Iran (SAT7) — In a documentary titled Seven Labors of Nostalgia, the SAT-7 PARS filming crew set out to capture three stages of immigration by Iranian and Afghan refugees fleeing to Greece and Turkey.
They wanted to find out:
- Why they had left their homes
- What their journeys were like
- How they were settling in a new host country
Tears roll down their cheeks as Iranians and Afghans talk about fleeing for their lives. One man can barely speak: “It’s so hard. I didn’t want to leave.” They took only what they could carry, which for many included small children.
Refugees leave their homes for a variety of reasons: direct and imminent threat to their safety, fear of religious reprisal, limited job opportunities, and lack of political freedom or civil liberties. Several women described religious persecution. They worshipped quietly and secretly in private homes. If anyone discovered they were Christians, they would be fired from their jobs or kicked out of university. Under these circumstances, it is hard to imagine giving their children a bright future.
In a sea of people at bus stops and train stations, families get by sitting on the ground to eat. Waiting at the border to enter Europe, beside a barbed wire fence, they patiently perspire in the sun with no shade and no access to restrooms. Crossing into Europe means the hope for a new future, as well as the new challenges of a language barrier, finding work and securing housing. For some, this means camping in tents in the traffic medians of cities. The pressure is crushing for fathers whose wives and children are counting on them to lead and provide in a strange new land.
Through a series of interviews, local citizens of the host countries share their hopes for the refugees.
Several express love and acceptance, and a desire for God to bless and provide for the refugees. One expresses concern that they can safely and legally immigrate to a desired host country. Another segment shows the prayers of Christian refugees themselves, giving viewers an intimate view into their relationships with God.
One refugee declares, “We pray to our God to allow us to recognize His voice and to hear Him, as it is His will.” And another says, “My God, open my eyes so I can see through the Bible; and the things that I don’t see, teach them to me.” Their humble prayers show a thirst for answers along an unknown journey.
Toward the end of the documentary, the narrator invites the audience to consider their own roles in immigration. He asks, “Are we the light in this world? Can we spread God’s glory into the world? Or are we the kind of light that is hiding? Let’s be God’s hands as He wipes the tears off someone’s cheeks.”
Although it’s not the traditional approach to the Gospel, SAT-7 gives refugees a voice. In doing that, they minister to them with a message of hope for a better future.