Episode 251: Broadcasting Hope: Farid Garas

Have you ever considered the miraculous power of the Gospel message as it transcends borders, languages, and opposition? In this episode, we talk about the profound influence of Christian media in the Arab-speaking world through the compelling experiences of Farid Garas, the Senior Director of THE KINGDOM SAT satellite television and internet channel – a media outreach of Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.

Farid's narrative is not just about spreading the Gospel; it's a journey of overcoming adversity, embracing his identity in Christ, and changing lives in a region where broadcasting Christian content can defy expectations and alter eternity.

Embark on a captivating journey with Farid, a man who once questioned Christianity but now plays a pivotal role in shaping Christian media in a region where such content has often faced significant obstacles. His encounters with authorities, far from deterring him, only reinforced his commitment to his faith and mission, making his story a testament to the power of unwavering faith in Christ.

Through this conversation, Farid highlights the strategic use of drama, film, and satellite television to spread the Christian message, reaching out to believers and those searching for Truth in tumultuous times. He discusses the growth of THE KINGDOM SAT, its impact, and the continuous efforts to foster a connection with the audience through live broadcasts and digital platforms.

This episode not only delves into Farid's personal and professional life but also provides a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities in media and ministry. Through their resilience and dedication, Farid and THE KINGDOM SAT team offer hope to millions in the Middle East, demonstrating the transformative potential of faith-based media in the face of adversity.

After you listen to this episode, you may have your own questions. We would love to hear from you! To ask Jonathan a question or connect with the Candid community, visit https://LTW.org/Candid

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This transcript recounts Candid Conversations with Jonathan Youssef Episode 251: Broadcasting Hope: Farid Garas.
[01:28] JONATHAN: Today we have a special guest, an in-house guest here at Leading The Way. Farid Garas is the senior director of the Kingdom Sat. The Kingdom Sat is our 24/7 satellite channel for the Arab-speaking world, taking biblical teaching and different types of programming through satellite television and internet to the Arab-speaking population. He has become a good friend and I am so honored to have him joining us onCandid Conversations. Farid, thank you for joining us.
[02:06] Farid: Thank you, Jonathan, and I would say congratulations. This is the first podcast after being Dr. Jonathan Youssef. So congratulations. It’s an honor to be with you.
[02:16] JONATHAN: Well, it’s an honor to be with you. And you are doing some doctoral work yourself. And we can get into that a little bit later for those who are listening, you’re from Egypt. Tell us a little bit about growing up and your life story and then we can transition into how you got into broadcast ministry. 
[02:39] Farid: Yeah. I feel I am a minority of the minority, an evangelical Christian in Egypt. And that was a great blessing. I didn’t like it in the beginning, feeling that minority I’m not like everyone else, but it was great. My father was a scientist. He studied science, and he didn’t like all the Christian religious ideas at that time, talking mainly about the traditional Coptic traditions or Christian traditions. And he always thought that those Christians are cheesy and he didn’t like that. 
So his two sisters invited him to a Christian conference, and he said, “Okay, I’ll go. But after the first day I will not like it and I will go back home.” So he tried to flee from the conference three times, and those good Christians would go after him and bring him back.
[03:42] JONATHAN: Kicking and screaming.
[03:44] Farid: Yeah. So God grabbed his attention through Bible study, and also because of the witness of those Christians that went after him. He discovered that those Christians are really good people. They are professionals. They are not cheesy. They are very intellectual, they are funny, they are successful. So he was attracted to God by the witness and the Bible study. The following year, after studying the Bible for one year, he became very excited about this paradigm shift that God allowed him to go through just by knowing the Lord, and he led the conference the following year. He invited eighteen people from his family, young people, and long story short, they all became Christians. They confessed … they gave their lives to the Lord.
[04:36] JONATHAN: Were they from a Coptic background? 
[04:41] Farid: Yeah, they are nominal Christians, mainly. And many of them are leaders in the Christian ministry now. And he played a great role in my life, not just by the Christian teaching, but by his example to me. And he showed me it was a balance between unconditional love and discipline. And it’s like your father played a great role in your life, and that prepared me to know the Lord more and to be ready for ministry.
