UNDYING HOPE FOR A FLOURISHING FUTURE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Only a few weeks after the protests and uprisings in Lebanon began, Olga Messios, SAT-7 Human Resources Director, visited the SAT-7 Lebanon office in Beirut. Upon her return she paints a picture of the dire situation that is currently troubling the country.
Although I had been following the news, I hadn’t realised the real impact that the current economic situation is having in Lebanon until this visit. It isn’t the first time I have visited Lebanon during difficult times. I was there during the war in 2006, and this current economic situation has been described by many as worse than during the war. The people feel like they are in limbo. Economic security measures have been put in place out of fear that people will try to withdraw their money from the country.
This has caused a ripple effect. People are afraid of spending money on non-essentials items. Cafes and restaurants are empty, and businesses are closing left and right. Other businesses have cut employees’ hours to half, so employees are receiving half a salary every month. Inflation has skyrocketed and basic needs, such as supermarket goods, have tripled in price. A budget that used to fill an entire trolly full of groceries, now only fills two bags. This isn’t just challenging, but also terrifying, for low income families.
Prayers and support for SAT-7 staff
It’s times like these that we really need to be sharing through our programs and helping people to know that there is something greater than just what we are facing today.
It is wonderful to see our staff’s commitment and passion as they are continuing to provide the message of hope and God’s love whilst keeping our production going and on schedule. We really want our staff to know that we are supporting them through prayer for them, for their country, and their extended family.
Staff do feel fear for their extended families and the situation that is going on around them. As a SAT-7 family we are intentional on keeping our colleagues in Lebanon and their families and the country in our prayers, and not forgetting what they are dealing with daily.
The strength of the Church
The churches in the Middle East and North Africa are unwavering and solid. And in times like these they are even more. They are a rock that doesn’t shake no matter what. Regardless of what is happening around, the commitment and the dedication to our Lord doesn’t waver or change. And, the desire to want to be there for people is always such a big witness in the Middle East and North Africa.
What I have noticed working in various contexts over the years, is that the churches don’t just look after their own, they are out there serving everyone in need. It is a very special thing that Christians can always seek refuge at a church, but also anyone else in need of spiritual or physical help. The church is open for all and it always has been and always will be, no matter what kind of persecution comes. The Church is what stands when times are tough and everything else is shaking and wavering. It is solid, and it always has been, and I believe it always will be.
Church is not just a building but it’s the whole body of Christ, and SAT-7 as part of the global body of Christ stands firm in supporting countries where the Church has endured enormous tragedies. In countries such as Iraq and Syria the Church has suffered greatly, churches have been destroyed and the Christian population has decreased severely. By providing church services and holistic Christian programming, via our satellite channels and online platforms to these parts of the region, we aim to plant seeds that will flourish over time.
For me this whole situation brings to mind an image of what is left behind after a massive bushfire. These fires devour entire forests and mountains leaving nothing behind. All that remains are ashes and burnt wood. Then the first rain comes and as you walk through the burnt remains, you can see the fresh green begin to sprout and little flowers starting to grow. I had an experience like this, walking through a burnt forest, and it was indeed very sad. But then I noticed a beautiful, bright red flower growing through the burnt wood. It reminds me that with time this forest will be green again with new flowers springing and new trees growing. Those trees will be even stronger than the ones before, because the ashes from the bushfire fertilise the soil and it becomes richer so what grows afterwards becomes even stronger.
I believe the Church – the body of Christ – in the Middle East and North Africa will continue to sprout and grow stronger. And I believe that the time will come when in Iraq and Syria things will start to blossom again. I have undying hope that they will.
SAT-7 Human Resources Director, Olga has over 25 years of experience in human resources. She holds an MSc in Human Resources and Organisational Behaviour, is a certified trainer, coach and global career development facilitator. Her previous work experience spans both the corporate and international humanitarian environment. Through these Olga has attained extensive organisational and functional knowledge including diverse multicultural environments. She has led and advised offices in the Middle East, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Balkans and Caucuses, and undertook assignments in southern and northern Africa and Central America. Olga joined SAT-7 in her role as HR Director in 2018.