When I was nine years old I began to attend the Mosque due to the influence of my grandmother who was a very devout Muslim. My parents were not that devout. At this same time I began to ask many questions about God. I really desired to know more about Him. At thirteen I began to read the Qur'an in Turkish. It started to bring out many questions about one person in particular. This person was Jesus Christ as the Word of God. I also began to think about an older religion that the Qur'an was talking about, Christianity. This was my first encounter with Jesus.
The second influence about Jesus came from Victor Hugo's book (LesMiserable). In this novel the life of the priest really influenced me. The third influence really pushed me to the Bible. This came through the TV series, "Little House on the Prairie". It was here that I first met a Christian family. They were talking with God as if He was their friend. How could they just talk to God like He was one of their friends? This really had an impact on me, because if you need to talk with God in my religion you first needed to perform so many rituals.
Because of these three influences I decided to visit a church, so I went to one near my house. I asked some questions there but the answers didn't seem adequate to me. In any case, I kept attending for one year. On the same street there was one small Bible bookstore, the only one in Istanbul. I met with a believer there and he invited me to a small meeting. From the outset the preaching from the Bible and the verse by verse commentary really influenced me. I believe that it was in that meeting that I truly understood who Jesus was. This knowledge created a lot of stress inside me. It even affected my blood pressure. This stress came from my spiritual ties with our nationalistic fundamental culture. According to this view if a Turk converted to any other religion, mainly Christianity, he would betray his own nation. These thoughts disturbed me deeply. But on the other hand, I was hearing the call of Jesus as a peaceful voice.
At this time I began to study Arabic Literature and Islamic History at Istanbul University. During my studies it seemed I was always encountering Jesus for I could see Him in the midst of the Islamic main sources. If one was looking for the creator of Life, He was there as the Word of God. And He was in fact God himself. I finally understood why the term the "Word of God" influenced me in the Koran. Satan can twist most of the reality but he cannot hide it fully. And so I finally understood this reality in the midst of my Islamic studies. There was simply no way to escape this Jesus and so I decided to pray and receive Him as my Lord and Savior.
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