We praise the Lord that a Turkish court freed American pastor Andrew Brunson on Friday, October 12, 2018, after nearly two years in jail and more recently under house arrest. Thank you for your prayers for Pastor Andrew over the past two years. Please continue to pray for him and his family. Read our previous update here.
On July 25, Andrew Brunson, an American citizen who has lived and ministered in Turkey for over 20 years, was released from prison and moved to house arrest, where he awaits his October 12 hearing. This is a promising step, but he still remains accused of the false charges of endangering Turkey’s national security, and he faces a potential 35-year prison sentence. Please continue to pray for God to be glorified through this situation.
At Pastor Andrew Brunson’s trial in Turkey July 18, the judge denied him release and returned him to prison. Andrew is being held on the false charges of endangering national security. His next hearing is scheduled for October 12, which will be two years from the time he was initially arrested.
Brunson had served faithfully as a pastor for 23 years in Turkey prior to his arrest in 2016, and he has become a political pawn that the Turkish government is using for their purposes. In spite of the major disappointment of Wednesday’s outcome, Brunson is looking at the bigger picture:
"There is no concrete evidence against me. The disciples of Jesus suffered in his name, now it is my turn. I am an innocent man on all these charges. I reject them. I know why I am here. I am here to suffer in Jesus's name."
Please continue to pray for special grace for Pastor Brunson, as well as for his wife, Norine.
UPDATE on April 2018 Persecution Update
Pastor Andrew Brunson’s April 16 trial did not go well. After Pastor Brunson denied the terrorism charges brought against him, he was ordered back to prison. His trial is postponed until May 7. The entire process has taken a major toll on him physically and emotionally. Please pray for a special measure of God’s grace for him and his wife, Norine. Please also pray for God to turn the hearts of the judges to righteousness.
Since last July, Turkey’s President Erdogan has intensified his crackdown against tens of thousands of Turkish citizens—mostly educators, journalists, judges, military personnel, and especially Christians. Caught up in the crackdown is Pastor Andrew Brunson (pictured), a 48-year-old American from Black Mountain, North Carolina, who has been a pastor in Turkey for the past 23 years and is currently the pastor of the Izmir Resurrection Church. On October 7, 2016, he and his wife were arrested on vague “national security” grounds. They were held in isolation without formal charges and were not allowed to see a lawyer. Andrew’s wife, Norine, was released two weeks later, but Andrew continues to be detained. On December 9, Andrew was formally brought to court and charged with “membership in an armed terrorist organization.” No evidence was presented except the word of a secret informant, and Andrew was sent to a maximum security prison. Please intercede earnestly for God to give grace and a special sense of His presence to Pastor Andrew in prison and to his family who is working for his release.
Turkey ranks among the top 50 nations that persecutes Christians. Although Turkey has long been committed to being a secular nation, this is rapidly changing as fanatical Islamic factions pursue efforts to drive out the Christian minority population. In a country of 85,000 Muslim mosques, Protestant Christians are forbidden to build church buildings. Those believers who meet in storefronts must by law call their assemblies “associations,” not churches. At one time there were 2 million Christians in Turkey, but that number has declined dramatically to only about 5,000 evangelical believers today. There are almost as many Sunni Muslim imams on the government payroll as there are Christians. In the attempted coup against President Erdogan in July, imams stirred up Muslims to target Christians. The only storefront that was attacked in the city of Malatya was a Protestant church, which was not surprising in that Malatya was the scene of the torture and massacre of three Christians by Muslim attackers in 2007. All three worked in a Bible publishing house, and their attackers are still at large. Please intercede for God to give grace to these believers to persevere in such a hostile environment.