"I want to encourage my community, my people in Iraq," says Pastor Haitham Akaram, the writer and host of SAT-7's new program "Help from the Highest." The program includes interviews with people on the streets of Baghdad, asking their opinions on topics ranging from "Anger and Revenge" to "Dealing with Traumatized Children" to "Hope for the Future."
Launched in 1996, SAT-7 produces and broadcasts inspirational, educational, and entertaining Christian programming made by and for the people of the Middle East and North Africa. Two years ago, Iranian Christian Broadcasting (ICB) only aired one hour of programs each week on SAT-7. Now ICB broadcasts two hours of different shows every day. A counseling center in Europe accepts phone calls, e-mails and letters from viewers.
Pastor Haitham believes it is very important to be on satellite TV. "You see, during Saddam's time, no one had satellite TV. Now because of the lack of security, all families stay home at night and watch satellite television. Most of the families in my church are watching Christian stations. Therefore to make good contact with people, we must be on satellite TV."
"I believe Iraqis will be blessed when they hear an Iraqi talking about the issues they are all facing. I trust it will bring them hope," says the show's Jordanian producer.
One episode of "Help from the Highest" focuses on forgiveness. In the program, a man interviewed on the busy streets of the Iraqi capital said, "We should forgive, but it depends on the situation."
Another responded, "I could forgive, but with limits. If they kill my brother I won't forgive." Pastor Haitham deals with topics like this head on, looking at what the Bible has to say about forgiveness, but with the sensitivity of someone who is living in the same unstable environment and experiencing the same emotions.
"Help from the Highest" will soon be delivered to SAT-7 and is scheduled to air on the channel in late February.
"We are encouraging Christians in North America to pray for Iraq's minority Christian population during this pivotal time," says Debbie Brink, SAT-7 North America acting executive director. "An estimated 800,000 Christians are being marginalized and many are fleeing the country because of the increased violence. Through this new programming, we hope to encourage and strengthen Iraqi Christians."
SAT-7's North American headquarters, based in Easton, MD, is responsible for raising prayer and financial support for the network from concerned citizens in the United States and Canada. To make a donation, or find out more information, contact Debbie Brink, at 410-770-9804 or DebbieBrink@sat7.org
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