[05:14] JONATHAN: Yeah, yeah. So tell us a little bit about your upbringing. Your father’s obviously grown into leadership roles within the Christian community, the evangelical community. You’re grown up in a covenant home, where you’ve heard the Word taught. Tell us a little bit about your faith journey.
[05:37] Farid: Yeah. So my father and mother brought us in a church setting and in a covenant environment, and they prepared us to hear the word of the Lord in house and also in church. But as a teenager, even a kid in an evangelical church, you get to hear the salvation message more than one time. But one time I remember, and the teacher has related with me, it was a play about the end of days. And the last line in the play, the main character talks to the audience and says, “What if Jesus came today? Are you going to be here or there?”
And of course, it was so dramatic. And so I went home and couldn’t sleep. I was thinking of all the events of that day. Is my life really Christian? Am I up to the standard that God accepts? And do I enjoy His redemption just because I want to get released of the … get out of … get out of hell?
[06:50] JONATHAN: Yeah, sure. Get out of hell.
[06:53] Farid: If only that reason, not relationship. So I couldn’t sleep, thinking about all these things, and I had to go to the school the following day. I was so tired. So I came back after the school, had a nap, woke up, found I’m home alone; nobody’s home. So I thought, “Uh, oh.”
[07:14] JONATHAN: It’s happened.
[07:16] Farid: Yeah. So this was one of the times that God not only grabbed my attention I think He was preparing me for how media ministry could be a tool in evangelism and in Christian life.
[07:34] JONATHAN: So the impact of that performance left a mark on you that you wanted to continue to build upon that.
[07:44] Farid: Yes. After that, I was becoming like a dedicated Christian. Okay, I need to study the word. I need to practice all these things. And as a result for that, I was invited by the Christian religion teacher, in the middle school, to talk. We have those Christian classes. They separate Muslims and Christians, each group in one class, and there is a curriculum, but he would finish the curriculum and then ask me, “Okay, Farid, tell us what you think about this.”
Mainly, I’m the only evangelical. He wanted to know what those evangelicals say, so I would share. And then mostly it went all right, apart from one of my colleagues who was very rigid, very extreme, and he would say all those things, “Oh, you evangelicals say this.” “Oh, you say that.” And long story, but it ended up that we became best friends and he gave his life to the Lord. We used to study every night together and so on. And after he became Christian, he has these leadership qualities and he became also excited. And together we started this evangelistic drama team. This drama team grew very fast because it was very effective. We wrote our own plays, we performed in churches, in youth meetings. Even we started our like independent Christian theater festivals. Like we would do three plays in three nights, and it was very well received. Like most of the nights we find that we have double the number of audience, so we need to perform twice and so on. And we even came here to Atlanta in 1996, during the Olympics, to help in evangelistic campaigns for the Arabic speakers.
[09:59] JONATHAN: Wow. I don’t know what to call it. The drama bug had been captured and you’re seeing this as a tool for evangelism, for outreach even internationally., I think you start to recognize that this is only a small stage. Explain to us how the doors opened up to having a bigger reach and a bigger audience.
[10:30] Farid: Yeah, the drama bug is only like a tool in evangelism. And in the Christian media I’ve been for many years, you would find like two extremes. One extreme you would find some very interesting, exciting but shallow content. On the other side you can find very good, deep teaching, very sophisticated, spiritual, biblical but sometimes boring. 
[10:57] JONATHAN: This is through television medium.
[10:59] Farid: Yeah. And the theater and radio. So, I mean what was special about this team that God showed us how He could use the good content, because the gospel is the core. And when we started presenting the gospel in the drama tool that would communicate to people in our age, we found that it needs to be like this formula. We cannot let one play to be just popular because it’s funny. And we found that God is growing the work.
