WHY IS THAT? ADDRESSES CHILDREN’S CONCERNS AFTER ATTACKS
1 June 2017
The 26 May attack on Christians in Minya, Egypt, left many young believers questioning if God has abandoned them.
SAT-7 KIDS’ program Why Is That? addresses their concerns.
This tragic event follows a range of recent attacks against Coptic Christian communities of Egypt. It has left many children of the region shaken up, questioning both their faith and the world they live in. Why Is That? wanted to immediately respond to the attack, with a special episode addressing the incident and young viewers’ needs.
“Originally, we were planning an episode on how to spend time wisely during summer,” Presenter Essam Nagy says. “But three hours before going live, we heard about the attack and changed the topic of the episode.”
THE ATTACK LEFT CHILDREN SHAKEN
On Friday morning, along a desert road in north-west Minya, a bus and other vehicles transporting Coptic Christians on a pilgrimage was attacked by gunmen. About ten armed men stopped the convoy and opened fire on the travellers. They then fled the scene, leaving 28 dead – including two children – and 23 wounded.
Once on air, the Why Is That? team paid their condolences to the affected families and opened communication with the young viewers – many who had already been exposed to disturbing scenes of the incident.
“I said to the kids that the Lord is near and hears their cries, and that Jesus has not and will never abandon them,” Essam says. “The first phone call we received was from a child in Beni Suef, the city where the attacked bus began its journey from.”
Many children called in to the live program to say that they forgave the killers and would pray for them. One young girl called in to say: “May God be with us and not let this happen again.” When Essam asked if she would feel abandoned by God, should such an incident be repeated, she replied “yes”. Essam gently explained that she must trust in the Lord always, and that He loves her through everything.
ENCOURAGEMENT THROUGH PRAYER
Essam guided the children in a short prayer, helping the young viewers to remember to trust Jesus and stay close to Him through hard times.
“You are the heroes of faith. The small light inside you touches all people around you. Jesus said: ‘You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you, is greater than he who is in the world,’ John 4:4.”
ESSAM REFLECTS ON THE EPISODE
“When an incident like this occurs, we have to address it!” Essam says. “We want them to know, in their hearts, that Jesus is there for them. When evil things happen, we all can take refuge in Him.”
Essam explains that children of the region are continuously exposed to terrible news.
“It was a bit challenging for us to address such a fresh wound on air, but God was ready with answers. The kids spoke about forgiveness, love, and peace to those who are in pain.”
IMPACTING FAMILIES, SUPPORTING THE CHURCH
“Children are like seeds,” Essam explains. “When you plant them in good soil they will grow delicious fruit. Investing in them while they are young is very important. This is what we all yearn to attain: to be child-like in terms of our faith. Through these children’s testimonies, faith shall not only be restored but also challenged and reinforced. This is how we can strengthen Christian families and the Church in the Middle East.”
In a region where half the population is aged under 25, it is vital to provide Christian teaching for children and young people. If you would like to support SAT-7’s children and youth programs, please support our work!