NEW PROGRAM SHOWS GOD AT WORK WORLDWIDE
An inspiring new SAT-7 ARABIC program will introduce viewers to vibrant, peace-making churches from around the world. Aiming to encourage struggling believers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Churches and Countries has a special focus on Christians who have brought forgiveness and healing to troubled nations.
The Churches and Countries team have produced episodes from South Africa and Armenia and plan to share further stories from countries including China, Brazil, Algeria, Iran, and India. The investigative documentary will provide a historical introduction for each nation and explain how Christianity developed there. It will then show how the faith is lived out today, both in church life and through the testimonies of individual believers.
“THE CHURCH WILL SHINE”
By providing encouraging examples, the program aims to help believers to overcome persecution and work towards forgiveness. Producer Essam Nagy explained his belief that Christians have a unique responsibility to seek reconciliation, saying:
“The Church is a source of true light, and many places in the world are in darkness. We want to equip the Church to stand in the right place at the right time. I believe that when she does, she will shine. She will bring peace. She will bring light. She will bring people out of despair.”
The three episodes produced in South Africa focus on Christians who called for forgiveness and reconciliation following the atrocities of the apartheid era. Several high-profile church leaders were instrumental in the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), a restorative justice body based partly on Christian principles of forgiveness. The TRC, which was chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is widely viewed as a success.
HOPE TO REPLENISH FAITH
Nagy and fellow Producer Imed Dabbour hope that the examples in Churches and Countries will particularly comfort Christians in Iraq and Syria, where believers have significantly suffered from conflict and persecution in recent years. In these countries and many other places in the MENA, the message that churches elsewhere have survived turbulent times and gone on to thrive is badly needed.
“We need hope to refresh and replenish our faith,” said Nagy. “In Churches and Countries, we are trying to bring hope to the Church in the Middle East by showing churches that have gone through hardships but seen something really positive come as a result.”
Nagy stressed that Christians struggling with the impact of hurt and hatred should first look to God for guidance and strength. “Under our own strength, we cannot forgive even when we need to reconcile,” he said. “We need to see the person who sets the limits of ultimate forgiveness. We can only see that in Jesus Christ.”
A FAITH WITHOUT BORDERS
Churches and Countries will also illustrate more generally that the Gospel is for people from all nations and backgrounds. These stories it tells will counter the ideas that Christianity is only for Westerners or is in decline across the world, which are common misconceptions in the MENA. The program also aims to show viewers from other backgrounds that Christians are often a positive influence for peace.
The team plan to make a total of 24 episodes of Churches and Countries, which is a joint SAT-7 and Lighthouse Productions project. Viewers of the documentary will be encouraged to keep in touch with SAT-7 ARABIC through social media and by visiting the channel’s website.