Matta Comes to Christ, Becomes a Church Planter
December 11, 2012
Matta grew up in a Muslim family in Turkey. His parents sent him to Koran school every summer, where he learned to read the Koran. He remembers as a child watching “Little House on the Prairie” on TV with his family. He would watch them relate to each other as a family, go to church every week, and pray at their meals. One day his mother said, “You know those infidels are better people than we are.” Those words stayed with him.
When he was 20 years old there was a book fair in his town, where someone had set up a stand selling Christian literature. The stand was bombed and the man killed. After this he wanted nothing to do with Islam. He would not have considered himself an atheist, but he did not practice any religion.
After marrying, he was reading a newspaper and there was an ad for a free New Testament. He phoned the number and asked for one. Two weeks later a package came, but when he opened it, it was empty. He phoned back and asked them to send another, and a few weeks later a copy of the Gospel of John arrived. He wanted to read it, but as a Muslim he was taught that holy books should be handled properly. Not sure how to handle this holy book, he put it on the shelf. After about three months of hardships in his life, he decided to read it. After he read it, he did not become a believer in Christ because he was not sure what it meant, but he knew that it was the truth. He did not know any Christians in his city to talk with.
A change of jobs moved him and his wife to another city away from his family, and he continued to read the New Testament. One day his boss, who was a very good friend of his, asked him to lunch and said he had something to confide in him. He said he had gone to Istanbul on vacation and visited a church there, took a Bible, read it, and had become a believer in Jesus. Matta stood up and hugged him, and told him, “Me, too!” They began studying together and found another mature believer in their city who discipled them. They joined a church in the city and began worshipping the Lord there. Matta began studying at a Bible school and later graduated.
After coming to Jesus, his life really changed, but it was not all easy. He had some problems at his work due to trusting the wrong people. He ended up in financial trouble, and the Lord seemed to bring him to a crossroads in his life. Jesus seemed to be saying, “Follow me and trust me with all parts of your life or continue on in the world.”
One day in 2003 his pastor challenged him to help a brother start a new church. He felt the Lord calling him to this. The other brothers and sisters encouraged him to be the pastor of that new church.
Now both his church and his family are continuing to grow in the Lord’s favor. The Lord has given his church a great task and vision. His church is the only evangelical church in a vast area, and he can drive six hours in any direction before he can reach another church. With the Lord’s help he is working not just to grow his own church, but at the same time to meet and disciple isolated believers throughout this remote area, and to establish local churches around them.