Our worker Turgay Yusuf shares his testimony.
A typical Turkish Cypriot lad living in the UK, my career choices were limited to the rag trade or the kebab restaurant. So, after school, I chose the rag trade. But a policeman encouraged me to apply for the police because I was bilingual. After gruelling training, I was thrown in the deep end as a Detective Constable, posted to Holloway Police Station. The pressure started on my first day – dealing alone with eight prisoners who’d gang raped a young girl. It didn't stop.
Things looked so good on the outside. The first ever Turkish DC, famous in the Turkish papers, complete with a house, a car and a beautiful wife. But behind closed doors, things inside were rotten. Caught up in the drinking culture, I’d come home drunk every night... if I came home at all. The whole neighbourhood knew about the arguments and abuse. I needed help and it wasn't a counsellor. Something had to change.
After one of our relentless fights, I cried out to God, ‘If you're up there, I need you!’ Soon after, a friend invited me to hear evangelist Luis Palau. He spoke about the sin that separated us from God and the new life available through Jesus’ death and resurrection. It cut my heart but I didn’t want him to stop. I just knew it was all true – ironic, as I was by trade a distrusting detective. A couple of days later, a Baptist minister came round and went over the gospel again. On my knees, weeping, I recognised Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. When my mum and mother-in-law found out, they spat in my face. My mother-in-law attacked me and accused me of brainwashing her daughter. My cousin still won’t speak to me, and some Muslims I met threatened me, saying, ‘If you were in Pakistan, we would kill you.’
But now, life is totally different. I have a living hope, and I’m at peace no matter what is going on around me. My marriage is healed – we’re in our 37th year and our three grown up children are doing well. My zeal for sharing the gospel has not ceased since being saved. Many times the Lord has led me to walk up to a stranger and say, ‘Look, this sounds weird but...’ I’ve never had anyone say to me, ‘You weirdo!’ or ‘Go away!’ It's always been, ‘Funny you have come up to me... I was thinking about God!’ or ‘I was praying this morning, asking God to send me someone to encourage me!’. But it’s not always that easy. When my uncle was dying a couple of years ago, I went to his bedside. But I was tongue-tied, and he died without hearing about Jesus. I felt guilty for a long time.
Please remember, whether they know it or not, people are looking for Jesus. They’re waiting for loving Christians to invade their lives, make friends and tell them the hope of the gospel in a relevant way. I know because that was me. All things really do work for the good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.
This article first appeared in Changing London. Turgay leads our team in Newham, which is the focus of our Easter 2019 appeal.