Travel ban blocked in appellate court; now what?

By February 13, 2017

MENA (MNN) — The appellate court struck down President Trump’s travel ban from seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The case may go to the Supreme Court, but as of yet, no appeal has been made by the White House.

(Photo courtesy of openDemocracy via Flickr)

(Photo courtesy of openDemocracy via Flickr)

SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, works in 25 countries — including six of the seven countries on Trump’s travel ban. So their audience is directly impacted by the ban and it’s judicial outcomes.

Rex Rogers with SAT-7 says,  “We try not to be political, try not to make political comments, because that can hurt our ministry in the Middle East with the people, our viewers, who we’re actually trying to influence and help. That said, obviously we and they are influenced by what governments do, both our own and other Western powers in the Middle East.

For the ministry, they’re focusing on what they can influence, and that’s the message of the Gospel

“From a Christian point of view, every human being is made in the image of God and is eternally valuable and worthy and should be loved. Christ died on the cross for them. So you look at it that way, whether an individual in any Middle Eastern country is a resident or an immigrant or displaced — frankly even if they’re a radical of some kind — they’re still a human being who needs Christ. Obviously we have to have safety and security, but how do we reach them? How do we minister to them? How do we speak hope into that culture and into their lives?”

(Photo courtesy of SAT-7, credit Russell Watkins with the Department for International Development)

(Photo courtesy of SAT-7, credit Russell Watkins with the Department for International Development)

To advance ministry initiatives, SAT-7 is launching a new channel called SAT-7 ACADEMY this summer. It’ll have educational programs for the millions of displaced kids in the Middle East and North Africa who are getting little to no education.

“We’re just announcing it now and have been preparing for about two years. It is another channel, it is [in] Arabic language, it is aimed at that lost generation…of children, whether they’re in camps or wherever they are, who have been out of school maybe four, five, six years already, don’t have any prospects of being in school; we’re talking about 13 million kids. And upwards of 20-plus million who are under threat of poor education.”

Obviously education is a major need among refugee and displaced communities in the Middle East and North Africa, but it’s not the only major need. So why focus on education?

“We as believers who are ‘people of the Book’, I like to say. If you look at the history of Christian missions back hundreds of years, Christian missionaries have always started schools. Why? Because we care about literacy. Why? Because we want people to be able to read the Book — the Bible — for themselves! And, of course, we want them to be able to think for themselves and to live out their lives in a more productive way that literacy and education provides. So this is all about basic education for these children that are under incredible pressure, and then providing help for the families,” says Rogers.

The issue of education for refugee kids is also a timely one. “We’ve got to act now or we’ve lost a generation. And that’s scary, by the way, because if you are illiterate, if you’re ignorant, it doesn’t mean you’re not smart. You just never had an education. But you are much more susceptible to radicalization and extremist views.”

(Photo courtesy of Christian Aid Mission)

(Photo courtesy of Christian Aid Mission)

SAT-7 Academy won’t be overtly Christian in its educational programming, but it will advertise for SAT-7’s other Christian channels such as SAT-7 KIDS, SAT-7 ARABIC, and others. “It’s about education, it’s about providing the best form of help we can and to be seen in the Middle East as believers caring about largely Muslim children, but others as well, and caring about their future, ministering to them. It opens up doors.”

Television ministry, as Rogers points out, is not inexpensive, but it is very effective. Roughly 98 percent of people in the Middle East have access to satellite television. And you don’t have to be literate to watch.

Here’s how you can be praying for SAT-7 ACADEMY. “Pray for funds, pray for understanding of our NGO friends and others there in the Middle East, that we’re coming alongside as a complement, as an assist, not a replacement… And pray for the effectiveness of the tool — will it actually help these children, will it cause these families to seek out [and ask], ‘Who are these people? What motivates them to love me like this?’, and then pursue that to our other channels where we share overtly about who Christ is.”

If you’d like to give to SAT-7 ACADEMY, click here!

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