Christ’s Love in the Middle East

Rachel Chimits

A young man in Turkey shares how he went from a faithful Muslim to a Christian along with his entire family.

World Challenge supports church leaders in the Middle East, several of whom work with refugees from Syria. Around 600 of these Muslims have come to Christ and are now founding house churches throughout Turkey and Greece. One young man shared about his journey to Christ with us.

It all started during the war in Syria, especially in our hometown of Afrin. At that time, I was living in Istanbul, but I was shocked when I saw the cruel killings and how Muslims cut off the heads of Kurdish people and were attacking Kurdish mosques. 

I talked with my brother about all the events in Syria and how our Muslim brothers were trying to kill us. How can brothers in Islam murder each other? Questions left my head buzzing as I was talking to my brother.

Then my brother said, “These Muslims, who are supposed to be our brothers, kill us; so I denounced Islam. I left Islam, and I became a Christian. Muslims don't acknowledge us, our history, our language. In fact, one of the sayings of Mohammad is that the Kurds are of the devil and they should be killed!”

Hearing all of this was such a shock. I decided to investigate further.

Knocking and Opening Doors

I went back home to check if Mohammad had actually said such things about the Kurds, and to my dismay, it was true.

I studied more, trying to draw comparisons between God in Islam and Christianity. I didn’t know anything about Christianity. All I knew was that Christians were infidels. They believed that God had a son from a physical relationship with a human woman, which is profane in Islam. It wasn’t easy for me to understand their belief that God incarnated in the flesh.

My brother told me to come with him to church, and so I went. From the first moment I walked through the doors, I felt a peace and comfort, especially when I heard their worship songs. The next week, my brother talked to the church leaders, and they gave me a Bible to read.

I wanted to read the Christian scriptures, but I didn’t know where to start, so I turned to the first page and began with the book of Genesis and how God created the heavens and the earth. Next, I read from the Psalms and then went to the New testament. I learned about how God loves us and why he loved us. One of the first people groups to learn about the birth of Christ were the Magi, and through other studies, I found out that they could be Kurds. In Islam, Magi are also considered unclean; but in the Bible, they are held in high esteem.

I started watching a Christian TV program hosted by a famous believer with a Muslim background. After watching this program for weeks, I started to think that we blindly follow the Quran without understanding it. We were not allowed to question the words of Quran, and I was fooled for many years.

But I was curious to know more about Christ. Who is he, and why did he come to the world? Why he was crucified?

Understanding the Savior

Through my studies, I came to the conclusion that God is love; and because of his love, he became flesh and sacrificed his life for us so he can bring us back to him. Around this time, my wife and I decided to leave Islam and follow Christ.

Right after this decision, problems started. My parents and family members asked us not to go to church.

In the beginning, I obeyed their wishes and didn’t go because I didn’t want to cause problems with them. Instead, I sat with them and discussed Islam, the things the prophet did, his moral life, the wars he waged, killings and so on for hours. I told them that what the Muslims did to our people in Afrin is because the prophet Mohammad did it before and instructed his followers to do so after him. All of this is written in the Quran and in tradition, and I showed them the evidence.

At first, they resisted me, but slowly they began to enjoy these talks and wake up from the nightmare. After they were totally convinced that Islam was wrong and darkness, I open the Bible and started to speak to them about God and his love, how he died for us and bought our salvation.

My mother also struggled to understand how Jesus is God, so I showed her some Christian programs on YouTube that explain the deity of Christ. Soon she was convinced, and she gave her life to Jesus.

The first person who came to Jesus was my mother, then my father and finally my other brother and sister-in-law.

Now this young man’s whole family is following Christ and have become a part of a house church. World Challenge is helping to provide funding and training for new leaders in these house churches.