Cyprus (MNN) — Christians in Iran and Afghanistan are celebrating more than Christmas this year. This week SAT-7 PARS, a Farsi-language Christian satellite TV channel, is celebrating its first anniversary of 24-hour-a-day programming. For the last 365 days, SAT-7 PARS has broadcast locally-produced programs around-the-clock in Iran and Afghanistan.
Local church leaders have told the SAT-7 PARS team of the significant impact the channel is having on church growth and the ability to disciple and train new believers.
"We've had a tremendous response to the broadcasts, and the comments from our viewers keep us motivated to do more. We've had callers from all over Iran, Afghanistan and Europe as well," said Sara, SAT-7 PARS executive director. "They say they trust us and appreciate the variety and quality of programs we broadcast."
Viewers have said that SAT-7 PARS is their only source of Christian teaching, training and encouragement in Iran and Afghanistan. Others have called or written PARS counselors to learn how they can become followers of Christ.
"It's a wonderful achievement," said the SAT-7 PARS executive director. "A year ago we launched a new channel with only five people. We have huge plans for the future, including a new comprehensive teaching program that will help viewers who need basic discipleship and those looking for more advanced theological training."
SAT-7 PARS began broadcasting five years ago under the name of Iranian Christian Broadcasting, with a two-hour weekly broadcast. Four years later, SAT-7 launched a new 24-hour broadcasting channel. In late 2006, the ministry changed the channel's name to SAT-7 PARS to indicate its focus on Persian/Farsi-speaking people located both in and near Iran. The channel also broadcasts four hours of programming in Turkish each day.
The channel broadcasts many programs produced by local Iranian Christians including talk shows, shows that model how house churches can study the Bible, dramas, documentaries, films, cartoons and children's programs.
During the Christmas holiday season SAT-7 PARS will broadcast a number of special programs, including locally-produced television shows and Farsi versions of well-known productions including The JESUS Film and the holiday cartoon "The Crippled Lamb" by Max Lucado.
Launched in 1996, SAT-7 is a Christian television service created by and for the people of the Middle East and North Africa, with U.S. headquarters in Easton, Maryland. Each week between 9 and 10 million people tune in (Intermedia research, 2004 – 2006). Broadcast in three languages–Arabic, Farsi and Turkish, SAT-7 can be viewed via satellite in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, much of Central Asia and worldwide at www.SAT7.org.