Middle East (MNN) — Today is World Refugee Day, a day for remembering and standing with more than 70 million people who have been forced from their homes by violence, natural disasters, or economic crisis.
The UNHCR released their yearly Global Trend report and report that 70.8 million people were forcibly displaced by the end of 2018. That’s 2.3 million more people than at the end of 2017.
There are three categories of people who have been displaced: refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people.
Myriam’s Sequel of Hope
SAT-7, a satellite TV ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, honors World Refugee Day with a documentary featuring Myriam: a teenager who was forced to flee her home as a young girl in 2014 to escape ISIS.
SAT-7 interviewed Myriam in a refugee camp. Despite being forced from her home and unsure if she would see her friends again, she forgave ISIS and spoke of God’s love and forgiveness. Myriam’s message of forgiveness and faith quickly went viral, spreading across the world.
Myriam returned home to Qaraqosh, Iraq and is sharing her faith in a second documentary titled, The Sequel of Hope.
“Our house was protected by the hand of God. God is always with me… God is always protecting and you can just count on Him.”
SAT-7’s CEO Rita El-Mounayer says Myriam remained a positive person after all these years and knows how to articulate her faith well. She says two things stood out to her after watching The Sequel of Hope.
“She (Myriam) really believes that if you love God, everything is going to be okay. Sometimes it’s hard for us to believe that. We’re always doubting, we’re always asking why bad things happen to good people. But she doesn’t have a doubt in her mind or in her heart,” El-Mounayer says.
The second point that struck El-Mounayer is how family played a role in Myriam’s faith.
“In the case of Myriam, it’s her mother. Her mother gave her this faith. Her mother talked to her about God… Her mother was her role example by praying, by forgiving.”
Believing in Hope and Protection Amid Loss
El-Mounayer lived through Lebanon’s war, and says her father and grandmother taught her about Jesus and helped to build her faith.
“What happened in my life is like a bit different than Miriam. We never got back home. We just were kind of displaced people,” she says.
“Not everything was good because I lost my mom during the war. I was seven. My sister was five. But I still believe in the Lord.”
El-Mounayer says even though she didn’t understand why she and her family were displaced or why she lost her mom, she still believed in the Lord’s protection, His love, and that she was not alone.
She says hardship will come into people’s lives even if they do believe in Jesus, “but the difference is that we know deep inside that we are not alone, that He is with us among this hardship, among the persecution, among the beheading, among the burned churches, among like all the displacement.”
Restoring Hope through Media
Like Myriam and El-Mounayer, SAT-7 wants to put this prayer of hope and faith in the hearts of their viewers.
El-Mounayer says as the media, SAT-7 has influence in the messages they send parents, teachers, and children.
Through their educational programs, they’re restoring hope in children’s lives.
“It’s a big responsibility especially in the Middle East today when people lost all hope in their government, and education systems, and healthcare, even lost all hope in God, and how we can restore this by focusing on the children.”
SAT-7 is also broadcasting programs that target parents and teachers and help guide them in getting past trauma, not to mention helping children or students cope with trauma.
“As Christians, this is how we demonstrate our faith, by caring about people who are suffering around us… As media people, this is what we can do with education, with creating awareness with reconciliation, with forgiveness, with peace.”
Help SAT-7 as they spread the message of hope, faith, and forgiveness among people in the Middle East.
Start by praying for refugees today on World Refugee Day. Pray that the Lord will fill the 70.8 million refugees with hope and protect them.
El-Mounayer says a majority of prayer requests the station receives are from people who are not Christians. Often, people write back later saying that their prayer request was answered.
You can also donate to SAT-7. One dollar gives a viewer access to SAT-7’s programs for an entire year. This gives them access to educational programs, news, and other shows that speak the life of Jesus into people’s hearts.
Finally, take a vision trip with SAT-7. Visit their office or studio and see their impact firsthand.
Header image depicts Essam and Myriam. Photo courtesy of SAT-7 USA.