Offering forgiveness to a persecutor can be a powerful witness for Christ. For Semse Aydin, the God-given ability to forgive those who brutally tortured and killed her husband spoke more loudly to the people of Turkey than years of quiet outreach.
In April 2007, Tilman Geske, Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel were murdered in the offices of the Zirve Publishing House in Malatya. Several young men between the ages of 18 and 22 entered the Christian publishing office, tied the men to chairs and tortured them before slitting their throats. Tilman, a German national, had lived in Turkey for more than 10 years and was working on a Bible translation project. Necati was a former Muslim who had moved his family to Malatya from another part of Turkey to plant a church. And Ugur was another Turkish Christian who had converted from Islam.
Semse, Necati's widow, viewed her ability to forgive her husband's killers as a gift from God. "I didn't work at trying to forgive them," she said. "God just gave me a gift." That gift didn't lessen Semse's suffering, though. "I suffer a lot," she said. "I'm going to suffer till the day I die. But I'm not sorry for moving here. This was the best thing that could happen for him. He did a miracle; he did a wonderful thing. Necati created a very beautiful scenario of his life."
Semse waits expectantly to see how the Lord will use Necati's life to bear fruit in Turkey, but she believes it will take time. "The Lord told me, 'When I died, the whole world didn't bow their knee,'" she said. "And the Lord told me, 'Don't worry, it's going to take a while.'" While their church shrank to about half its former size after the murders, Semse knows of at least one person who came to faith after Necati's death.
Last year, Semse and her two children visited VOM and shared about how they are doing. "After my husband died five years ago, we have victory and we have a lot of pain, especially when we feel alone," she told us. "Because after people went home, we felt really badly alone. But we have a partnership in the Gethsemane garden with Jesus. And I'm so happy for Jesus to take me with him to Gethsemane garden.
"And if you want to glorify Jesus, I want to encourage you. This story is not a drama. This story is not about death. This story is about victory, about gain and about encouragement. I know God showed his love to Turkey, not only on the cross but by Necati's blood, too. And how can I say, 'Why? Why do you give me this suffering or this cross?' Just I'm asking God to help me to hold his cross and to lead people to help me to hold his cross with me."
Hear the full interview with Semse here.
Check out the book "I Am N" here.
Learn more about Voice of The Martyrs here.
© 2016 Voice of the Martyrs. I Am N is published by David C Cook. All rights reserved.