Even before Necati Aydin gave his life for Christ on April 18, 2007, in Malatya, Turkey, he had already made great sacrifices to follow Jesus. One of the greatest of those was sacrificing his relationship with his Muslim family, who rejected Necati when he refused to return to Islam.
When his father died in 1999, Necati's brothers didn't even tell him for several days—a serious affront in Turkish culture—so that Necati was unable to be there for the funeral and burial.
After his own death, one of those brothers released a letter Necati had written to his family about his faith. The letter clearly shows the humble spirit and rock-solid faith of the man who would later lay down his very life for the Savior:
My beloved mom, my beloved dad, my beloved brothers and sisters:
First of all, I greet and kiss you in the exalted name of the Lord Jesus Christ. After so much confusion and conflict I have decided to live separated from you so that I may retain and live out my faith in Jesus Christ and keep this truth till the end. This decision was not made based on fear or on anything that I longed for or demanded, but was made after much conflict in myself. Therefore accuse no one else. Do not wear yourselves out by thinking about all of the possible theories. I have returned to where I belong. I have returned to Jesus and the fellowship of His church.
Just as you are my physical family, I also have a family in the Spirit. Do not be afraid or worried about my separation from you! Do not be sad and do not be depressed! For I have not been saved to lose something, but rather to gain something eternally. Therefore rejoice! I have gained this salvation through my faith in Jesus. Neither poverty, nor difficulty, neither illness, nor evil, neither death, nor a person can turn me away from this saving faith. The power I have to live and be saved—my spiritual arteries, so to speak—are bound to Jesus in faith. To live without Him means to deserve death and eternal separation.
From now on in our relationship I will love you, remain in contact with you, and pray for you, that you may also be saved. However, I do not want you to call us at the moment or contact us in another manner, but rather that you be patient and wait a little, to extinguish the feelings of your hatred, that you may plant love, tenderness, and understanding in its place, and most of all that you meet Jesus Christ, who is the "truth, way and life," that you believe on Him and thus gain eternal life.
I love you. May the Lord let you encounter His truth. Amen!
Jesus said that "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:37). Clearly, Necati Aydin loved Jesus more than he loved his own parents and family; yet out of that love grew his clear passion to see them reached with the gospel message and the love of Jesus.
Necati's powerful story is told in Faithful Until Death, available from VOM.
Join the Discussion: Have you ever had to sacrifice a relationship in order to follow the call of Christ on your life? Share your story in the comments below.