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Global Stories

Scott is an inmate at a correctional institution in the United States. He sent a letter to LHM to say "thank you" for broadcasting The Lutheran Hour, which has positively impacted him during a difficult time in his life. He recently lost his 24-year-old daughter in a fatal car accident and has been struggling since her death. He had a very close relationship with her and worries about her mother and the rest of her family, as they all mourn her loss while he is away. He listens to his radio every day and tunes into The Lutheran Hour every Sunday. Listening to TLH has encouraged him to open a Bible and relearn what he learned as a child about Jesus. He enjoys the music played on TLH and is grateful to have the program every week, so he can strengthen his faith again.

Viviane grew up in a non-Christian household. As she got older, her friends encouraged her to enroll in Bible Correspondence Courses* offered through LHM-Madagascar. She continued to study the Bible, joined a local church, and became a Christian. For years, Viviane told her dad, Jaosoary, about Christianity and wanted him to have a relationship with God. Her dad had never believed in Jesus, but Viviane kept talking to him about her Christian faith. Recently, Jaosoary got very sick and was admitted to the hospital. Viviane asked her dad if he would like to be baptized and he quickly said yes and told Viviane to go get the local pastor. Jaosoary was baptized in the hospital, minutes before he passed away. Viviane is thankful for LHM-Madagascar and hopes others will know that God hears our prayers.

*Bible Correspondence Courses are Bible-based studies that enable people of all ages, faiths and educational levels to explore the Bible's teachings and the Christian faith from the security and comfort of their own homes.

The Middle East and North Africa has the youngest population in the world, many who feel hopeless because of political turmoil, social instability, and high unemployment. When you factor in the ongoing effects of a global pandemic, the hopelessness for many in the region only continues to grow.

A new television series produced through Lutheran Hour Ministries' ongoing partnership with SAT-7, the first and largest Middle East and North African Christian satellite television network, is shining the light of Christ into the lives of these hurting people at a time when they need to hear this message more than ever. The program, titled New Light, debuted Nov. 20 and will air four times weekly on SAT-7's Arabic channel. This satellite television program has the potential of reaching tens of millions of viewers in more than 20 countries spanning from as far west as Morocco to as far east as Iraq and the Persian Gulf.

"We are overjoyed to unveil this broadcast leading into the Advent season when we can bring the good news of great joy that Jesus Christ was born to people who may not have ever heard the Gospel message," says LHM President & CEO Kurt Buchholz. Buchholz currently serves as a Partner representative to the SAT-7 International Council, the first time a Partner from North America has been chosen for this appointment as these positions are typically held by European Partners.

The new program is a 55-minute talk show that highlights a different topic or brings a different perspective to current affairs and matters affecting the target audience of viewers ages 17 to 30. Each episode includes multiple segments covering in-studio and on-the-street interviews with guests sharing opinions on the program topic as well as their motivating stories, musical guests or pre-recorded songs, spiritual devotions pre-recorded from an off-site location, and much more. Some of the scheduled topics include the influence of mass media, types of addiction, freedom and responsibility, family values, marriage, recognizing and managing emotions, handling disappointment, and coping with pain and loss.

Given this demographic's preference for online media, the use of multiple segments allows material created for this television program to be utilized and promoted in multiple ways through social media platforms. The program's young co-hosts walk the viewers through the segments and encourage in-depth discussion on the topic.

"We pray this programming brings God's love and mercy to millions of young Arab viewers who are suffering and questioning their faith and place in society," says Buchholz. "Hearing about God and how He loves them and gives them hope for the future, from the privacy of their own homes, may be the only opportunity for many of these young adults to hear this message at all."

While facing the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic that has often prevented people from gathering face-to-face, the LHM-Uruguay staff remains steadfast in their mission to share the Good News. Using social networks and multimedia as the main tools, LHM-Uruguay reinvented the way they do ministry.

The LHM-Uruguay ministry center is known for their dedicated work that focuses on children, women, and youth. Over the last several years, the staff has held many activities and events that bring a good number of women and youth participants to the ministry center building where they are then connected to a local church for additional follow up.

Some of the most popular events have been the Junior Chefs workshops and the School Assistantship for public school children. Since in-person events had to be paused during the pandemic, the LHM-Uruguay staff looked for new ways to stay close to the children. They were then enlightened by a "little star" known in Uruguay as Estrellita.

Estrellita is a character that was created in 2008 when LHM-Uruguay held events to distribute care packages to around 5,000 individuals. Paula, a ministry center staff member, grabbed the first costume she found at home and used her gift of teaching to share the Gospel with children through this newly-created character. She was an instant hit with the kids and her name became Estrellita, which means "little star." Since then, Estrellita is always ready with an expression of wonder at the love and goodness of God.

Paula knew in her heart that the answer to the question of how to stay close to the children during this time was to let Estrellita be with the children, but through a screen. Estrellita could virtually invite children into her home every Thursday for a time of connecting through YouTube videos.

From there, the question became, "How do we do this?" The ministry center staff recruited Joaquín, a 17-year-old boy who participates in the youth meetings at the local Lutheran church. After starting a successful family business with his father a few years ago, Joaquín discovered new gifts and talents, including being a genius with cameras. Joaquín accompanies the ministry center staff each week as they shoot and produce the videos, most of which are filmed at the ministry center.

The weekly videos are about Estrellita, a curious 7-year-old girl who is happy about life, loves her family, and is a close friend of Jesus. She tells viewers what is in her heart and how the Lord teaches her to be a better person through the stories she reads in her Bible. She learns in the Bible that Jesus loves her and forgives her for her sins. Estrellita has many special friends who join her in the videos to share the teachings of Jesus.

In only a few days, the number of subscribers to the LHM-Uruguay YouTube channel grew by 100. Each video has a couple hundred views, with the number continuing to grow each week.
After a short amount of time, the LHM-Uruguay staff realized there is an audience eager for this content and Estrellita's videos are providing hope for people and children during this difficult time. The responses to Estrellita's videos have been positive and most importantly, the children enjoy the videos.

In addition to providing hopeful content, the ministry center staff reached out to their audience offering a Bible as a gift to families who do not have one at home. More than 50 people contacted the office requesting one. It is clear that Estrellita is opening doors for conversations with the people of Uruguay who desperately need to hear the Gospel message.

You can view Estrellita's videos on the "Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones Uruguay" YouTube channel.

Daw is 40 years old and is a mother of three children. She lives in a community with other families who lost their homes, farms, and other possessions. A few years ago, her husband was arrested and accused of being in a group against the military, even though he was just a farmer. He spent two years in prison and now that he is back, a lot of his memory is gone. Daw has many sleepless nights because she is unsure about what happened to her husband. LHM-Myanmar staff visited their community and hosted a puppet show. They also provided her with psychosocial support. LHM staff told her about the spiritual life she can live to help her overcome her family tragedy. She thanks God for her children and is encouraging her husband to believe that God is good. She is now eager to share about God to the other people in the community so they might have a relationship with Him, too.

Read more stories from our ministry centers around the world:

2020 Stories | 2019 Stories | 2018 Stories | 2017 Stories

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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