This summer young Christians from across Türkiye had the opportunity to encounter God in a new way and make new friends as they travelled to Smyrna, Western Türkiye, for the annual Youth Revival festival, sponsored by SAT-7 TÜRK. Hopes were high among the festival’s organisers that it would mark a significant shift for attendees between the first half of the year – with all its difficulties – and the second, a new season laden with possibilities.
February’s devastating earthquakes took the lives of tens of thousands of people in Türkiye and has had painful, far-reaching consequences for thousands of families. Grief, unemployment, economic instability, and anxiety are threatening to steal the potential of a whole generation. Many young Turks are desperate for significant change in their country.
The unique experience of a Christian festival is just what Turkish youth needed after such a difficult start to the year. “For the young people, it is a once-a-year opportunity to meet with old friends and new friends and bond as family forever as the people of Jesus Christ,” Gülsüm I. said. “To be able to share experiences, testimonies, wonder about the answers to their faith-related questions, worship, sing together, play games, and listen to the words of God together is a true blessing for these people.”
A participant and musician who performed at the festival, emphasised the value of young Jesus-followers’ gathering together. “It is a very important process for young people with faith to encourage each other,” he said. “We can be alone sometimes, but we can get encouragement from other brothers and sisters in the faith when we come to these events.”
Another young festival-goer even connected with Christians who come from his own neighbourhood. “I knew we had churches in our area, but I did not know any particular person belonging to them,” he said. “Now I know we have brothers, there are churches there, and we understand what they are doing.”
Vitally, he thinks the friendships will last. “I made friends with whom I have become close, and for sure I will keep in touch.”
This was SAT-7 TÜRK’s second year of involvement with the Youth Revival festival. Last September the channel participated for the first time in the Yüz Yüze (Face to Face) youth festival. Having taken a film crew to Smyrna, SAT-7 will soon be able to broadcast the event, plus interviews with young attendees, to a much wider audience.
SAT-7 TÜRK’s message to the youth at the event is the same one they want to convey to young people all over Türkiye. “We want them to know that there is one Christian television channel in their country that is more than willing to becoming their voice,” said Gülsüm. “A platform that is sincere and true and won’t suppress their true voice in the name of ratings or any other agenda.”
Each attendee was given a bag to help them remember that SAT-7 TÜRK exists for them, complete with a feedback form, a SAT-7 pen, a social media brochure, and an application form for SAT-7 TÜRK, which may help the channel unearth new talent for their ministry.
Please pray for the young people who attended Youth Revival, that new friendships made among them will endure, and their faith will continue to grow throughout the year. Pray also for SAT-7 TÜRK’s partnership with the festival, that it will continue to bring fruit.
Listen to the special message from Rita El-Mounayer (SAT-7 CEO) for International Youth Day on 12 August this year.