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Arab Christians Broadcast Hope, Meet Needs in Devastated Beirut

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JERUSALEM, Israel - When the mushroom cloud blast ripped through Beirut, Arabic Christian broadcaster SAT-7 jumped into action. 

The political and human impact of the recent explosion in Beirut has been vast and the people are suffering a sense of despair. SAT-7 is trying to ease that suffering by providing for their needs and offering hope. 

“We started to broadcast prayers and for people, for their safety for those who lost loved ones and for the responsible people in the government – the government positions, so God may open their eyes so we can save people from this misery,” said George Makeen, Director of SAT-7 Arabic Channels.

Makeen said they broadcast live worship and also brainstormed on how the Church could help.

“By Thursday another broadcast just people praying and worshipping and speaking about where we can find hope, how we can find hope in such pain,” Makeen told CBN News from SAT-7’s international headquarters in Cyprus.

Although their Beirut studio is several miles from the epicenter, it suffered very minor damage. But the home of most of the staff members were damaged. Still, the staff took action to help others.

“They were in the streets downtown, trying to clean and trying to distribute food (and) drinks to people and just pray with them – tell them that we feel with (them). In the coming few days we have a campaign, ‘Hope for Lebanon’.

For two weeks, the campaign will use prayer to mark the exact time of the explosions hoping to ease the memory.

On the ground in Beirut, Juliana Sfeir, SAT-7’S Academy Brand Manager in Beirut, reported how the Lebanese had never experienced anything like this explosion even in 15 years of civil war.

“They have lost hope in the future,” Sfeir said in a Facebook post. “Please pray for protection from another civil war. Please pray for protection from emigration as well. A lot of our young people will want to leave now. Please pray for us here at SAT-7 to be the church that heals.”

SAT-7 broadcasts to some 30 million people in the Middle East and North Africa, making the Gospel available in Arabic, Farsi and Turkish.

“I think the most touching thing is that the kind of prayers and sympathy and support that was coming from outside Lebanon – from Egyptians, Jordanians, Syrians – lots of people who say that we feel with you. You mean a lot to us,” said Makeen.

And while many work to clean up the overwhelming physical damage, Makeen says their focus goes beyond the buildings.

“It’s much more important to build human capacity and build people trust in the future than just building the buildings and this is what I wish and what I pray and can contribute by what we are doing in our programs,” he said.

Makeen says the desire for Lebanon is not only restoration but to become a light to the rest of the Arab world.

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel fulltime for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism; then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91; and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and