July 17, 2018 | Linda Lowry
Pray for release for Pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey.
Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. (Hebrews 13:3).
A little over a week before the next hearing for U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson, a Turkish newspaper, the Hurriyet Daily News, is reporting that “many” diplomats in Ankara expect the “imminent release and deportation” of the North Carolina pastor.
In a column for the Hurriyet, entitled “Pastor Brunson’s Detention Has Become Too Costly for Turkey,” lead Turkish commentator Serkan Demirtas suggested that the continued detention of Pastor Bunson would further complicate the situation between Turkey and the U.S.
“That is why many diplomats in Ankara, Turkey’s capital city, expect his potential release followed by his deportation, pending trial on the July 18 hearing,” he wrote. He added: “Of course, it is impossible to foresee what the court’s decision will be, but his release would sure help the ongoing reconciliation process between Turkey and the U.S.”
Phillip Kosnett, American Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey recently echoed Demirtas’ comment, saying that the country’s continued detention of pastor Andrew Brunson on spying and terrorism-related charges is impeding U.S.-Turkish relations. . . .
Pastor Brunson is accused of espionage and terrorism while he led a small church in Izmir. Over the last two hearings in April and May, the prosecution has produced no credible evidence. The trial has been widely criticized as a “sham” with Pastor Brunson being used as a political pawn. Erdogan has essentially said he will trade Pastor Brunson for Fethullah Gülen, the Muslim cleric Turkey has accused of starting a coup. Erdogan has demanded Gulen, now living in Pennsylvania, to be extradited by the U.S.
But Andrew is clear that his imprisonment is Christian persecution. From his prison cell, he has written: “Let it be clear. I am in prison not for anything I have done wrong, but because of who I am–a Christian pastor. I desperately miss my wife and children. Yet I believe this to be true: it is an honor to suffer for Jesus Christ, as many have before me. My deepest thanks for all those around the world who are standing with me and praying for me.”
The 62-page indictment bears more evidence that he is a victim of persecution, with “Christianization” being called “a hostile act.” Turkey is No. 31 on the World Watch List.
If convicted, Pastor Brunson faces a life sentence of 35 years. He has vehemently denied all the charges.
“My service that I have spent my life on has now turned upside down. I was never ashamed to be a server of Jesus, but these claims are shameful and disgusting … There is not one photograph or tape recording praising the PKK at the Resurrection Church.”
PRAYING WITH THE BRUNSONS
Please continue to pray with the Brunson family as the third hearing approaches in Izmir on July 18.
In His Word, God has shown us how to pray for the persecuted. We can find insight and practical help in the scriptures:
“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3).
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
…but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:32). #standingwithPastorBrunson (Excerpted from Open Doors USA, Lindy Lowry writing.)