For Farid Samir, SAT-7’s Executive Director in Egypt, the cost of answering the cry has from time to time involved visits from the police department.
But action by the censorship police last October was the most serious. SAT-7 equipment worth more than £65,000 was seized and Farid temporarily detained. He was left facing multiple investigations over broadcasting licences and the real possibility that he could be imprisoned for many years for allegedly breaking new media laws.
Throughout the three and a half months of investigations, Farid knew his innocence but couldn’t be sure of the outcome or how the charges would affect SAT-7.
Amid these pressures, Farid (described as “resilient” by an independent producer who works with SAT-7) left his future in God’s hands.
Encouragement from God
“Many encouraging things happened,” Farid explained. “During the first night when I was in prison, a friend came to visit me and loaned me his phone so I could call my family. They didn’t know exactly what was happening to me, but my 11-year-old daughter encouraged me with this verse from Joshua 1:9: ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’
“That really touched my heart,” he said with a smile. “God wanted me to be encouraged through my daughter.”
SAT-7’s viewers rallied behind the ministry, changing their profile pictures on Facebook to the SAT-7 logo and sending messages of support. One said, “SAT-7 is more precious to me now, feeling we could lose it.”
Farid knew too that Christians around the world were praying for the case against him and SAT-7 to be dismissed – prayers that were answered in February this year.
“I want to thank the Body of Christ around the world who prayed, who united with us during this time of hardship,” he said. “Being on their knees for us made this difference.”
Farid said that relying on God throughout the ordeal has strengthened the SAT-7 team in Egypt:
“I have learned through this experience and similar experiences that Jesus did not promise us that we will not face troubles, but he promised us that he will be with us through the troubles.
“We see that things are not becoming easier for the Body of Christ in the Middle East but we are learning to be stronger with the mercy of God.”
Answer the Cry
Our campaign, Answer the Cry, tells some of the stories of our viewers and the challenges they face, living as Christians in the Middle East and North Africa. Every day, SAT-7 receives more than 800 responses to our programmes – and demand is growing. The people of the Middle East and North Africa need your support more than ever before.
Your support can help us to be there for these people – to make programmes that will encourage their faith; to answer their questions; to give them a way to connect with other Christians.