I recently had the privilege of speaking with a Muslim convert to Christianity. Thousands of Muslims have experienced dreams and visions of God, and “Baris” took the time to share how a vision of Jesus changed his life.
When I asked Baris to share his testimony, he spoke about his devout Muslim family who means everything to him. He arrived in the United States as a graduate student more than a decade ago, and now owns several businesses. In Turkey, he was a “missionary” of the Islamic faith, and he continued to live as a good Muslim here in the United States. In his first year as a graduate student, he says he did read part of the Bible, but put it aside. He married a woman from a strict Muslim family, and on Friday nights, he and his friends studied the Quran.
About a year ago, he found a Turkish translation of the New Testament online. “It really affected me,” he says, and he kept reading secretly. The Quran had taught him that the Bible was corrupted and that Jesus was only a prophet. Baris said, “I felt conflicted,” but he wanted answers about Jesus. Each night, he locked himself in a small room of his house to pray for at least an hour.
One night, while praying, God gave him a vision of Jesus Christ as the Creator God. It was a startling revelation. He continued to pray and read from the New Testament. Not long after this, he had another vision of Jesus. Baris said, “His love really poured into my heart.” He felt an overwhelming and indescribable love. He knelt down to confess his love and belief in Jesus that night, just before he was to see family in Turkey.
Baris’s wife sensed that something was different. He felt compelled to tell her all that he had experienced and that he had become a Christian. Immediately, she wanted a divorce.
Even with that set back, Baris wanted to tell his brother about his experience. “Will you believe me if I tell you something that happened to me?” he asked his brother. Baris’s brother listened and said nothing. The next day, his brother and one of their mutual friends escorted him to a psychiatrist. Baris believed it would be a half-hour visit and a chance to share his testimony.
The visit turned into a defense of his Christian faith at a psychiatric hospital. The hospital staff seemed convinced that his vision had been some sort of hallucination. He was forced to take psychotropic drugs, and one doctor tried to reason with him and convince Baris to return to his Muslim faith. Another doctor did an internet search and discovered that Jesus had appeared to other Muslims through visions. Several committee meetings later, the hospital decided they could not declare him crazy on the basis of his Christian faith.
When his parents received word of all that had happened, Baris met them for a hard conversation in Istanbul. He told them about his visions and that he had decided to follow Jesus. His dad threatened to disown him, but Baris told his father, “You can even kill me and I won’t change my mind.” His mother fainted.
His father agreed to treat his son as an atheist. His brother later asked him why he had to look at a Bible at all. “I wanted to seek the truth,” he told him.
Today, Baris has a church home in America, where he continues to learn about Jesus. He is also teaching members of the church how to reach out to Muslims.
Like the thousands of Muslims who have had dreams and visions of Jesus, Baris’s life was transformed through Christ’s power. It came with a price, but it was one he was willing to pay in order to know the truth.
Ann Kay is a writer for VOM. She learned about VOM five years ago when she read Tortured for Christ and began receiving the newsletter. She is passionate about reaching the world for Christ and sharing stories of the persecuted church.