Thank you for praying for Pastor Andrew Brunson

The court in Turkey has released Pastor Andrew Brunson from house arrest and has set him free. Thank you for your prayers for his safe release, and for his family.

During his fourth hearing on Friday, the court sentenced Pastor Brunson to three years and one month in prison, but chose to release him based on his time already served. Prosecutors were seeking a 10-year jail term for him. He had been charged with helping to plot a coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He could have faced upto 35 years in prison.

Before the verdict, Andrew was able to meet his wife Norine in the courthouse. “I am an innocent man. I love Jesus. I love Turkey,” he said.

Andrew’s lawyer Ismail Cem Halavurt told CNN that Brunson’s electronic tag would later be removed and that his client was now a ‘free man’.

Pastor Brunson’s travel ban and house arrest have been lifted, and as Andrew’s lawyer told CNN, the next step would be to guard his safety and get him out of the country.

Serving the Lord faithfully

After 23 years in open church ministry in Turkey, Brunson was detained during Ankara’s widespread crackdown against the government-labelled Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organisation (FETO), led by a self-exiled Turkish cleric living in the US for the past two decades and accused of launching the deadly coup attempt.

Andrew and his wife Norine were originally arrested on 7 October 2016 and held in an immigration holding facility pending deportation. Norine was subsequently released, but Andrew was detained without bail due to allegations linking him to ‘terrorist groups’ and accusing him of ‘missionary activities’.

At times the conditions he has been kept in have been grim; in one prison where he was held, two dozen inmates are crammed into a cell designed for eight. It was a gruelling time on all aspects, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

He was moved to house arrest in July this year.

Please pray

For Pastor Andrew to recover well from this time of being imprisoned and under house arrest.

For those who continue to face opposition and persecution for the work of the Gospel in Turkey.

Turkey is at number 31 on the 2018 World Watch List. The main religion of the country is Islam, and it is frowned upon if citizens choose to accept Christ. Religion is recorded on ID cards, and can be difficult to change. If believers change their religion to ‘Christian’ on their ID cards, it is easy for employers to discriminate against them. However, if they don’t, their children will automatically be registered as Muslim and expected to attend Islamic classes. It is very difficult for believers from a Muslim background to openly meet and attend church.