“Why God? You gave us a heart for pastoral work and then, in the middle of it all, you called us to walk through another, totally different door, removed from contact with the people we longed to serve!”
We asked this question as our ministry changed from being passionately involved with people in a pastoral role to being in front of a camera in a studio. At first it didn’t make sense, nor did it come easily. Our hearts longed to be amongst the people.
However, God showed us how he can speak to people through us, from behind a camera and through satellite TV programmes. One such amazing story of God’s grace, and the value of ministry through media, is of a young Afghan brother called Daniel.
Addiction leading to devastation
Like many others, Daniel sought satisfaction in drugs. His addiction brought devastation to his life: he lost his job and his wife left him, leaving their two daughters with his parents. Because of his addiction, Daniel was in despair; but there was no way out.
Because of his addiction, Daniel was in despair; but there was no way out.
One day he went to his sister’s home, filthy, hungry and desperate. Thoughts of ending it all were not far from his mind. His sister was fearful when Daniel came to her house because her husband didn’t want anything to do with him. But she relented and offered him a shower and cooked some food for him, telling him he must go as soon as he had eaten.
As Daniel waited, he flicked through the satellite TV channels, when he heard a Farsi-speaker. The man talking was an ex-drug addict! He shared about how Jesus saved him from drugs and set him free. The man talked about repentance and of the good news of the gospel. Daniel cried, and through his sobbing he called out “Jesus help me, give me a new life!”
“Jesus help me, give me a new life!”
Just at that moment in the programme we asked those listening, who wanted to give their hearts to Jesus, to pray with us to accept Jesus. Daniel did just that. When his sister brought the food, she saw her brother crying. She asked him what was wrong, and he told her, “I have just given my heart to Jesus, I am free from drugs.” Knowing her brother’s record of telling lies, she did not believe him.
Growing together in the faith
Daniel soon found a job and worked hard, going back to live with his parents, where his girls were. His parents saw an amazing change in him! He became close to his girls again and they too wanted to know Jesus, so father and daughters grew together in their faith. His parents, too, were amazed as they saw that their son really had been changed. But when the wider family heard of his conversion, they threatened him and finally took his eldest daughter, abusing her in the most awful way. They threatened to kill them.
It was during this time that Daniel called us and we were able to meet with him a few times until he moved to a safe country. We went and met him there and were able to praise God together.
Lives changed by God
Daniel is one of many who can tell of what God is doing in the lives of people living in Farsi-speaking countries. It is a blessing to meet with these brothers and sisters who come to Christ through the satellite TV programs we produce. We try to support them as much as we can. Through telephone calls we offer help and pray with new Christians, connecting them to underground churches and sending Bibles. We invite them to conferences so they can learn more about Jesus and worship with other believers. It is an incredible privilege to baptize them.
It is wonderful to see lives changed by God at just the right time. As messengers of the gospel, please pray for wisdom and fresh anointing from God for us as we produce TV and social media programmes. Pray for protection as we work in neighbouring countries, and visit those on the front line who are facing huge opposition to the gospel and to anything remotely Christian. Thank you for your prayers and support for our ministry.
Richard and Christina* work in the UK producing Christian media for the Arab world
*Names and identities have been changed in this article