From Mosque to Church

 

 

When I was a child and during my youth years I always desired to be faithful and to be close to God. I always thought of Him as the Creator and ruler of all creation.

I was born and raised in the city of Bursa, Turkey. Because we were poor, all the members of my family worked and contributed to the family budget. I was selling pretzel-like pastry on the streets.

In Bursa there are many cemeteries and when I was passed them I always used to pray for the dead. As years passed by, I deeply desired to know God more and more. I felt that I should know Him and I should have a living relationship with Him. I knew to read Arabic only a little bit; therefore, in order to understand what the Koran says, I started to read it in Turkish. I learned many things which I hadn't known and the Islam in the Koran was different than how Moslems lived. Besides reading the Koran I also started reading the Hadith (sayings of Mohammad which are considered holy) and books about Islam. I had a great hunger for the truth of God. I tried to do daily prayers according to Islam. I tried my best, but even with all this I still wasn't a perfect Moslem.

Whenever I prayed and did ritual prayers, I felt like my prayers and rituals did not reach God's presence, instead they were stuck on the wall and couldn't go through it. Even though I was trying to pray and do good deeds, He never answered my prayers. While my further investigation on religion continued, questions rose in my mind and I saw contradictions in the Koran and in the Hadith. I wondered which verses in Koran and sayings in Hadith were correct. I wondered about the solution to my sins. It seemed that there was no solution for my sins; the solution was simply to suffer in Hell for a while and after this "while" (which was some billions of years of torment in Hell), I would be able to go to Heaven. The rewards in Heaven were really interesting; such as "rivers of honey and wine", and Moslems were prohibited to drink wine in their mortal life. Why are they going to be permitted to drink there since they can't do it in this life? Men were promised to have heavenly concubines as reward in Heaven, but how about women?

After a while, I was convinced that Islam was not the religion which could lead me to God. I wondered about the Old and New Testament, which Moslems believe have been changed. I decided to read them and decide for myself if they have been changed or not. Besides, when I looked at the verses in the Koran regarding the Holy Bible, it says "there is light and truth in it" and Jews and Christians were advised to read "their" books and to receive counsel from "their" books. After learning this I tried to find a Bible in my home town of Bursa. Books on Islam could be found in number of zillions, there were even books criticizing the Bible; but for some reason they didn't sell any Bible at all.

One day in an Islamic newspaper I saw a news about the Christian missionaries and the newspaper gave the mailing address of the missionaries. I wrote down the address and sent a letter later requesting a New Testament, but I didn't tell anyone what I was doing because there was great pressure in society to conform to its patterns.

Because the owner of the post box was overseas, my letter was returned to me. The post office might have notified the post box owner after his return, I thought this because I received a letter asking me if I received the materials they sent me or not. I notified them that I did not receive what they had sent me. They sent me the same materials again and this time I received them. I found the materials very interesting, because what was said in the booklets was different than what I had thought about Christ and what was taught to me during the religion classes which are still mandatory in every school in Turkey. In this classes they mainly teach Islam and other religions in the light of Islam.

I sent another letter to the missionaries requesting a New Testament. They sent me one, plus some more booklets about Christianity. When I read the New Testament for the first time, I found it very interesting, because it told how Jesus Christ had come to the earth, performed miracles and even resurrected the dead. After reading this, I thought "these things happened almost 2,000 years ago. What kind of impact could they and Christ Himself, have on me?" Frankly, the New Testament sounded like a novel, but interesting feelings occurred in my heart. A voice in my heart told me that I needed to read the New Testament a second time, and I did so. Everything seemed clearer. When I came to a passage in the Gospel of John, a voice in my heart told me to believe in Christ and to believe that he died for my sins. Such a thing had never happened in all my life and I decided to act according to the voice. I said a little prayer acknowledging Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior who died to pay the price of my sins. After saying this prayer, I felt great peace and joy in my heart. I felt as if I was born again! How happy I was!

Since that experience, a living and a personal relationship started with God. I started talking to Him continually, without stopping. He became my best friend. he wasn't a God who would greatly enjoy tormenting my soul in Hell, but a loving and a sacrificing God, who entered human life as Jesus Christ, and then gave Himself to provide payment for my sins. By His Spirit, He now lives in me. What a great God we have!!

God has enriched my life since 1990 and He is my closest friend with whom I can share my whole life. Whoever reads my testimony, please open your heart to the Great Creator, ask Him to tell you who Jesus Christ is, and the Great One will answer your prayer.

My best regards,

 

Yilmaz

 

From: http://www.isaalmasih.net/

 

 

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