So it started with theater, then we started to do some radio with TransWorld Radio, like doing drama on radio and so on. And we went to television. You know in Egypt in those years, early, until early 90s, there’s no Christian content available for public audience, even Christians. We are 10 to 15 percent. But the national television would allow a Christian Mass only on Christmas, so it’s like one hour per year.
So we said, okay, how can we break into television? And it was hard. There was no way. So we tried to read books, practice, and we started like drama schools. We don’t know anything, but we start inviting people to teach us. And I wanted to study more about media like in a professional way, so I saved money, worked for eight years, then came here to the States, studied digital filmmaking school, did some internship. Then went back to Egypt, completed more studies, did the diploma in film production and directing in the American university.
[13:00] JONATHAN: So your heart was always to go back to Egypt. Yeah.
[13:03] Farid: Yes. I mean, it was very good over here. I studied in Hawaii, then internship in San Diego. The goal is to do ministry, so I went back to Egypt and completed this study, which allowed me to be part of the cinema syndicate and also to have my own production house. So it all started from just the first play that introduced me to the Lord, and then it continued to do more. Now I have to do more work for the mainstream media and the Christian. 
And this production house was very successful. God gave me favor in my vendors and producers and it went fast because mainly I learned here in America a different style than the Egyptian national television. Minimum crew doing quality work in a different way. Of course, technology and so on. And I got the hands-on experience. So I had still the main goal was to do ministry using media, but I was able to fund the Christian work from the secular work I used to do—mainly corporate videos, advertisements and documentaries and so on. So they complemented each other. And it grew like for 2003 to 2009 like for six years.
[14:44] JONATHAN: Wow. Wow. Sort of paint a picture for us. What does it look like, up to that point, before there’s television broadcasts, evangelistic broadcasts being allowed in the country? What did sort of radio and drama team, what does that kind of penetration into the population look like? 
[15:07] Farid: I mean, you could easily say there is none official media for Christians. They would allow some official magazine or newspaper from the Coptic Church and some from the evangelical, but mainly they would be accepted only in a church setting. So there is no mass media, no radio. So we had Christian radio, TransWorld Radio, that was being broadcast from—
[15:40] JONATHAN: South of France, yeah. Monaco.
[15:41] Farid: So you could only receive it at like 10:30 PM to 11:30 PM, and you have to be in an area where there’s not a lot of buildings and so on. It was a great blessing. Many people knew the Lord from it. But it didn’t serve the mass, those true seekers—Muslims, Christians, nominal Christians. So that was the case until ’96 when Christian satellite was there as a technology. The government didn’t allow it, but it was there.
[16:16] JONATHAN: So that's kind of your introduction into the television world in terms of Christianity.
[16:24] Farid: Yes. I mean, it’s now available. Can we break into that? After the study and this production house, I was able to share in lots of production. And before that, God had prepared me with working in dubbing Christian media, likeJesus Film,VeggieTales,Super Book, as an actor. And it was a great experience.
[16:55] JONATHAN: And where were those being broadcast?
[16:58] Farid: In one of the production houses that actually it’s like a Christian place but also recognized as a production house. So I got some training in that, and when the satellite started, I was one of the first ones that were ready to do a part.
[17:19] JONATHAN: So let’s kind of move the timeline forward as Christian media is now being produced. And at what point does the government allow satellite broadcasting?
[17:35] Farid: You know they didn’t allow it because satellite is broadcasted from abroad. So in order to stop it, they had to stop all the bouquet of channels, so they couldn’t do that. So it first started on one of the satellites that was Europe-based, but if you have a big satellite dish and receiver, you could receive it at home. 
And it’s different than here in America. I mean, satellite in the Middle East is free to own. So you just spend maybe $15 or so to have a device recorder and you receive about two thousand channels. So among them are one Christian channel, so if the government wants to stop, they have to stop everything, so they couldn’t. 
[18:31] JONATHAN: Right. There’d be too much backlash. [18:48] So let’s fast-forward. It’s 2009. You’re very busy. Tell us a little bit about what's going on in that year.
