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Middle East

Live from Beirut

An Arab-world Christian satellite television station struggles to operate from Lebanon.

Ten billion dollars in estimated losses, one third of the country's infrastructure reported completely destroyed, hundreds of casualties, 750,000 displaced Lebanese, hundreds of families without refuge sleeping in open air areas. This is but a brief description of the situation in Lebanon after 14 days of fierce bombing, which has destroyed what reconstructed after the end of civil war 15 years ago. Unfortunately, we are now seeing our dream of a beautiful Lebanon fading away, with little chance that it will ever come true.

Naturally this situation has affected our operation in the SAT-7 Lebanon Bureau. SAT-7 is the ten-year-old Christian satellite television station broadcasting throughout the Middle East. Due to the fighting, our staff morale is very low. In spite of all of this, most of our staff are still coming regularly to the office, even if they carry worried thoughts and distracted minds.

Because of the danger, children, and many other guests can no longer come to our studio to record programs. We are unable to deliver tapes for broadcast regularly. In the past it only took about two days for SAT-7 to ship programs from Beirut to the SAT-7 broadcast center in Cyprus. That is no longer possible because the airport has been bombed, the port is closed, and many roads are destroyed. It is possible to send some programs directly from Lebanon to Cyprus via a rented satellite uplink, but the direct transmission service is often sold out and is simply too expensive to allow SAT-7 to send all of its Lebanese-made programs to Cyprus in that manner.

Still, our team decided to continue to create programs. We have produced special programs about the condition in the country by covering the humanitarian efforts. Our cameramen and reporters, in spite of the danger, were on the streets, going from one place to another to tape interviews and to cover the relief efforts of other Christian organizations.

One interview that was scheduled in downtown Beirut with representatives from the Middle East Council of Churches had to be cancelled after several rockets were fired at east side of Beirut. It was the first time the area had been targeted. The Israelis were attempting to destroy parked trucks. This only added to the concerns of our team, who were operating from a SAT-7 broadcast van, parked outside our building.

Earlier that morning, jet fighters were targeting trucks and vans of different sizes all over the country. So our crew in the OB Van sat in fear all day long, especially as jet fighters were circulating the Beirut sky constantly. Fortunately, thanks to God, we were able to finish the special and send it to our Cyprus office to be broadcast the following day. It was a success.

Our success encouraged us to produce more special programs in addition to scheduling a weekly one hour show to be aired live from the Beirut office. The first live broadcast aired yesterday (16:00 GMT, 11:00 EST).

SAT-7 staff in Beirut are asking Christians around the world to pray for the crisis in Lebanon. We already know that many people are praying and we would like to ask you to continue your prayers, and to pray more fervently. As the Bible says, fervent prayer can accomplish much. And we believe that your prayers and ours are already having an effect on Lebanon. We believe the safety that we have experienced to this point, and the fact that none of us are harmed, and that the work is still going on, is because of all these prayers going up to our Lord.

Our prayer requests are as follows:

1 — Staff morale and safety

2 — Office safety

3 — Uninterrupted production

4 — Lebanese people suffering from this situation

5 — The vague future of Lebanon

Related Elsewhere:

SAT-7 programs can be viewed anywhere in the Arab world or Europe via satellite. Programs are also available from the SAT-7 website.

More articles on the fighting in Lebanon include:

Speaking Out
'Who Is My Neighbor' in the Lebanon-Israel Conflict | Further reflections from the academic dean of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Lebanon.
Speaking Out
The Silent Human Conscience | What should I tell my daughter when bombs fall and the great nations say nothing? (July 24, 2006)
We Risk Not Just Suffering, But Annihilation | An open letter to Dr. Martin Accad. (July 21, 2006)
Speaking Out
Prince of Peace's Hometown Bombarded | Missiles' booms sound the alarm to our forsaken responsibility of peace making. (July 21, 2006)
Another Point of View: Evangelical Blindness on Lebanon | The academic dean of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary is angry at evangelical Christians, Israel, Hezbollah, the U.S., and the international community. (July 20, 2006)
Weblog: Secrets of the Lebanon-Israel War | Beyond the headlines in the Lebanon-Israel War (July 20, 2006)
When the Bombs Fell on Beirut | This week's fighting between Israel and Lebanon seems too familiar. (July 17, 2006)
Speaking Out
The Middle East's Death Wish—and Ours | We say "everyone wants peace," but we also want to see our enemies destroyed. (July 14, 2006)

See our past coverage of the Israel-Palestine fight, Iran, and Lebanon.

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