Metin Mintaz is a long-standing partner of TEN in Turkey who was formerly the pastor of the Great Commission Protestant Church in Istanbul, Turkey. His desire is to see the Turkish people come to know our Heavenly Father, and to boldly live for Him so that others may see and believe.
Between 1970 and 1980, Turkey was in complete political chaos. Like everyone else, Metin too participated in politics and in those days there were only two extremes: you either had to be a conservative or a liberal. It was impossible to be outside of politics. If you claimed independency, you would be stopped by someone who would demand whether you were conservative or liberal. If you were on the side of the questioner – no problem! But if you were on the opposing side, you couldn’t escape without getting beaten up.Metin preaching
In 1980 there was a military rebellion and Turkey entered a brand new phase. There was an increase in fundamentalist Islam, but Metin, who was an atheist, became more strongly attached to my atheism. Religious issues were talked about everywhere and he would enter into the debates to prove that there was no God.
At that time, Metin began to read the Quran in order to better prove that there was no God, but was unable to finish it as it bored and frustrated him. If God was the God explained in the Quran, he couldn’t believe. Even though he claimed to live as an atheist, Metin actually thought that a God must exist. There were many times when, while experiencing difficulties, he would say that he wished there was a God so that he could take shelter in Him as he would in a father. But if God did exist He would have shown Himself to him in his struggles.
THERE WERE MANY TIMES WHEN, WHILE EXPERIENCING DIFFICULTIES, I WOULD SAY THAT I WISHED THERE WAS A GOD SO THAT I COULD TAKE SHELTER IN HIM AS I WOULD IN A FATHER.
Metin remembers very well a night in 1990, during a time of depression, when he rebelled at the God he thought must exist and argued with him. “What kind of God are you? Even as a mere human I am willing to sacrifice my life for my children. I consider them the most important beings in my life. However, you are God and supposedly you created me, but you show no interest in us. Do you only look after the dead? I need you now!”
The next day he saw an advert in a newspaper, ‘Have you ever read the New Testament?’ Metin sent a letter to the address. Four months passed and he received a small booklet, but he had wanted a New Testament and to meet a Christian. At the same time, I saw an advert for a bookshop: ‘Publications connected with the New Testament, Pentateuch, Psalms and Christianity.’ He went to the address. There they gave him a brief explanation of Christianity, but he didn’t understand much. They also gave him a New Testament.
Before reading the New Testament he had researched the Quran but he did not find God there in any shape or form. What he was looking for was not a belief but a personal relationship with God. Was that possible? He learned through his experience with Christ that this could be true. He wanted to feel Him in every area of his life. To feel God close beside him like a true friend is something beyond faith, for Metin says “I am not His slave but His friend. It is a great mercy to be the friend of God.”
Metin took the New Testament and went home, where he began to read it. At first he was bored; it read like a story. But as he read, it was as if God began to speak to him. He remembered the night he had rebelled against God and fought with Him. God was responding to his accusations through the words of the New Testament.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.” When he read these words it was as if God patted his back with the compassion of a father and as if he heard Him say, “Metin, you never had to give your life for your children, but I sacrificed my only Son for you.” That moment he felt Him caress me with the compassion of a father. He fell to my knees and repented, saying, “All right God, You seem to love me more than I love my own children. But I had no knowledge of your incomparable love. Now I want to claim the right to be your child.”
HE FELL TO HIS KNEES AND REPENTED, SAYING, “ALL RIGHT GOD, YOU SEEM TO LOVE ME MORE THAN I LOVE MY OWN CHILDREN”.
From that day on Metin’s life took a 180-degree turn. Now he felt God’s hand in every part of his life like the hand of a compassionate father. Whatever the situation he was in, these words from the New Testament give him confidence: “You are my son, and today I have become your Father.” In 1991 Metin was baptised and his wife, Eda belived one year later. Now they have a daughter and a son who are also believers. Praise be to God!
From 2000 the number of Turkish believers in our community has steadily grown and today all leaders and most of the church members are Turkish.
We are living in a country that faces a lot of difficulties. But God is powerful and He gives us power in our services.