ENCOURAGING OUR YOUNGEST VIEWERS
THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS
A vital part of SAT-7’s work in the Middle East and North Africa is to support the growing church by directly engaging with viewers. This includes the youngest audience watching SAT’s dedicated children’s channel, SAT-7 KIDS.
Deputy CEO of SAT-7 and presenter of Bedtime Stories, Rita Elmounayer, has a passion to reach out to the children of the Middle East. She believes that some children, shaped by watching SAT-7 Christian television and engaging with our teams, will grow up to be leaders, bringing change to their countries because of their strong values and relationship with God.
As one adult Iraqi viewer shared, SAT-7 KIDS programmes can have a lasting effect on a child’s life. “We grew up in war. There is no other reality for people under 35. It has become the norm for how people live.” Martin and his siblings used to escape the darkness surrounding them in Iraq by watching SAT-7 KIDS. Early episodes of the show As-Sanabel seemed to transport them to a different place.
“We fell in love with the characters,” Martin says. “Rita [the presenter] once replied to my letter. I cannot express the joy I felt.” After all these years, he still holds onto the card that Rita mailed him. “I don’t think SAT-7 could have known they would impact so many kids in rural northern Iraq. A 10-minute skit on As-Sanabel will really bless someone’s life 10 or 15 years down the line. I’ve lived it.”
Today, social media plays an important role in communicating with young people. Children and their parents contact SAT-7 KIDS by email, website, SMS, Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter to express their gratitude and enjoyment of the programmes. It is the role of the viewer support team to listen and respond to children who contact SAT-7. There are many messages from viewers from non-Christian backgrounds in the Middle East who have begun to follow Jesus or want to know more about Him.
“I DON’T JUST HAVE FUN”
The team seek to communicate God’s love and acceptance, and reinforce the main gospel message of Jesus’ death and resurrection for our salvation and the need of a personal relationship with Him. Team members post daily Bible verses and encouraging news on the SAT-7 KIDS Facebook pages. They also respond individually to personal messages and requests. Some 700,000 fans follow the SAT-7 Facebook pages. And thousands watch programmes and clips that are uploaded on the SAT-7 KIDS YouTube Channel. In 2016 there were over 3.5 million views of SAT-7 KIDS programmes on YouTube and nearly 11,000 videos shared by viewers with their families and friends.
One viewer commented on Facebook, “May Our God bless you abundantly. My kids and I don’t just have fun while watching you, they also learn and know more about Jesus Christ and the Bible. A thank you won’t be enough. God bless you!”
- Give thanks that SAT-7 KIDS reaches thousands of viewers everyday with love and encouragement. Pray for the children and their families, that they would come to understand God as love.
- Pray for the viewer support team, that they would find the right words to say to younger viewers. Pray for Rita as she presents and speaks into the lives of children, just before they go to sleep.
- Give thanks for social media and the many ways SAT-7 is able to share its content and programmes.
- Ask God to raise up a future generation of values-led leaders from viewers of SAT-7 KIDS. Give thanks for the many messages from viewers from non-Christian backgrounds who want to know more about Jesus.
- Pray for peace for the northern Iraqi viewers who rely on SAT-7 KIDS programmes to ‘escape the darkness’.