Guest / Limited Access /

Call it a divine appointment, fate, or poor city planning, but without it, Necati Aydin and Semse Kilciksiz never would have crossed paths.

Wearing the heavy beard that marked him as a devout Muslim, Necati (pronounced ne-JAH-tee) would never have taken a seat on the bus next to a Christian woman. But he was tired, and the public transportation system in Izmir, the city known in the New Testament as Smyrna, was overcrowded that day in 1994. He would never have spoken to Semse (SHEM-sa). But he was curious about the book she was reading.

Semse should never have told him about the Bible. In Turkey, Christians suspected of attempting to proselytize Muslims can find themselves under arrest. Necati accused her of being a foreign missionary. Semse considered herself a loyal Turk, and she boldly responded, "We should all be missionaries of our faith. Aren't you a missionary?"

Her response caught him off guard, and he inquired again with sincerity. And so began a friendship between Necati and Semse centered on Jesus. Each day they talked on the bus. As she went to her job as a secretary, he went to classes with a radical Islamic teacher. Within a year, Necati quit school and accepted the claims of Christ. He was disowned by his family—who threatened to kill Semse—and lost his job in the process.

The two had also become engaged to marry. In a culture where family is everything, the couple was cut off and alone. "We were so scared, but in love," Semse told Christianity Today during an interview in Turkey.

A Last Goodbye

Necati soon grew as committed to outreach as his wife. In 2000, he served a month in prison on trumped-up charges when police caught him distributing Christian literature. The couple attended Karatas Christian ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedHow It Feels to Love and Hate a Sex Offender
How It Feels to Love and Hate a Sex Offender
Abusers’ families are secondary victims, left to reconcile their conflicting emotions.
TrendingReligious Freedom vs. LGBT Rights? It's More Complicated
Religious Freedom vs. LGBT Rights? It's More Complicated
The legal context for what's happening at Gordon College, and how Christians can respond despite intense cultural backlash.
Editor's PickWhat We Talk About When We Talk About 'Birth Control'
What We Talk About When We Talk About 'Birth Control'
Meaningful debate requires us to define the terms of discussion.
Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article. Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.

Christianity Today
A Victorious Family
hide thisJanuary January

In the Magazine

January 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.