From The Garden Bench - Good News
This year there have been so many challenging stories from around the world; Beirut and the port blast, Belarus and the protests, extreme weather conditions in Australia and California not to mention all the complications of Covid-19 especially the unemployment rates across the world.
So, here are some Good News stories – enjoy!
SAT-7 is a Christian based TV organisation which produces programmes in many languages for countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The data is for 2019:
1. More than 25 million viewers watched TV programmes on 4 channels in 3 languages in 25 countries.
2. Sat-7 Arabic YouTube channel had 100,000 subscribers and 40 million video views.
3. 320 bibles were downloaded by Persian speakers.
4. There was a 144% increase in Facebook video views.
5. There was a 48% growth in phone calls to Sat-7 kids.
An Egyptian doctor called the sat-7 Kids programme, ’Family of Jesus’, asking for prayers as he was attending to Covid-19 patients in a quarantine hospital. The ‘Family of Jesus’ team prayed with him live on air. Days later, the doctor shared what followed:
‘After you prayed for us on Saturday, there was a sudden divine response to your prayers in the hospital. On Monday, 14 cases were healed of the virus and left hospital. On Tuesday, 9 cases were healed. On Wednesday, 12 cases were healed. The Lord switched the mood in the hospital from one of depression and sorrow to one of joy and happiness. All this happened three days after your prayers. In my prayer request, I asked for God’s protection over the medical crew as we were required to work in the hospital for 15 days and could not go home. On the last day of your shift, all the medical crew – 85 people including myself – were tested and not one of us was infected with the virus.’
Bahar, a divorced woman in Turley, reached out to Sat-7 Turk at a point when her depression and isolation had become unbearable.
‘I was divorced 3 years ago, I can’t see my 2 children because of financial reasons and I’ve been depressed for 2 years. A month ago, I was alone on my birthday. I felt so lonely that I wanted to end my life but I thought to myself that I should watch ‘Homemade’ one last time. I had been watching Sat-7 Turk for a while and I thought that the presenter, Semsa, was very sincere and natural. That day, she was talking about God’s love and patience. She talked about handing ourselves over to him and giving Him our pain. I began wondering what the Bible had to say about suicide and reached out to the tram to ask for a Bible. Now I have hope. I am reading the Bible every day and I believe that one day I will see my children again. Jesus Christ is with me; He is taking care of me. I thank the sat-7 team for you have been tools for God to do this in my life.’
‘You are not alone’ was a special live series aired from Sat-7’s Beirut studio during months of strict quarantine in Lebanon. The show used Skype calls and video clips to tell stories of both care-givers and those most in need. Like so many Sat-7 programmes, it brought viewers together as a family to care, pray and take practical action, in some cases.
Sonia is a Lebanese taxi driver and mother of 2 sons, one son has cancer and the other as epilepsy, also her husband is disabled by a heart condition and leg injury. Sonia contacted the programme when her struggle became too much; she explained that she was selling all the furniture to pay for her son’s medical treatment and, that as the only income earner, she was having to risk her health by driving the taxi. As Sonia does not have access to the Internet, she used her neighbour’s computer and Skype to share her story on the programme.
Father Magdy Alawy is the founder of the Lebanese charity, Heavenly Joy. He watched the interview Sonia gave and sent emergency supplies to Sonia and her family.
Photo by Aziz Acharki via Unsplash
Open Doors is a Christian based organisation which supports Christians across the world. Here are some of the recent Good News stories from this organisation.
Rose lives in the middle of Nigeria, one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian. In April her husband was shot dead by Fulani militants. Rose lost everything and then Covid-19 arrived which meant that Rose could not work under lockdown to provide for her 3 daughters. The Government announced food aid for the poor but Christians were left out. Open Doors delivered a relief package to Rose.
‘Today my faith has been strengthened as this will enable me to care for my family.’
Open Doors identified 9,000 Christian families in Nigeria for support.
In Nepal, lockdown meant that many day labourers lost their jobs. Christians are often ostracised when they start to follow Jesus and many found themselves socially isolated and denied access to public support.
Hiren is a local Open Doors partner and with his colleagues they distributed vital food aid to 900 families. Vishal, a Christian who received food support commented;
‘We hadn’t got support from anywhere. My family was short of food and I was struggling to feed my children. This team came with love and compassion and filled our kitchen with food. They encouraged us and prayed for us. Thank you.’
Just a few of the many Good News stories from across the world. There have been many such Good News stories in our own country as well and perhaps you have been involved in one yourself. In difficult times, it is good for us to share our stories and especially those where the Good News has come from God.
If you have a Good News story, why not share it and allow God to use you as His blessing.
Photo by Cristian Escobar via Unsplash
The following hymns may be useful to you: Tell out my soul (Mission Praise 631)
Tell me the old, old story (Mission Praise 628)
You may find the following prayers helpful:
Lord, I may not have the great oratory of the preacher or the sensitive touches of a poet. I may not have the vision of an artist or the ear of a great musician. However, I will strive to be all that I ought to be in your sight and stretch my talents and skills to the uttermost so that your world is filled with beauty and my life becomes an offering of joy.
Lord, you have called us to love and serve you. Give us the wisdom to know what we should do and say, the courage to keep on loving and the faith that will see us through. For the sake of Jesus who died that we might truly live.
Photo by Mak via Unsplash
God bless you