[18:57] Farid: Yeah. It was a very important year. At that time, I was busy doing production with different now-Christian satellites. They are more than one now and I already started as a part time in one of the satellite ministries out there and at the same time I was having my production house. And I read a book in one of my visits to Europe and America about Muslim testimonies. You never read those in Egypt, so I thought maybe I should film some. I was naïve. I didn’t know everything is like under surveillance. So I had this studio in my production house. I was doing lots of projects, but this one I said, okay, I need to be careful just in case, so I’ll do it in a secret environment.
But it wasn’t. So I filmed those testimonies and the following day I started to get visits from the national security. And the way it was done, it wasn’t like—they didn’t come and say, “We are the national security. WE want to investigate those Christian projects.” No. First they would send like one department of some kind of police, checking the social security or checking the telephone or electricity.
[20:40] JONATHAN: They were spying on you.
[20:42] Farid: They were—I mean, in Egypt, I mean, not all the businesses would have all the papers right. So the plan was to find something wrong to make a case against this office without saying it’s religious, just to keep the face for the media in the West. So they didn’t find anything wrong. It took like five weeks, several visits. So the last one they said, “Okay, there is a censorship case against you.” Usually, those are copyrights or not using original software, which is very common in Egypt. But my software was original. I had no violations. But the case was still there. 
And then the national security officer called me in his office. I mean, before all that happened, God prepared me. I had this shooting day with kids at 9:00 AM. 
[21:45] JONATHAN: Filming, yeah.
[21:46] Farid: Yeah, it was prepared and everything is in place and I had a dream or vision that I woke up early, like 5:00 AM, very alert with this impression that an officer or someone from the security will come and ask about me. And I knew this was from the Lord because it came with a sense of peace. It should be scary because I know what could happen.
[22:17] JONATHAN: Yeah, right. And you’ve got a wife and kids and—
[22:20] Farid: Yeah. It’s … So I started praying, like reading the Bible and committing the day to the Lord, and I met my friend and production manager at 7:00 AM. I said I had this dream, so I smiled and he said, “What do you want to do? Do you want to cancel shooting today?” I said, “No, no. But if the officer came, please call me outside not to scare the kids.”
And we started at 9:00 AM filming. Everything went all right until 3:00 PM I got the visit. They mainly told me “There is a warrant against you. Come to the national security office at 11:00 PM” at night. That's like usual part of the environment you’re put in. And at that meeting, the officer confronted me. “Why are you filming those infidels?” according to the apostate law, they were Muslims, now they are Christians, they are supposed to be under this apostasy law. Apostasy law in Islam if someone left Islam he’s supposed to be executed. It’s not applied in Egypt, but the concept is there, so it’s not allowed by the families or by the regime or—
[23:45] JONATHAN: Right. It’s an intimidation factor, yeah.
[23:47] Farid: Yeah, for the what they call the public peace and so on. And he said, “Why did you do that?” 
I said, “I'm a professional director and filming what they have to say.” 
And he said, “Yeah, but tell me how much would you take, I see you produce a lot of Christian content.” 
I said, “Yes.” 
He said, “Okay, this Christian music video,” it’s all like a lot of content from my production house. “How much do you take like to produce one?”
I said, “Yeah, like one thousand pounds.”
“Okay, what if you do like a music video, secular, mainstream one?” He said, “How much would you take?”
I said, “I will be like about fifteen.” 
“Fifteen thousand to one thousand. So why would you choose to do the Christian work?”
I said, “I’d like you to watch one of those music videos, secular ones. Would you be happy to show them to your family, to your kids? I want my family to be proud about what I present.”
And he said, “Okay, why did you film those testimonies or stories. For them it’s like disaster.”
I said, “They … I mean, according to the constitution, we have freedom of speech, right?”
“Oh yeah, okay.” And he said, “Okay, do you have license for the production?”
I said, “Yes.” 
And he started asking questions, and we ended up having a case of censorship. And I asked the lawyer at that time, “Okay, why is it censorship. I had nothing wrong.”
