EASTON, MD — Record numbers of people in the Middle East and North Africa turned to a one-of-a-kind Christian broadcast ministry that showed them “living examples of hope” during 2020 — a “year of terrible tempest” — according to newly released figures.
Amid the pandemic lockdown, soaring unemployment, hunger and domestic violence, economic meltdown, and a catastrophic explosion in Lebanon’s capital Beirut, millions turned to SAT-7’s satellite television and online network (www.sat7usa.org), desperate to see “living hope” and find support.
The network — broadcasting live from the Middle East at no charge to 30 million people in 25 countries in Arabic, Turkish and Farsi — reported a record increase in the number of viewer responses via social media, phone calls and texting last year.
In the first nine months of 2020, 310,000 viewers from different faith backgrounds — an increase of 30 percent over the previous year — called or messaged the network’s help team, seeking support and prayer. Many were on the brink of giving up on life.
“It’s been an incredible blessing to come alongside people as they’ve poured out their hearts and struggles this past year during the terrible tempest of COVID-19 and other crises in the Middle East,” said SAT-7 CEO Rita El-Mounayer.
‘Living Love Letters’
“Many depend on us as a trusted source of spiritual and emotional support, companionship and health advice,” she said. “Viewers are looking for real hope — and by God’s grace our local presenters, team members and guests are living love letters, living epistles of hope. They show viewers by their lives and their actions that God can give peace, even in the most difficult times and perilous circumstances.”
Audience engagement with the network’s education channel SAT-7 ACADEMY skyrocketed 328 percent last year. The Turkish channel SAT-7 TURK saw a 120 percent surge in viewer inquiries, and the children’s channel SAT-7 KIDS notched up a 90 percent increase in responses.
“People of all backgrounds and religious traditions across the region are hurting, hungry for answers, and hungry for God,” said El-Mounayer, a native of Lebanon where a massive explosion last August in Beirut killed hundreds and traumatized thousands.
Making God’s Love Visible
“Right now, many are asking: ‘Is there really a God? And if he exists, does he really care about me?'” she said. “We’re making God’s love visible to them, and bringing the gospel in their own language directly into their homes or wherever they may be.”
The network recently launched its new video-on-demand service — SAT-7 PLUS — to engage a new generation in all three major languages in the Middle East and North Africa streaming video on their phones and digital devices.
It’s also upgrading its social media platforms to reach hundreds of thousands more young people — including disillusioned youth in Iran, Iraq, Syria and other troubled parts of the region.
“These are truly exciting days in the ‘cradle of Christianity,'” said El-Mounayer, who started her career with SAT-7 in the 1990s as a children’s presenter and program producer. “We’re showing viewers they’re not alone, that God is with them, and their Christian family is with them, too.”
Launched in 1996, SAT-7 (www.sat7usa.org) — with its international headquarters in Cyprus — broadcasts Christian and educational satellite television programs to more than 30 million people in the Middle East and North Africa. Its mission is to make the gospel available to everyone, and support the church in its life, work and witness for Jesus Christ. SAT-7 broadcasts 24/7 in Arabic, Farsi (Persian) and Turkish, using multiple satellite channels and online services.
CONTACT: Matti Stevenson, 719-360-0586, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Christian News Wire, ‘Year of Terrible Tempest’ Brings Surge of Hope in Middle East, North Africa