- Manage the Upper Dwelling!

Manage the Upper Dwelling!

How do I tell a Turk something about God when he can only think about his house in Turkey?How can I bridge the gap?

Mehmet is 70 years old and still knows something about cutting hair. He has been living in a large German city for more than 30 years and has a small barber shop. Because he only charges 8 Euro for a haircut, it doesn’t matter if he can’t hear well anymore, speaks only Turkish and is a bit old. He still has customers, even lots of Germans. An acquaintance of mine told me about him. He calls himself Muslim, but does drink alcohol every once in a while. For quite some time, he has actually wanted to quit work and retire, but that can’t happen. For many years he didn’t pay into the pension fund, because he thought he would be returning to Turkey. Now he has to work in his old age.  

He does have a well-to-do son who is the manager of a company in the automobile supply sector. He boats about him, because he has managed to achieve something. But that doesn’t help him any. Just like other Turks, his son has adopted the German way of life in many ways: “Everyone forges his own fortune”, as the German saying goes. People don’t take care of their family members or others much anymore, because they don’t have any time. Yet things are different in Turkey. Old age is respected, helpfulness and commitment in the family are very important. But he doesn’t want to talk about it. When I visited him this time, I prayed beforehand that I could find a way to his heart. Jehovas Witnesses have visited him often, but gave up. What can I tell him? In his thoughts he is in his house which he built for his retirement, like many other German Turks. It has four stories and he rents out two of them. His mind is completely preoccupied with the maintenance and repairs. I listen to his report and ask him out loud: “Have you ever taken care of the house up there?” I point my finger upwards. He doesn’t understand at first, but then says that it’s not in good order. He says he isn’t a hypocrite like many others who go pray in the mosque and then behave badly. He has made donations here and there and helped others. When I ask “Is that enough for the dwelling in heaven?”, he is unsure. He shakes his head doubtfully. I tell him about Jesus Christ and explain that Jesus can provide a safe place in heaven, without our good works. He’s interested in that. I make a drawing on a piece of paper to show that there is a great gap between us and God because of our sins. Jesus is like a bridge for us which helps us to cross that gap. He is very touched. But then he bursts out: “How can that be? The Bible is supposedly fake. Is that true? Christians say that Jesus is God. God can’t have a son! There is only one God.”


Wohnhaus in der Türkei

At first I am completely taken aback. This old and not particularly religious man has these typical Muslim objections at the back of his head, which seem to me like some sort of brainwashing from childhood. And the  Turkish media have built further barriers against Christ. That’s why I try to give him a few pertinent points to think about in a few brief sentences, to help him overcome those barriers. We say a cordial goodbye. Will anything stick in his mind? The next time I visit  him, he is overjoyed and obviously glad to see me. He’s worried about his house again, as well as other things. He doesn’t mention the topic of the house up on high. I wait and pray for the next opportunity to say something!

That’s the situation of many Turks in Germany. They have worries, just like we do. They have hopes which shatter. In addition, it’s difficult for them because of language problems, the mixing of cultures and the resulting absence of emotional bonds. Ashamedly we see time and again that before we Christians seek them out, the Jehovas Witnesses have already stopped by. The typical Muslim arguments against redemption through Christ block their access to faith. And still there are opportunities to show them the way. Let’s use them!


Quelle: Orientdienst, aus Orientierung 2010-05


Author: Henriette Ludwig