“My father and mother taught me how to pray. I used to go to church and attend Sunday school, but with my school friends I used to swear, lie and insult people,” 12-year-old Bassant Gad told viewers of SAT-7’s KIDS channel.
Explaining the gulf between what she had been taught about God and the inward indifference she felt, she told how a conversation with a Sunday school teacher led her to cry out to God in the privacy of her room, and say sorry for her hardness of heart. “I felt change in my life and wanted to have quiet time with the Lord and read the Holy Bible.”
But the breakthroughs didn’t stop there. After four years on medication for epilepsy, she felt God clearly speak to her through James 5:15: ‘And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well’. Friends came to join her family in prayer, and she described crying to the Lord saying, “I have faith in your healing.” A week later her doctor examined her and recommended that she come off medication, as it was no longer needed.
Bassant shared her story of hope and healing with viewers of As Sannabel News, a children’s news programme presented by young people. Its name means “ears of wheat”– an affectionate Arabic term for children who, just like the crop, grow rapidly and represent the hopes of their families. The aim is to encourage AS News’s often isolated young audience with advice and inspiration to strengthen their physical and spiritual well-being.
The programme seeks to energise and inspire viewers by highlighting the diverse and creative activities in which Christian children in the Middle East and North Africa are involved, such as children’s conferences, festivals, talent shows, concerts, dramatic performances and community activities.
Recent additions to the show include two information segments. One explores spiritual topics such as “Who is Jesus?” and “How do we pray?” and another features tips for boosting health and well-being. “We are covering general subjects about health, how to study, how to be safe on the Internet, how to carry your bag safely to school, and the bigger topic of children’s rights,” says producer-director Roy Abu Khalil.
Making young voices heard
Not only have the SAT-7 team received lots of grateful feedback from young viewers, but they have also heard what Roy describes as “very touching testimonies from Iraqi and Syrian refugees who moved from their countries to Lebanon and encountered Christ in miraculous ways.” Even when covering experiences of conflict, loss and desperate difficulty, AS News seeks to encourage its youthful audience, and to make sure the voice of the children of the region is widely heard.
Bassant is articulate, and full of enthusiasm and gratitude for what the Lord has done in her life. In the face of prejudice and persecution, she’s keen to use her voice to bring hope to other young people: “The Lord gave me the talent of a good voice, and my parents are encouraging me to develop this. Now that I know the Lord, I know what service means. I want to send a message to the people.”
- Give thanks for Bassant’s healing, and pray that her testimony would encourage many young people in their faith. Thank God for the young presenters of AS News and pray that their voices would be widely heard.
- Pray that the viewers of AS News would grow and flourish like “ears of wheat”. Pray for isolated young people to find spiritual comfort and strength through SAT-7’s children’s programming.
- Ask God that attitudes would change across the region as Christians get involved in positive and creative activities.
- Ask God that more Iraqi and Syrian refugees would encounter Christ in miraculous ways.