thousands of people are suffering – not just on a physical level but also by how the pandemic is affecting other areas of their lives, like the economy. One of our female viewers, Sarina*, told us that she has had COVID twice. During the pandemic, her workplace closed during lockdown, leaving her with no income. Many people like Sarina have been unable to provide for themselves and their families. Among those hardest hit by the pandemic and economic crisis are the poorest in Iranian society, and migrants and refugees – the majority of whom are from Afghanistan.”
Through this dire situation, the SAT-7 PARS’ AR team strives to convey God’s hope and love through encouraging messages, Bible verses, devotionals, worship songs, and counseling. Furthermore, the team creates a special prayer calendar consisting of viewers’ prayer requests every month, enabling viewers to pray for one another, assuring that they are not alone.
“We continually pray that God will work through the messages we send, and that He will give us wisdom and guidance in how best to respond to our viewers’ needs,” concludes Rahel.
The impact of the AR team is evident in viewers comments. Nikoo*, a female viewer wrote:
“I am grateful to you and your team for always being a source of blessing, encouragement, and peace. My dear Rahel, thank you for always being in prayer for my family. I believe that your team’s prayers are heard.”
Farshad*, a male viewer also shared, “A thousand thanks that in these dark and evil days in Iran, God’s grace has flowed out to us through SAT-7 so that we should hear the call and teaching of heaven, to be built up and strengthened.”
You can support the vital work the SAT-7 PARS team is doing by donating here and continuing to pray.
*Names changed to protect identities