Many people ask me how a preacher or priest in Christianity can ever go to Islam, especially considering all the negative things that we hear about Islam and Muslims everyday.
Some people are simply curious, while others take a profound exception to my “conversion” to Islam. Some have asked how I could have turned my back on Jesus, or if I truly understood the Holy Ghost and some even questioned whether or not I considered myself as “born again” or had ever really been saved at all. These are good questions to which I will offer answers to at the end of this writing.
I would like to thank everyone for their interest and offer my humble story, God Willing.
One very nice Christian gentleman asked me in email why and how I left Christianity for Islam. This is more or less a copy of the letter I sent to him.
My name is Yusuf Estes now, but in years past my friends used to call me Skip. I have preached Christianity and worked in the entertainment and music industry since I was a boy in the 1950’s. My father and I have established music stores, TV and radio programs and outdoor entertainment for fun (and profit).
Born a Strong Christian
I was born into a very strong Christian family in the Midwest. Our family and their ancestors not only built the churches and schools across this land, but actually were the same ones who came here in the first place.
While I was still in elementary we relocated to Houston, Texas in 1949 – “I’m old”. We attended church regularly and I was baptized at the age of 12 in Pasadena, Texas. As a teenager, I wanted to visit other churches to learn more of their teachings and beliefs. The Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Charismatic movements, Nazarene, Church of Christ, Church of God, Church of God in Christ, Full Gospel, Agape, Catholic, Presbyterian and many more.
I developed quite a thirst for the “Gospel” or as we say; “Good News.” My research into religion did not stop with Christianity. Not at all. Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Metaphysics, native American beliefs were all a part of my studies. Just about the only one that I did not look into seriously was “Islam”. Why? Good question.
Anyway, I became very interested in different types of music, especially Gospel and Classical. Because my whole family was religious and musical it followed that I too would begin my studies in both areas. All this set me for the logical position of Music Minister in many of the churches that I became affiliated with over the years. I started teaching keyboard instruments in 1960 and by 1963 owned my own studios in Laurel, Maryland, called “Estes Music Studios.”
Business Projects in Texas, Oklahoma and Florida
Over the next 30 years my father and I worked together in many business projects. We had entertainment programs, shows and attractions. We opened piano and organ stores all the way from Texas and Oklahoma to Florida.
We had earned millions of dollars during those years, but could not find the peace of mind that can only come through knowing the truth and finding the real plan of salvation. I’m sure you have asked yourself the question; “Why did God create me?” or “What is it that God wants me to do?” or “Exactly who is God, anyway?” “Why do we believe in ‘original sin?” and “Why would the sons of Adam be forced to accept his ‘sins’ and then as a result be punished forever.” But if you asked anyone these questions, they would probably tell you that you have to believe without asking, or that it is a ‘mystery’ and you shouldn’t ask – “Just have faith, brother.”
Strangely enough, the word “Trinity” is not in the Bible. And it has been a concern for religious scholars as early as 200 years after Jesus was raised up by Almighty God. I would ask preachers or ministers to give me some sort of an idea how ‘one’ could figure out to become ‘three’ or how God Himself, Who can do anything He Wills to do, cannot just forgive people’s sins, but rather he had to become a man, come down on earth, be a human, and then take on the sins of all people; keeping in mind that all along He is still God of the whole universe and does as He Wills to do, both in and outside of the universe as we know it. They never seemed to be able to come up with anything other than opinions or strange analogies.
Father – Ordained non-denominational Minister
My father was very active in supporting church work, especially church school programs. He became an ordained minister in the 1970s. He and his wife (my stepmother) knew many of the TV evangelists and preachers and even visited Oral Roberts and helped in the building of the “Prayer Tower” in Tulsa, OK. They also were strong supporters of Jimmy Swaggart, Jim and Tammy Fae Bakker, Jerry Fallwell, John Haggi and the biggest enemy to Islam in America, Pat Robertson.
Distributing “Praise” Tapes for Jesus
During the early 1980’s my Dad and his wife worked together and were most active in recording “Praise” tapes and distributing them for free to people in retirement homes, hospitals and homes for the elderly. We were really “winning souls to the Lord – for Jesus” day after day.
Met a man from Egypt
It was early in 1991 when my father began doing business with a man from Egypt and told me that he wanted me to meet him. This idea appealed to me when I thought about the idea of having an international flavor. You know, the pyramids, sphinx, Nile River and all that.
He was a “Moslem”
Hijackers; Kidnappers; Bombers, Terrorists – and who knows what else?
Then my father mentioned that this man was a ‘Moslem.’ First, I hated the idea of meeting an “infidel, hijacker, kidnapper, bomber, terrorist, non-believer.” Any normal person would be repulsed at the idea. I couldn’t believe my ears. A ‘Moslem?’ No way! I reminded my dad of the various different things that we had heard about these people.
Lies against Muslims & Islam
They don’t even believe in God
They worship a black box in the desert.
And they kiss the ground five times a day.
No Way! I Did Not Want to Meet Him!
I did not want to meet this ‘Moslem’ man. No way! My father insisted that I meet him and reassured me that he was a very nice person. This was too much for me. Especially since the evangelists that we used to travel around with all hated Muslims and Islam very much. They even said things that were not true to make people afraid of Islam. So, why would I want anything to do with these people?
Idea – “Change Him To Christian”.
Then an idea came to me, “We can change this man to Christian.” So, I gave in and agreed to the meeting. But on my terms.
I Met Him With A Bible, Cross and Cap with “Jesus Is Lord!” on it.
I agreed to meet him on a Sunday after church so we would be all prayed up and in good standing with the Lord. I would be carrying my Bible under my arm as usual. I would have my big shiny cross dangling and I would have on my cap which says: “Jesus is Lord” right across the front. My wife and two young daughters came along and we were ready for our first encounter with the ‘Moslems.’
Where is He?
When I came into the shop and asked my father where the ‘Moslem’ was, he pointed and said: “He’s right over there.”
I was confused. That couldn’t be the Moslem. No way.
Turban and Beard?
I’m looking for a huge man with flowing robes, a big turban on his head, a beard half way down his shirt and eyebrows that go all the way across his forehead with a sword or a bomb under his coat.
No Turban – No Beard
This man had no beard. In fact, he didn’t even have any hair on his head at all. He was nearly bald. Best of all, he was very pleasant with a warm welcome and handshake. This didn’t make sense. I thought they are terrorists and bombers. What is this all about?
He Needs Jesus
Never mind. I’ll get right to work on this guy. He needs to be ‘saved’ in the ‘Name of Jesus’ and me and the Lord are going to do it.
Introduction & Interrogation
After a quick introduction, I asked him: “Do you believe in God?”
”Yes.” – (Good!)
Then I said:
”Do you believe in Adam and Eve?”
”Yes.” – (Very Good!)
I said: “What about Abraham? You believe in him and how he tried to sacrifice his son for God?”
”Yes.” – (Even better!)
Then I asked:
”What about Moses?”
“Parting the Red Sea?”
Again he said:
”Yes.” – (Better still!)
”What about the other prophets, David, Solomon and John the Baptist?”
Yes.” – (Great!)
”Do you believe in the Bible?”
Again, he said:
“Yes.” – (OK!)
So, now it was time for the big question:
“Do you believe in Jesus? That he was the Messiah (Christ) of God?”
Again the said:
“Yes.” – (Fantastic!)
Well now – “This was going to be easier than I had thought.”
He was just about ready to be baptized only he didn’t know it.
And I was just the one to do it, too.
To be continued…