He said, “Yeah, because it’s national security, it’s classified. They cannot declare it.” And this lawyer was a Muslim. He said, “We’re going to win this.”
So God placed that lawyer after like four different lawyers, and that lawyer took maybe five months to one year, I think, until the case was resolved. And it was what was so-called Arab Spring, the revolution.
[26:00] JONATHAN: Yeah, the people will remember watching that footage back at 2011 and the revolution in the streets and the overthrow of Mubarak and then somewhat of an election that took place afterwards, yeah.
[26:18] Farid: Yes. And during that time, the case was released. And actually they had confiscated two of my editing machines. One of them had my first Christian evangelistic feature film footage and the other one had the backup, so it was unfortunate. I have many other agents witness, but then God really gave us favor in getting those back after all the police stations were burned and somehow God kept those editing suites and the footage, and this film was released and it was even screened here in America. 
It’s an evangelistic movie about an immigrant who thinks that he’s persecuted because he’s Christian. He doesn’t know that his problem is he doesn’t have this relationship with God. So he comes here to America and finds that there is another set of challenges, and then he gets to know the Lord and then his life starts to take a positive turn and that film was here in cinemas in I think 2012 and it was shown in five states who have heavy Arabic-speakers population. 
[27:46] JONATHAN: Well, this wasn’t your only run-in with the Egyptian authorities. You continue to produce content and then you find yourself in a similar situation—a worse situation. 
[28:02] Farid: Yes. Now I have a file. 
[28:06] JONATHAN: That's right.
[28:22] Farid: Yeah, during those years, God made a great awakening in Egypt after the revolution. It was both religious, ritual, biblical and also political for young people especially. And there was not a lot of control at that time, so a lot of ministries were able to go out and do more. One of them was this Christian satellite that I was part of, and God gave us a chance to do things we never were able to do before, like this prayer night, twelve-hours prayer gathering, around 35 thousand. That's like first time in Egypt. And they were gathered at the Cave Church, praying from night to morning, because police were not there. Usually, police does not allow this in the name of security and also—
[29:25] JONATHAN: I mean, just for context, this is after the election of—remind me his name.
[29:34] Farid: Sisi?
[29:35] JONATHAN: No. Before Sisi. Morsi. So this is after the election of Mohammed Morsi.
[29:41] Farid: No, this was in 2011.
[29:42] JONATHAN: In between. Okay, so this is after Mubarak has been sort of deposed.
[29:52] Farid: Yeah. I mean, the army was in control at that time, but there was no president, so there was some more freedom.
[29:59] JONATHAN: So there’s these all-night prayer meetings taking place in this Cave Church.
[30:04] Farid: Yeah. This was 11/11/2011, and it was a great night because it was from all non-official Christian leaders gathering together. And a lot of people, a lot Christians—and Muslims—gathered. Because of all what was happening, people were praying, “God, we need you in this country.”
And the satellite ministry I was in broadcasted that live. We experienced a lot of trials for interruption, but God miraculously allowed us to be alive. And a lot of the mainstream media were shocked to see what was happening with the number of people, the prayers for peace, including Al-Jazeera channel. So they called me and said, “Can we have your feed?” And I said, “Sure, of course.” 
[31:01] JONATHAN: You said 35 thousand people gathered.
[31:03] Farid: Yes. 
[31:04] JONATHAN: I mean, that's just hard to imagine.
[31:07] Farid: So a lot of these events took place, a lot of production, a lot of live programs on satellite, and people were all the time looking at news and they really were looking for hope. They lost trust in the government, they lose trust sometimes in their religious leaders, and they were looking for Jesus. And we presented the hope of Jesus Christ through satellite ministry. 
So the regime came back in 2014 and another case was—I mean, the same scenario happened again. They came to the satellite ministry office, confiscated the machines, like a lot of people, I think there were eleven, twelve people, and they were looking for me. It was the weekend and I wasn’t there, so they called me. I went there and then direct to jail, to a case of five charges, very serious charges.
[32:12] JONATHAN: Each of them carried the penalty of fifteen to twenty-five years.
