EASTON, Md. -- An "unstoppable" media ministry in the Middle East is proving to be a lifeline for isolated Christians in Afghanistan, as the resurgent Taliban go door-to-door, executing believers who refuse to renounce their faith.
Taliban militants are even pulling people off public transport and killing them on the spot if they're Christians or considered ethnically "unpure," according to shocking reports from Middle East media ministry SAT-7 (www.sat7usa.org).
"We're hearing from reliable sources that the Taliban demand people's phones, and if they find a downloaded Bible on your device, they will kill you immediately," said SAT-7 North America President Dr. Rex Rogers. "It's incredibly dangerous right now for Afghans to have anything Christian on their phones. The Taliban have spies and informants everywhere."
International troop withdrawals from Afghanistan have left a vacuum, allowing the Taliban to seize control of vast areas -- with little or no resistance -- much more rapidly than political and military leaders anticipated.
'Last Resort' As Fear Mounts
"Because it's so dangerous to seek the company of other Christians, many Afghan believers are totally alone, with not even one other Christian with whom to talk," Rogers said. "Our local director told me: 'Most dare not attend a house church. They're alone, fearful, and looking to us. We're their last resort'."
SAT-7 PARS live satellite television broadcasts in Farsi -- understood by most Afghans -- and the local Dari language can reach homes across the entire country uncensored, delivering the only source of hope for thousands of isolated Afghan Christians living in terror.
The channel's social media and live-chat platforms have experienced a huge surge in the number of Afghans posting messages and calling the ministry's viewer counseling line, desperate for encouragement and hope. The channel expects a 50% increase in contacts this year.
God's Love 'Made Visible'
Many women who've become Christians through the media ministry -- including those who've battled depression and even attempted suicide -- are offering insight, information, and encouragement on-air to other women who are terrified of the Taliban and its oppressive ideology. "They're saying, 'We've trusted in God's providence and protection -- and you can, too, because God loves you and cares about you,'" Rogers said. "They remind them that Jesus said: 'But take heart! I have overcome the world'" (John 16:33, NIV).
"There are no borders to our visible message of God's love and hope," Rogers said. "Many are leaving Afghanistan right now, but we are there on-air -- and we will remain there."
Launched 25 years ago, SAT-7's shows now reach more than 25 million viewers across the Middle East and North Africa in three languages -- Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish -- encouraging people in places like Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria with programs presented by Middle East Christians addressing "real-life" issues.
Launched in 1996, SAT-7 (www.sat7usa.org) -- with its international headquarters in Cyprus -- broadcasts Christian and educational satellite television programs to more than 25 million people in the Middle East and North Africa. Its mission is to make the gospel available to everyone, and support the church in its life, work and witness for Jesus Christ. SAT-7 broadcasts 24/7 in Arabic, Farsi (Persian) and Turkish, using multiple satellite channels and online services.