SAT-7’S FIRST PROGRAM FOR ISOLATED TAJIK CHRISTIAN WOMEN

SAT-7’s firstever program aimed at Tajik women is desperately needed among Tajikistan’s isolated Christian population, many of whom are unable to gather legally and face persecution if they confess their faith. But despite the dangers, people are coming to faith in Tajikistan, and SAT-7 programs are playing a key role.

Powerful talk show In the World of Women’s Thoughts, produced by SAT-7 Partner Media Mission the Messengers, is due to be broadcast later this year. It is part of a wider strategy to ramp up support for Tajik Christians in their life of faith. “Our viewers from Tajikistan are in dire need of Christian teaching and lifestyle examples,” says producer Mikael Tunér.

SAT-7 started making programs in the Tajik language in 2017: first the music and testimony program Our Salvation is in Him, followed by teaching program Foundations of the Christian Faith, and then discipleship show Christian Family. They have been broadcast on our Persian-language channel, SAT-7 PARS, which also makes programs in Farsi and Dari for viewers in Iran and Afghanistan.

Mikael believes that “sharing the Gospel via satellite TV is the most effective method of reaching millions in Persian countries with the Good News”, a view informed by his on-the-ground experience. “What especially inspires me to continue producing more Tajik shows are my trips to Tajikistan, where I meet both future presenters and viewers who have been impacted by the programming,” Mikael said.

In the World of Women’s Thoughts is the first SAT-7 PARS program specifically for Tajik women. It is presented by two Tajik sisters who found religious freedom in places far from their homeland: Farangis now lives in Sweden, while Hamroz resides in the USA. Ahead of the release of the program, Farangis shared with us the difficulties faced by Christians in Tajikistan, but also how God is using SAT-7 to build His Church there.

PERSECUTION

Isolation and persecution are the norm for Tajik Christians, who comprise less than 1 per cent of the population. There are churches in the country’s two biggest cities, but none in the districts and villages because of strict rules around registration. “Without registration, no Christians can gather. So people in rural areas cannot gather,” Farangis explained.

To highlight the dangers of informal gatherings, Farangis told a story: “Several churches were gathering without registration. The police grabbed them, and all of them were in very big trouble because of that. People then were scared to gather without registration.”

It is not just the authorities who inflict persecution; there can be hostility at the family level too. “Most Tajik families are under pressure from other relatives,” said Farangis. “I have experienced it myself. My parents were rejected because their children became Christians.”

Some new Christians in Tajikistan face physical abuse too. “My friend was beaten,” Farangis recalled. “Her father beat her because she became a Christian.”

GOD IS ON THE MOVE

Despite the dangers facing seekers and new Christians in her home country, Farangis has hope, because people are coming to faith in Jesus. She recently met some Tajiks from rural areas who gave their lives to Christ after watching programs on SAT-7.

One man, who was raised in a non-Christian family in a small village, told Farangis that he encountered Jesus for the first time through SAT-7 PARS. He started watching the Farsi-language programs; then as SAT-7 started releasing more in the Tajik language, he watched all these too, delighted to be learning about God in his mother tongue! Farangis also met two sisters in a rural district, both of whom became followers of Jesus and grew in their faith as a result of watching SAT-7’s Tajik programs.

FAITH AND FAMILY

In the World of Women’s Thoughts will address vital topics to help Tajik women grow as believers and live to the glory of God. The program-makers considered the specific challenges facing these viewers when preparing the show, including loneliness, hopelessness, and broken family relationships. The program will discuss women’s thoughts and how God’s Word can help them to overcome destructive ways of thinking. During the 20 half-hour-long episodes, the hosts will also share their testimonies of how God has led them.

Because Tajik is closely related to Dari, which is the variety of Persian spoken in Afghanistan, In the World of Women’s Thoughts will also benefit Afghan women, who are also in great need of Christian discipleship content.

Panayiotis Keenan, SAT-7 PARS Executive Director, said:

“As a Persian-language channel, we serve a diverse audience across Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. Each country has its distinct culture, history, people, and variety of Persian, and it is crucial to us as a ministry to ensure that our viewers can hear about God’s love in their own heart languages.

“We are delighted to have a growing library of Dari programming for our Afghan viewers, in addition to our firmly established programs for Iranian viewers in Farsi. This year, we are thrilled to add the first Tajik program for women to our repertoire. I pray that Tajik women will be empowered to claim their identity in Christ and confidently stand in faith as they face the challenges of life.”

PLEASE PRAY:

> that Tajik Christians will be allowed to gather in peace
> that In the World of Women’s Thoughts will be a great support and encouragement to Christian women in the Persian world
> that SAT-7 PARS will be able to find new Christian presenters from Tajikistan and Afghanistan who can appear on TV without any security concerns
> that more worship songs written in Tajik will become available

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