[32:15] Farid: The minimum. The minimum one of them. And of course, they were false accusations, but in those cases, it doesn’t matter.
[32:29] JONATHAN: Justice may not prevail.
[32:30] Farid: Yeah, it was serious, but the team members started praying, and actually many prayers around the world started because this time it was this Christian ministry, so it was well known. When this happened in 2009 in my office, nobody knew because it’s like my private thing. But now many people started to pray. But it wasn’t the only case at that time. I mean, the regime started to be back and there was a message through different things. Okay, the regime is back, everything needs to be back now in law and order according to our system. So those who took more freedom politically, they need to go back to their borders, to their limit. Christians who have been talking and doing a lot of ministry, no, they need to stop.
[33:25] JONATHAN: Restricted freedoms, yeah.
[33:28] Farid: Islamists need to do the same. So they closed a lot of Muslim channels and they had many cases against activists and the revolutionists. And this was the biggest satellite ministry, so this was like a statement that no one needs … everyone needs to go back to the original setup. You should know your limits. Don’t evangelize Muslims, don’t get too involved in politics and so on. 
So this case was very serious, and I got very scared. Just I remember in jail that night just thinking. I read the law, and it seemed like I’ll not go out. And just thinking of my three kids and my wife and said, “Lord, what is going to happen?” I got really … it’s like a panic attack what would happen.
And the other prisoner that was in the same cell had smuggled a cell phone, so he said, “Yeah, do you want to talk to your family?” I said, “Yes.” “Okay, I’ll give you a call. Let them transfer $15 for each minute.”
So I called my wife, and she said, “We’re praying for you.” And my eleven-years daughter said, “We’re praying for you and I want to share with you the verse from Joshua, ‘Be courageous and be strong.’” And it communicated to my spirit.
In the first case, my wife was afraid. She used to walk in the streets with the kids, holding her passports in her case because it was so scary with all those visits. But this time, I was scared, she was confident, and she encouraged me. And my daughter, my kids, at that time they were very young, but somehow God gave them peace, although I was in jail.
And miraculously, God resolved this case. And you won’t believe this, Jonathan, but all the cases that were initiated at that time are not resolved till today.
[36:02] JONATHAN: Except for yours.
[36:03] Farid: Yeah. It was a miracle. I can tell you details, but it was a miracle by the hand of God. And yeah, so I—
Actually, it was a very special testimony for me during those times. I was released from jail, but the case was still there, so I had a conversation with God. And I said, “God, I am scared. I think it’s time to flee the country.”
And I felt in my spirit God is saying no. I said, “Why, God? There are biblical escapes. Joseph and Mary and the baby. Could this be one?”
[36:46] JONATHAN: Peter, Paul.
[36:47] Farid: Yeah. Can you let me go? How do I face those charges? There was no way this case is going to be resolved. And God asked me one question. He said, “Do you believe what you present on screen, or this is separate from you actually?”
[37:08] JONATHAN: Is your faith in the thing that you stand behind as a broadcast, yeah, yeah.
[37:13] Farid: “Is it only for commercial or is it real? Do you believe I can resolve this no matter what laws are there, no matter what situation?”
And I met with my mentors, I prayed with my wife, and I spent time with the Lord the same night, and I ended up saying, “God, I’m yours and I have peace to stay and I am not afraid but I trust you will take care of this, whatever happens.”
And I returned the flight ticket I had booked. Actually, my wife said, when I said that, she felt like I’m under a lot of pressure. She said, “Yeah, you can buy a ticket and we have twenty-four hours to return it for free.” And I returned the ticket and it took those five months of investigations, visiting court and all that, but it was resolved. And I spent a few more months in the same ministry and I felt it’s time to move on and I felt, okay, I need now some time to pray and see what is next. I had confidence through prayer and through checking with my leaders that it is time for me to move on. But I stayed until God said yes and got the blessing of the leaders and family and all that. And I became independent now, not knowing what to do, and spent some time to pray and ask God what's next.
