SAT-7 has the opportunity to potentially double their viewing audience across the Arab world.
International (MNN) ― For years now, restrictions against Christian programming in the Middle East prevented SAT-7, a Christian satellite television service to the Middle East and North Africa, from broadcasting over two of the three satellites available in the Arab world.
Previously, SAT-7 had access only to the European-operated satellite, HotBird, and could not broadcast on the two Arab-operated systems. However, this recently changed.
"These restrictions have been relaxed somewhat on one of these satellite stations, enabling us to secure two channels, opening up a whole new audience for us, which will more than double our potential viewing audience overnight," said Terry Ascott, SAT-7 CEO.
Ascott said he has been working in the Middle East for 30 years.
"When we first started, the opportunities for sharing one's faith, for encouraging isolated believers, [were] minimal. We would never have dreamed of an opportunity like this," he said.
Not only does this opportunity increase their viewing audience, but it also makes SAT-7 programming more easily accessible. With new access to Atlantic Bird 4 (AB4), viewers can simply point their dishes at the popular Nilesat satellite, located at seven degrees west. In the past, to view channels, individuals would have to obtain a second dish and aim it at the HotBird satellite.
These people will be neighbors and friends of others who already receive SAT-7.
"Really, it's just more of the same amazing opportunity that we have with the European satellite system. In other words, if you can double your audience, you're doubling your impact. You're doubling the lives that will be changed," Ascott said.
This change will hopefully be brought about by SAT-7's Christian programming and the message of Christ they deliver to individuals, many of whom are hearing it for the first time.
Up to 80 million more people in the Arab world could hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. In fact, Ascott said, stories are already coming in from people who discovered SAT-7, sometimes accidentally, for the first time and the impact it has made on them.
Because the opportunity to broadcast on this new satellite appeared so abruptly, and SAT-7 knew they needed to proceed immediately, they stepped out in faith without the additional $750,000 they will need each year.
"This could be seen as sort of suicidal to take this step of faith," said Ascott. However, he added that they faced financial challenges every year. Also, this new cost only increases their budget by about 5 to 10 percent, which he believes is worth it considering how many people could be impacted.
SAT-7 also negotiated with AB4 for a 50 percent discount on this year's expenses, and they are trusting God to provide for next year.
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Ascott also asked for prayer as they touch more people's
lives than ever. Pray for many to discover these new stations quickly. Pray
for individuals watching to be amazed and encouraged by the programming. Pray
also that they will change their attitude about Christ and the church in the Middle
East. Finally, pray for God to provide the financial support SAT-7 will need in
the coming year.