“I am Leen Abou Jaoude. I am 11 years old, and this is my voice.” These words begin a story that shows what young people can do for God’s kingdom when they are given a chance to flourish and be heard. The power of Leen’s voice shows why ministering to children, especially through the witness of their peers, is a key priority for SAT-7.
Reflecting on her appearance on the SAT-7 ARABIC program You Are Not Alone, Leen says, “For eight years I silenced my voice, because I was shy of how the world would look at me. I was afraid of being different in a society that would not accept me. Until one day I decided to come here, to this studio, to talk about the thing that scares me most. That day, I found out I am not alone.”
During Leen’s interview on You Are Not Alone, presenter Sirene Semerdjian asks her what she prays for. “To be able to read and write,” the young girl replies. Through tears, she shares how severe dyslexia and the social stigma she faced left her in fear of going to school or asking for help. Sirene then introduces her to a fellow guest – 23-year-old Mohammad, a successful dentistry student who reveals he also has dyslexia.
Leen’s reflection on her appearance on the program shows how much it changed her life, built her trust in God, and empowered her to speak out for others who go unheard in Middle Eastern society, including refugees, people with disabilities, and victims of abuse.
In one of the world’s most youthful regions in the world, where children and youth (aged up to 24) count for nearly half of the population, ministering to young people is a key priority for SAT-7. “From our earliest days, SAT-7 has been committed to sharing God’s love with young people in the Middle East and North Africa,” explains SAT-7 CEO Rita El-Mounayer. “We long to see them entering into fullness of life in Christ and enjoying the fruits of His Kingdom; and we know that the future of our precious but troubled region lies in their hands.”
An especially effective way to minister to young people through media is to enable them to witness to each other. Through a series of 100 spots on the children’s channel SAT-7 KIDS, a space has been opened for children to express themselves and encourage others watching at home. “I thank God for the life he gives us every day,” says young Christina from Syria. “I thank Him because He saved us from war,” contributes Marianne from Iraq.
“One of SAT-7’s key priorities is to recruit young presenters: role models for youth who can be their voice on our channels and social media,” says Ms. El-Mounayer.
Several new programs currently in production by SAT-7’s children’s channel SAT-7 KIDS are fronted by young presenters, including Cupcake, in which young people discuss topics about harmful behaviours and how to address them in a spiritual way. One of the young presenters is Tia, who expresses how she loves letting other people her age hear about Jesus. Another example is By The Way, a program presented and written by young Markus Kashouh, in which he addresses problems and challenges that the new generation face.
SAT-7 KIDS is also innovating to minister to today’s children through a variety of formats. The Quality Time program addresses teenagers, encouraging them to spend time with God and in reading God’s word, while also expressing themselves and discussing challenges they face. A new biblical trauma healing program helps the new generation overcome the impact of life’s difficulties and improve their mental health through their faith. And the channel’s first-ever in-house animation project, Above the Clouds, is currently underway.
Viewers express their gratitude to SAT-7 for what it is doing in their lives, what they can learn, and how it encourages them. Nour, a young Arab viewer, is thankful for SAT-7 and for the way it helps children “lift up their faith and love Jesus more”.
Daniel, an Arab parent, agrees. “Through your activities, you have greatly aided me as a parent in teaching about Jesus and His love for us. Thank you for bringing us delight.”
*Viewer names have been changed
- That SAT-7 will be able to recruit more young presenters who can be role models and a voice for children and youth in the Middle East region
- That SAT-7 KIDS programs will effectively help viewers witness to their friends and family about Jesus Christ
- For God to raise up a new generation of believers who faithfully follow Jesus and live out the kingdom of God amidst the many social, political, and religious challenges in the Middle East and North Africa