Seminarian Timothy Aytac, a Turkish convert from Islam, who suffered not only rejection but also persecution and violence in his country, expressed his desire to return to his native Turkey to serve the Church in the ministry of the priesthood.
“They beat me with a baseball bat for converting to Christianity,” Aytac told the Spanish newspaper “La Razon,” explaining his difficult path towards conversion to the Christian faith.
“I met Christians through a friend when I was 18. I spoke often with my Christian friends about religion, and thanks to that I realized that I really didn’t know that much about Christianity. So I began to read the Bible,” said Aytac.
“My conversion was a process that lasted almost two years. I was fascinated by Jesus, by his love for mankind, especially for me, because He gave his life for me on the cross. On the outside, there are not many differences between Christianity and Islam, but when you get interested and begin to compare, you realize the differences are great, especially in the essentials. When I was a Muslim, to me Jesus was only one of the prophets. Now I believe He is the Son of God,” he added.
Asked about the reaction from those around him, Aytac said his decision was not accepted by his family and he had to leave home.
“In my country, when I speak about my faith I am safest behind the walls of a church. Behind those walls there is no problem, I can speak and act freely. Although sometimes I cannot be at ease: one time I was attacked in a church, I was struck with a baseball bat. Fortunately they didn’t hit my head, which could have killed me!”
The future priest says he is no longer afraid of persecution “because I belong to Christ, it doesn’t matter if I am alive or dead.” Therefore, he is intent upon returning to Turkey after being ordained.