YEAR BORN: 1987
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: AZERBAIJAN
HISTORY: MUSLIM FATHER AND JEWISH MOTHER
I was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, as the second of two children. My father was Muslim, and my mother was Jewish. My parents loved each other and accepted their differing beliefs. Mom supported Dad when he fasted during Ramadan, and Dad supported Mom when she observed the Passover. In our home we had the Koran, the Torah, and the Bible.
I considered myself a Muslim. Although I never questioned God’s existence, there were issues that puzzled me. I wondered, ‘Why did God create humans, and for what useful purpose would someone suffer his entire life only to be tormented forever in hell?’ Since people said that everything that happens is God’s will, I wondered, ‘Is God just a puppeteer who enjoys watching people suffer?’
When I was 12 years old, I started to pray namaz, the Muslim’s five daily ceremonial prayers. About that time, Father sent my sister and me to a Jewish school. Among other subjects, we were taught Torah traditions and the Hebrew language. Before daily classroom lessons, we had to pray according to Jewish tradition. Thus, in the morning, I prayed namaz at home, and later in the day, I joined Jewish prayers in school.
I desperately hungered for logical answers to my questions. I repeatedly asked the rabbis at school: “Why did God create humans? How does God view my Muslim father? He is a good man, so why is he considered unclean? Why did God create him?” The few answers I received were irrational and unconvincing.
HOW THE BIBLE CHANGED MY LIFE:
My faith in God was shattered in 2002. We had just immigrated to Germany when, only a week later, my father suffered a stroke and fell into a coma. For years I had prayed for the health and well-being of my family. Convinced that the Almighty alone has power over life and death, I pleaded every day for the life of my dad. I thought, ‘It is a small thing for God to fulfill a little girl’s heartfelt wish.’ I was sure he would grant my entreaties. But my father died.
Aghast at God’s seeming indifference, I was devastated. ‘Either I am praying the wrong way,’ I reasoned, ‘or God does not exist.’ I was stunned and unable to pray namaz anymore. Other religions did not make sense to me, so I concluded that there is no God.
Six months later, Jehovah’s Witnesses called at our door. Since we did not think highly of Christianity, my sister and I wanted to show them politely that they were wrong. We asked them: “How can Christians worship Jesus, the cross, Mary, and other idols when that is against the Ten Commandments?” From the Scriptures the Witnesses showed us convincing proof that idol worship is forbidden for true Christians and that prayers should be directed exclusively to God. That astonished me.
Then we asked: “What about the Trinity? If Jesus is God, how could he live on earth and be killed by humans?” Again, they answered with the Bible and explained that Jesus is neither God nor equal to Him. The Witnesses explained that for this reason, they do not believe in the Trinity. I was astounded and thought, ‘These are really strange Christians.’
Still, I wanted to know why people die and why God allows suffering. The Witnesses showed me the book Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life, * which contained entire chapters that addressed my questions. They immediately started a Bible study with me.
During each study session, I found sensible, Bible-based answers to my questions. I came to know that God’s name is Jehovah. (Psalm 83:18) His main quality is unselfish love. (1 John 4:8) He created humans because he wanted to share the gift of life. I came to understand that although God permits injustice, he detests it and will soon remove it forever. I learned that the rebellion of Adam and Eve has been detrimental to mankind. (Romans 5:12) Among the sad consequences is the death of beloved ones, such as my father. However, God will undo such tragedies in a coming new world, where those who have died will return to life.
Bible truth satisfied my thirst for answers. I started to believe in God again. As I got to know Jehovah’s Witnesses better, I realized that they are a worldwide brotherhood. The unity and love among them impressed me. (John 13:34, 35) What I learned about Jehovah moved me to want to serve him, so I decided to become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was baptized on January 8, 2005.
HOW I HAVE BENEFITED:
The Bible’s convincing logic changed my whole outlook on life for the better. The credible explanations I found through God’s Word bring me inner peace. I draw great joy and comfort from the hope of seeing my father again through the resurrection promised in God’s Word.
For six years I have been happily married to my God-fearing husband, Jonathan. We have both learned that the truth about God is logical and simple, yet at the same time a priceless treasure. That is why we appreciate sharing our faith and our wonderful hope with others. Today I know that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not “strange” but are true Christians.
^ par. 15 Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses but now out of print.