Essam Nagy brings hope live to children’s homes
As many children remain isolated, beloved SAT-7 KIDS personality Essam Nagy is a loving presence in their homes – with a new program beamed live from his. Watched by 120,000 people in one episode, Our Story from Home offers hopeful life lessons, Bible study, and prayer with Essam and his wife Magdoline at this crucial time.
“It’s not about trying to change the world,” says Essam, whose 2014 interview with young Iraqi refugee Myriam reached millions worldwide. “I just want to be the answer for a child somewhere – I believe that meeting their needs right now, when they need someone to trust, can make a lasting impact. I see the viewers as my friends, my brothers and sisters, and I just want to be there for them.”
In collaboration with production house Behind the Scenes (BTS), Our Story from Home, airs twice a week through Facebook Live. In each episode, Essam and Magdoline begin with an approachable skit featuring adorable puppet friends Miley and Smiley. They tell a story based on Christian values, accompanied by comic book-style panels on screen. They also share comments and videos from viewers, allowing them to express their feelings and ask questions they may be afraid to ask elsewhere, and end with prayer.
In the first episode, which aired at the height of the pandemic, the presenters focused on hope. “We started by talking about how we can deal with the coronavirus in a hopeful way,” Essam shares. “We explained that parents are often fearful because they want to make sure their children are well and healthy. We try to help children not to be affected by this fearful mindset and instead be a catalyst for hope in their homes.”
“This program helped me be free”
Although the program is designed for ages 8-15, it is also made with the whole family in mind. One surprising impact, Essam explains, has been on individual adult viewers. In response to an episode on trust, a viewer from North Africa says, “As a woman, I want to trust myself more. I don’t want to be enslaved by social standards. I want to be free, and what I saw in this program really helped me to live with this kind of trust and have confidence.”
Other topics covered include faith, forgiveness, pride, fear, self-esteem, and loving those who are different. Between episodes, the presenters set “homework” that encourages parents and children to interact and strengthen their relationships, providing a vital protective factor against domestic violence in these times of heightened stress. “This is how the media should function during this epidemic,” Essam says. “We should be an anchor for families, a bridge that can help reconcile children and parents. Parents want to meet their children’s needs; they want to provide the best they can, but you cannot make your child happy without truly being there for him or her.”
Essam is well-known to SAT-7 KIDS viewers as the presenter of previous shows Why is That? and Stories of Jesus, as well as for several programs filmed with refugee children in Iraq. The couple’s work with children from many walks of life has informed their outlook for the new program. “I have found that all children have the same questions and doubts, no matter their background,” Magdalene says. “They want to know God; they want someone to pray for them; they want someone to give them hope; they want someone to care for them. When you meet children in camps or by the side of the road, you just want to love them. And that has helped me a lot. It’s not just about what the Bible says. It’s that Jesus loves you and God loves you. You are loved: unlimited, unconditional. And then we can go from there.”
Our Story from Home is produced by Behind the Scene Productions.