American Pastor Imprisoned in Turkey Is Set Free

IZMIR – Pastor Andrew Brunson is on his way home to North Carolina after more than two years either in prison or, more recently, under house arrest in Turkey. The Trump administration has been tightening the screws on the Turkish economy for its part in getting Pastor Brunson released.

While the diplomatic efforts of the United States surely had an impact on the long-awaited outcome, the power of a praying-answering God has been guiding the entire process.

It is possible to see the larger scope of God’s plan as Christians around the world have prayed and the American government has taken bold actions that have impacted the Turkish economy to the point where the country’s leadership finally agreed to let the innocent pastor go free.

Andrew and Norine Brunson

Brunson was incarcerated in “a nightmare prison” on charges of terrorism following the attempted coup of the Erdogan government in 2016. The allegations were based on the testimony of four individuals who, today recanted.

In April of this year, Pastor Brunson told the court that his sole purpose for being in Turkey was to make Jesus known and make disciples.

CBN Middle East Analyst Mike Kerem, who has followed Brunson’s story all along, cut to the chase when he said, “it’s clear that Andrew Brunson is in prison or under arrest for one reason and that’s his hope and faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah, not only of the West, but of the entire world.”

While media outlets around the world are reporting his story, we want to share a message from Pastor Brunson that his wife, Norine, posted last December on their Facebook page.

I am deeply grateful to all who have prayed for me. This trial – time in prison – has stretched me far more than I ever would have imagined. I have been very weak, had many doubts, felt very alone. I know that God’s grace is sustaining me, even when I do not feel that grace, and I know that the prayers of God’s people are surrounding me and giving strength. One of my big fears has been that I will be forgotten in prison. Thank you for not forgetting! It is a great encouragement to know there are people praying for me – it reminds me that I am not alone, and that I need to stand firm, with my face pointed in God’s direction always. Thank you for standing with me in this most difficult time.

We can now offer praise and thanksgiving to the Lord along with Pastor Brunson who, upon his release today, expressed his appreciation for not being forgotten by the many who have prayed for him.

It’s been an extremely difficult time for our family and we want to express our appreciation to the millions of people around the world who have faithfully prayed for this day . . . as well as the many others who worked so hard to obtain my freedom. I look forward to returning home and being reunited with my family.”

In a note of irony, the Turkish court did not clear Brunson of the charges but allowed him to leave the country, regardless.

To read more news on Turkey on Missions Box, go here.

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