Thousands in the Middle East are becoming “friends” on Facebook because of a youth TV program that Open Doors helped develop. The interactive program, Connect with Me, follows a group of young people and addresses subjects that teenagers and young adults across the Middle East can identify with, such as fear, forgiveness and unemployment.
An Open Doors worker explains, “Viewers are challenged to send in videos on Facebook. The maker of the film that receives the most ‘likes’ each week is invited to attend a sports camp, where the gospel is explained and they are challenged to commit their lives to Jesus.” After a recent camp, 40 young people gave their lives to Christ.
Through social media networks like Facebook, many Middle Eastern youth are able to meet, albeit virtually. Christians have found Facebook to be a great tool in generating responses to Christian TV programs. Open Doors works in partnership with the Miracle Channel, a Christian broadcaster whose programs are regularly watched by more than 20,000 young people from all over the Middle East. “God is moving in tremendous ways among Arab youth despite political unrest and increased persecution,” a spokesman for the Miracle Channel said.
Comments posted on Facebook demonstrate the impact Connect with Me is having among these young people. One girl wrote, “I want to be closer to God and read the Bible more.” Another said, “I learned a lot from the forgiveness episode although it is very hard, but I will try, thanks.” A 15-year-old boy responded to a program about fear saying, “I loved this episode because I have an issue with fear. Please help me.”
Thank You, Father, for the thousands of young people who are hearing the gospel through social media. We ask Your leading, insight and oversight of those who produce the programs. Protect them as they engage in this effective ministry and lead them by Your Spirit as they respond to questions from the listeners. Facebook and other social media have opened up many opportunities for the gospel to spread among this new generation, but with it come opportunities for sin and so we call on Your protection over the souls of the participants and protection over their lives where a decision to follow Jesus could put them in jeopardy. In the name of Jesus who leads and guides by His Spirit, Amen.