Priests Embraced Islam (1.Ex- US Catholic Priest, Yusuf Estes-i)
Yusuf Estes, a USA citizen, has served as Delegate to the United Nations Peace Conference for Religious Leaders. He is an Ex-Christian Preacher & Former Catholic Priest. He has embraced Islam after an interesting spiritual journey. In his fruitful real story, he saysâ€¦ (Part 1)
"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). I was a music minister and even used a pony ride and entertained the children as "Skippy the Clown."
Once, I have served as Delegate to the United Nations Peace Conference for Religious Leaders. Now I am a retired former Muslim Chaplain for United States Bureau of Prisons, Washington, DC. And I join alongside many American Muslims, working with Muslim student and youth organizations as well as schools for Muslim children. As such, I travel around the entire world lecturing and sharing the message of the Christ of the Quran in Islam. We hold dialogs and discussion groups with all faiths and enjoy the opportunity to work alongside rabbis, ministers, preachers and priests everywhere. Some of our work is in the institutional area, military, universities and prisons. Primarily our goal is to educate and communicate the correct message of Islam and who the Muslims really are. Although Islam has grown now to nearly tie Christianity as the largest of religions on earth, we see many of those who claim Islam as Muslims, that do not correctly understand nor properly represent the message of "Peace, Surrender and Obedience to God" [Arabic = 'Islam']
How.It.Happened: This may seem quite strange, while we perhaps may share a few different perspectives and concepts of God, Jesus, prophet hood, sin and salvation. But you see, at one time I was in the same boat as many folks are today. Really, I was. Let me explain.
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 in 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 and 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 Pat Robertson.
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 "Mozlem": 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, and 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 Told Us, Muslims:
â€¢ Don't even believe in God
â€¢ They worship a black box in the desert.
â€¢ 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.
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.&.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.-.[No.Hair.at.All!] 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?
He.said: .Yes . (Very Good!).
I said: What about Abraham?
You believe in him and how.he.tried.to.sacrifice.his.son.for.God?
Again.he.said: ."Yes." (Better still!)
Then:.What about the other prophets, David, Solomon and John.the.Baptist?
I.asked: Do you believe.in.the.Bible?.
Again,.he.said:.Yes. - (OK!) .
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.
Shocking Knowledge - Muslims Believe in the Bible?
One day in the Spring of 1991, I came to know that the Muslims believed in the Bible. I was shocked. How could this be? But that's not all, they believe in Jesus as:
* A true messenger of God; * Prophet of God; * Miracle birth without human intervention; * He was the 'Christ' or Messiah as predicted in the Bible; * He is with God now and most important; * He will be coming back in the Last Days to lead the believers against the 'Antichrist.'
After "winning souls to the Lord for Jesus" day after day, this would be a big achievement for me, to catch one of these 'Moslems' and 'convert' him to Christianity.
I asked him if he liked tea and he said he did. So off we went to a little shop in the mall to sit and talk about my favorite subject: Beliefs. While we sat in that little coffee shop for hours talking (I did most of the talking) I came to know that he was very nice, quiet and even a bit shy. He listened attentively to every word that I had to say and did not interrupt even one time. I liked this man's way and thought that he had definite potential to become a good Christian. - Little did I know the course of events about to unravel in front of my eyes".
(To be continued).
The Full story is found in:
Priests Embraced Islam (1.Ex- US Catholic Priest, Yusuf Estes, i to iv)About the Author:
Co-Chief Editor, October Weekly magazine, Cairo, Egypt.
Member of the Egyptian Society of Save Children.
Member of the Egyptian Society of Tourism