BEFRIENDING PERSIAN BELIEVERS
Every month, SAT-7 PARS receives hundreds of messages from viewers in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. Their messages reflect the challenges they are going through – but also the support and encouragement they are finding through watching encouraging Christian programs and being in contact with SAT-7’s Audience Relations team.
Many people in the Persian-speaking world never get the opportunity to find out about Christianity. Christian resources are limited, and often restricted in these countries, but SAT-7 PARS is broadcasting Persian-language Christian programming into the region 24/7.
“I have come to know about Christianity by watching SAT-7 PARS,” says Masour* from Afghanistan. “I would like to pray with you and to give my life and my heart to Jesus. Thank you so much for the programs and for the testimonies that you broadcast – they are a real encouragement and enable us to come to know Jesus better. Please pray for my wife Nina and I, and our three children.”
An Iranian viewer, Shahrad, described how Jesus appeared to him in a dream: “It was about six months ago that I had the same intriguing dream, twice in quick succession. I dreamt that a hand was reaching out to me, and although I don’t recall the person’s face, I remember the voice which was warm and kind. He said to me ‘come to me my child.”
Shahrad searched hard to find the interpretation of the dreams but found no satisfactory answers, and eventually forgot about it, until something jogged his memory.
“One day, by accident, I watched a SAT-7 PARS program which talked about Jesus saying ‘come to me all you who labour’ and that made me want to know more about Christianity. And then I remembered my dream and I realised the person in the dream was Jesus.”
Many believers in Iran feel isolated and contact SAT-7’s Audience Relations team for prayer and support. The Audience Relations team are Persian-speakers, many of whom are originally from Iran, and can relate to the viewers who are reaching out.
Open Christian worship is something believers in Iran often avoid because of security concerns. This means believers can often feel lonely, as they are unable to share their faith with fellow Christians and join in communal worship. This is reflected in messages such as Dina’s: “God’s blessings upon you beloved. Don’t forget us when you pray, as we are dependent on your prayers.”
Another viewer, Maneli, says: “SAT-7 PARS is our very soul; preaching the word and showing great kindness by not forgetting us who are here in Iran. I am alone but I fill my solitude with you and I am filled with the Spirit of the Lord. Thank you for not abandoning us and being a blessing.”
Life in Iran is hard for many. As well as a sense of spiritual isolation, many of the messages the PARS channel receives reflect other pressures Iranians are experiencing. The country’s declining economy is being squeezed by reinstated sanctions, impacting ordinary people – many of whom are feeling abandoned and forgotten.
Bahram writes: “I truly need your prayers. Please don’t forget me and my children in your prayers, so that the Lord will extend His kindness, mercy and blessings to us too; so that we can have an income and know the peace of the Lord as we live alongside one another…”
In the midst of daily pressures and challenges that erode the resilience of many, SAT-7 PARS viewers are receiving support and encouragement from the Audience Relations team. They act as a listening ear, answer questions, and respond to requests for advice.
This investment is having a powerful impact on viewers like Hengameh: “Thank you for your message, for thinking about us and all our people. Whether it is by watching your network or by getting in touch with you, I am filled with so much peace. Thank you for remembering my son and all of us in your prayers.”
UNITED IN SPIRIT
Another viewer, Minou, reflects on the unity of believers that recognises no boundaries: “I am so grateful that despite the geographical distance between us we are together in spirit. Thank God for Jesus Christ who has united us, for the Holy Spirit who has given us peace in our spirits, for the hope of salvation in our hearts and for you who are always thinking about us, building and blessing us with your messages.”
Arman from Iran wrote: “I am thankful to God for your kindness, for following-up, and for having such a loving a Heavenly Father who somehow connects His family together wherever they happen to be; so that we may enjoy and benefit from one another’s warmth, kindness and faith and be built-up. The peace of Jesus Christ be with you all.”
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*All names have been changed for security purposes.