[39:02] JONATHAN: And what was next? You had a special introduction, you read a book, you read another book.
[39:12] Farid: Yeah! You know I was in a trip in 2014 while being very busy with my production house and our satellite ministry, so in that trip to Lebanon, I had some free time at night. I finished meetings and I selected a book from the library, and it was Dr. Youssef’s book,Trust and Obey. And I couldn’t stop reading it until I finished it, because I could resonate with him. And now I know Dr. Youssef from satellite, I know his faithfulness to the Word of God, but I don’t know him as a person. I mean, I know him as a minister, as a speaker. 
So his testimony inTrust and Obey was very fascinating for me. I could visualize what he was telling in his book about his upbringing and all his stages he went through, because of course, my journey was much shorter, different, but I could understand a lot of what he was saying from being there in this culture that he was brought in.
And I said this book should be filmed sometime, I mean this testimony. But I have no way of doing that. And so it took two years, and now I am free after 2016. I now have no job. I went to Germany, where my wife’s family are having ministry there, and we stayed there a few months to pray and seek God, and then I got an invitation from Joshua Youssef. “Why don’t you come to help us at the Kingdom Sat?”
I said, “I just moved from Egypt to Germany. I’m not sure what's coming.”
He said, “Yeah, pray about it and maybe you can start on a contractor basis, as a consultant.”
So I said, yes, that seems good. I prayed about it, of course, and I started coming here to the Kingdom Sat, Leading The Way, and started coming every month for one week or so. And after six months, I had total peace about it and I said, “Yes, Joshua, if you still feel there is a place for me.”
He said yes. I met with Dr. Youssef, of course, and they took around one more year to do the visa work and so on, and then I came and joined Kingdom Sat. That was in 2017.
[41:46] JONATHAN: Tell us about Kingdom Sat. For our listeners who maybe aren’t familiar, broadcasting started in 2009, you joined the team in 2017. Who does it reach? Where does it go? What's the fruit that’s being borne from it?
[42:07] Farid: Yeah, the Kingdom Sat is a vision of Dr. Youssef. God gave him the vision in 2004, and it took five years in the making because he wanted to have a solid, biblical channel that broadcast the best of the east and the best of the west in terms of Bible teaching. And God used Maged Atalla, my colleague, to start this. He’s an engineer. He made a great foundation following the vision of Dr. Youssef and a lot of partners who came together with Dr. Youssef to present their content on the Kingdom Sat that's being translated into Arabic. So this was a big part of what's being broadcasted on the Kingdom Sat, along with selected Bible teachers from the Middle East as well.
So it was a great foundation. So I came on a great foundation on a time where social media was coming, live broadcast was being introduced more and more, and when I joined, Joshua asked me, “What proposal do you have for the Kingdom Sat? What do you think?”
And I presented a proposal and mainline I met with him and Dr. Youssef and said, “This is what I think. I think Kingdom Sat is a great channel, but it’s more like radio. If you turn the screen off and only listen, you don’t lose anything. We have a great tool. We can present visuals. We can do more. So I think it’s great, but one of the things that we need to do is doing more formats, more genres. We need to reach more people—especially those who are underprivileged like women, kids, young people in the Middle East. And we need to reach out to the non-Christians. 
He said, “Yeah, this is our vision.” And actually Dr. Youssef said, “Yeah, actually we made a survey and this is what we reached.” And he quoted one of the friends in Egypt. He told them “the Kingdom Sat is like a big, huge, elegant department store, but you enter and you found only navy blue suits, size 42.”
And he laughed at that and they said, “Yes, we want to do more.”
And I started working on that, like different lines like having broadcasting live, like have live broadcasts, especially from Church of the Apostles. And this was a continuation for the people in the Middle East to know what's this vision. Who is Dr. Youssef? Who is Jonathan? Who are those singers in the Church of the Apostles? And I think that made a great connection, especially with those who don’t have churches, like in Nigeria or those places—
[45:25] JONATHAN: Where you're isolated and—
[45:27] Farid: And they write on Facebook when we broadcast live. For example, when you’re preaching they would say, “Oh Jonathan, God bless you and God bless your father. God bless the church,” as if they are there in the church. And in the communion time, they will talk “We don’t have a church, so we’re taking communion with you now. We’re praying.”
