Escalating restrictions on women’s freedoms, a return to repressive rule, broken promises for girls’ education, a collapsed economy, and one of the worst humanitarian crises of today’s world. All these have stripped people in Afghanistan of their hopes for the future. SAT-7 PARS is ramping up its efforts and making new connections to respond to these increasingly desperate needs.
“Truly the people of Afghanistan are being held in a cage; men, women, and children, all of whom have been deprived of freedom to think and live freely in different ways,” said Afghan Pastor Shoaib Ebadi, on a recent episode of programme Secret of Life, aired on SAT-7 PARS and produced by partner Pamir Ministries.
The people of Afghanistan are being held in a cage; men, women, and children, all of whom have been deprived of freedom to think and live freely in different ways”
The situation for women in Afghanistan is deteriorating rapidly. In May, new regulations ordered them to cover their faces. Women were advised to stay at home if they had no important work outside. Promises to reopen secondary schools for girls as of March were broken. These and other restrictions are increasingly erasing girls and women from public life and making them virtual prisoners in the home.
Christians and other religious minorities also remain in danger. According to Elham*, a SAT-7 PARS viewer in Afghanistan who contacted the channel in April, “The Taliban started doing house-to-house searches, and they were even confiscating people’s smartphones.”
“The people are not allowed to be free and to take flight, to think freely or to decide for themselves what they wish to believe,” Pastor Ebadi says in Dari on Secret of Life. But he also spoke hope into viewers’ lives. “Jesus Christ is the only one who can help us be freed from the cage in which we are held. Whatever the chains, whether sin, power, desire, or temptation, Jesus can rescue us.”
RESPONDING TO CRISIS THROUGH MEDIA
“While we are alive, we must encourage and help one another,” Pastor Ebadi says.
SAT-7 PARS is responding to the growing need for emotional and spiritual support in Afghanistan through regular live broadcasts of Secret of Life and the pre-recorded programme Window of Light, also produced by Pamir Ministries.The channel has also produced two seasons of the Dari scripture teaching programme Following Christ, which will be broadcast later this year.
The channel’s Viewer Support team and other pre-recorded and live programmes in Farsi, which Afghans also understand, are additional resources and sources of hope and encouragement for viewers. Farah, a woman in Afghanistan, recently said, “I came to know your channel via satellite television, and I was gradually drawn by your programmes and the conversations they contained about prayer and love. I am keen to know more about Christianity.”
The Viewer Support team followed up with her through messages and calls, and Farah contacted the channel, saying, “Thank you for the time you set aside for me. I have decided to become a Christian and give my heart to Jesus. Please keep me in your prayers.”
Encouragingly, God has also provided new opportunities and contacts that will further develop the channel’s response to the needs of Afghans. Promising new connections with Dari-speakers in the United States have opened another door.
God, I Want to Know You will be presented by Bilquis Zhobin, an Afghan Christian living in the US. She will explore who Jesus is, what He has done for humanity and introduce viewers to what salvation in Christ means.
SAT-7’s partnership with Pamir Ministries is also growing through new opportunities to share specially made productions on SAT-7 PARS social media pages.
However, finding Dari-speaking presenters, creating Dari resources, and making strategic connections that will support SAT-7 PARS’ goals of meeting the needs of Afghan viewers remains a significant challenge. Please pray that God will continue to provide the connections and resources SAT-7 PARS requires to respond better to Afghan viewers’ needs.