FROM PRESENTER AND VIEWER TO FRIENDS AND SISTERS
Mariam used to present SAT-7 PARS’ children’s program Golpand in Cyprus. During her time as presenter, she developed a strong friendship with Anousheh, a 12-year-old girl living in Iran. Through this friendship, Mariam shares how she was able to help Anousheh through a very challenging time.
“Anousheh was one of the first regular viewers of our live show, Golpand. She started watching the program approximately three years ago, while I was still the presenter. I would wait for Anousheh’s call every week, because before every new episode, she would research the topics on Golpand and call to share her opinion with us. It was so encouraging and exciting to see her engage with the topics and grow in her understanding of God’s Word.
“Last September, I left Cyprus to start my studies in the UK and I had to stop presenting Golpand as a result. I was heartbroken to leave the children after all these years. I couldn’t stop myself crying on my last day of presenting, I had grown attached to these children and built friendships with them.
“A few weeks ago, I came back to Cyprus for my summer holidays, and I joined a couple of episodes of Golpand as a guest. During the live show, Anousheh called to speak with me and tell me how excited she was to see me on the show. Afterwards she messaged me to thank me for coming on the program and to ask me if we could talk.
“I dialled her number and was met with brokenness. Crying down the phone, Anousheh told me about her family. She asked me to pray for her father’s freedom, her voice trembling. Her father was taken to prison about seven months ago, and she hadn’t been able to contact him. I asked for her father’s name and added it to the prayer requests on the monthly SAT-7 prayer calendar.
“I felt like my heart was breaking into 1,000 pieces. I couldn’t begin to understand her shock and pain having her father imprisoned. In my efforts to console her, I shared my own experiences of hardships, hoping she would feel heard and comforted.
“I told Anousheh that my dad left when I was young, and that I cried a lot because it hurt so much. For months I felt alone, and I would blame God asking, ‘Why me, God? What did I do wrong? Why do my friends have their father, and I don’t?’ I used to think that God didn’t love me, and that He didn’t care about me or my brother. But then one day, I sat down and talked to my mum. She challenged me to start reading the Bible again, and to talk to God and pray.
“I took my mums advice, I read the Bible, I talked to God, and I prayed for my family. Eventually, God showed me that everything is in His hands, that He is in control, that He loves us, and that He protects us. I shared with Anousheh that even though we don’t have our fathers close by, we have a Heavenly Father who is always beside us. He has also given us strong, superhero mothers who love us and care for us. I encouraged Anousheh to take the same advice my mum had given me, to read the Bible and to bring her problems to her Heavenly Father.
“After our talk, Anousheh felt a lot better and she gave thanks for my mother, for raising me to be the person I am today. We chatted for a while longer, prayed together and then ended the call.
“When we hung up, I felt the same peace I’d felt when presenting Golpand. It was like God was reminding me why I am here; to share God’s love with those around me.
“As I was reflecting and sharing with my mum, I received a voice message from Anousheh saying that she is so happy and peaceful after our talk. She expressed that I am like her older sister, and that if it wasn’t for me and our talks throughout all these years, she would not be who she is today. She then told me that she and her mum want to become Christians and asked how they can be believers in Iran!
“Overjoyed, I offered to put Anousheh and her mother in touch with the SAT-7 PARS Audience Relations (AR) team for further counselling and guidance. The very next morning Anousheh and her mum spoke with the AR team, and both prayed and gave their hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ.
“The AR team later told me that Anousheh is now reading the Bible we sent her, and that Anousheh said: “Mariam is the reason that I became a believer, she showed me how good God is, I saw God through her. She is helping me to grow in my faith everyday”. When I heard those words, I cried from happiness. It is such a blessing to hear such kind and heart-warming words!
“In the evening, I heard that Anousheh had finally been able to speak with her father for the first time in seven months! Apparently, she also mentioned to her father that she and her mum had become believers and that her father said that he supports her decision. Anousheh also shared that she felt like a better person and that she has an inner peace from that moment on.
“I am still in contact with Anousheh, we speak, pray, and video chat every day. I am so happy that we talk and that I have a younger sister to talk to and share God’s Word with! I am so grateful to SAT-7 PARS for giving me this opportunity in my life. I will always remember every moment I have spent with all the kids and how happy they make me!