And the first time in Easter 2018 it was the first time to do live, God encouraged us by two Arabic speakers in the Middle East giving their lives to the Lord. So it was encouragement so we started that once a month, then during the COVID time, we started to do it on a regular basis. So it’s a great blessing to have these live broadcasts. And we started to introduce a lot of digital platforms, like Apple TV, Roku, Smartphone application. We updated the website and streaming. So we started to add more genres, add more partners from the west and east, so a lot of things happened.
And today the Kingdom Sat reaches 260 million households in the Middle East, and they receive this ministry for free. And anyone with an internet connection can receive the content of the Kingdom Sat.
[46:47] JONATHAN: And let’s talk a little bit about the follow-up process, because you have people that are standing by phones to answer calls. What are some of the questions and feedback that you get from the broadcast?
[47:03] Farid: A lot of viewers are very true seekers, even those from Muslim background, and they are faithful. They really seek God. So they send questions, sometimes in a provoking way, sometimes attacking, but they keep watching. They will attack one time, and then the field team would respond to them in a graceful way and helping them, so they would come back, watch again, and raise another question. And we have great testimonies of those viewers that only watched by chance the Kingdom Sat, they watch some program, and they would keep interacting with us until they become Christians, they commit their lives to the Lord, and they get baptized. Then they join an online study group for discipleship or we would connect them with a local church. So this is one type of persons, those true seekers. And as I said, it changes from very extreme attackers to true seekers that are ready to accept Christ.
And the second persona we serve is the new believers. Some people knew the Lord through the Kingdom Sat or online or somewhere else but they don’t have a place to grow.
[48:37] JONATHAN: They need discipleship, yeah.
[48:39] Farid: Yeah, and not to compare, but the Kingdom Sat is very distinct about presenting biblical teaching, solid. Other ministries would present this shallow content that we spoke about. So that's the second persona, like new believers. Third persona is mature believers who are in ministry, for example, and they want to grow, they want to learn. And some of those viewers would write, for example, in YouTube, “I am watching the series so-and-so for Dr. Youssef. Where is episode number 15? I want to finish it tonight!”
[49:19] JONATHAN: We’re on top of you. That's right.
[49:21] Farid: So they are the three main personas. There are subcategories, but we have a great field team that is dealing 24/7 with any viewer who has a question or he wants a prayer request or they ask even other, general questions.
[49:39] JONATHAN: And what's the risk for those people that are on the ground, field team workers? I mean, you’re working in a hostile environment. It’s not like you’re in Oklahoma fielding calls. You’re in the thick of it.
[49:54] Farid: That have the same risk I faced. And yeah, I mean, but again what I experienced. They are also in the protection of God. But they could be charged, they could be persecuted, detained, or all this could happen in an indirect way by the community, by their families. But this doesn’t stop them. Most of those in the field team are coming from a Muslim background, have theology degree, so that's their life goal, their vision.
[50:39] JONATHAN: Well Farid, your story is just … it’s fascinating to me the beginning with the drama, you coming to the West, coming to America, then going back, facing the adversities, then coming back here and now you're presenting on a global stage the very thing that led you to the Lord. And we’re just so thankful for the work that you do and the work of the Kingdom Sat. And we’re so grateful that you took the time to sit with us and share your story here onCandid Conversations. Thank you for being with us.
[51:13] Farid: Thank you, Jonathan. It’s an honor to be here, and it’s great to be in the kitchen how things are done here. And I see the hand of the Lord every day in this, in your family, in the ministry of the Church of the Apostles, Leading The Way, and it’s God work and I’m very grateful to be here.
[51:35] JONATHAN: Well, we’re grateful for you. Thank you, Farid.
[51:36] Farid: Thank you.
ad heaven awaits