Representatives of SAT-7 recently attended the Norwegian Mission Society’s General Assembly Meeting. Marianne Awaraji, SAT-7 Audience Relations Manager for the Arabic channels, described the experience as “incredibly emotional.” She was accompanied by Kurt Johansen, Executive Director of SAT-7 Europe, Asia, and Pacific, and George Makeen, Executive Director of SAT-7’s Arabic channels.
NMS – whose vision to see “a living church across the earth” comprises sharing the Gospel, fighting injustice, and eradicating poverty – has been a faithful partner of SAT-7 from the beginning. Their annual meeting has not taken place for several years due to COVID restrictions, but this enforced break does not seem to have halted the Society’s momentum. This year’s conference drew a crowd of over 1,000, and the SAT-7 staff present found it to be an inspiring time of connection, learning, and encouragement.
Marianne, who presents the SAT-7 ARABIC program Share Ur Heart alongside her role in viewer support, wrote up her thoughts on the conference for the benefit of the wider SAT-7 team. She described a memorable service at Nidaros Cathedral, one of the most iconic and beautiful buildings in Norway, where she was able to use her musical talents to bless the conference attendees as she performed a classic song, As the Deer Pants for the Water.
Marianne’s report highlighted two themes in particular: how strong connections between partner organizations can benefit the work of God’s Kingdom, and how conferences offer great opportunities to develop skills and talents that bless the Church and the world.
“Throughout the conference, I was struck by the NMS partners’ enthusiasm for SAT-7,” said Marianne. “Many had seen our videos and were excited to meet me in person, while others were new to SAT-7 but were eager to support and pray for our ministry after listening to me, George, and Kurt.”
The chance to network in this way is rare for people who come from different parts of the world, and Marianne and the others were determined not to waste the opportunity. “The conference allowed us to build connections with the leaders of NMS and their community of supporters,” she said. “We had many one-on-one conversations with them, sharing more about our work and building credibility.”
Through workshops and presentations, Marianne was able to connect partners to many areas of SAT-7’s work. She spoke passionately about a range of SAT-7 content, from news programs like You Are Not Alone to women’s programs such as Today Not Tomorrow, as well as giving a presentation on the strategic importance of SAT-7’s presence in the MENA.
As if that wasn’t enough, she also ran a workshop for young people which included her singing an original song, discussing the challenges faced by young people in the MENA region, and showing them a clip from the Share Ur Heart program. “The young people were highly engaged,” she said. “They asked many thoughtful questions.”
One of the most striking things about Marianne’s experience in Norway was how much the conference personally moved her. “I couldn’t help but reflect on my journey with SAT-7 and the impact it has had on my life and the lives of others in the Middle East,” Marianne said. “Through this experience, I learned the importance of humility, listening to others without bias, and being willing to learn from those around me… The NMS family showed me what it means to truly love and serve others, and I will carry their kindness and generosity with me always.”