“So many people who never thought to pray for Turkey before were now praying for Turkey.” -Pastor Andrew Brunson
News Staff : Oct 19, 2018 : CBN News
(Washington, DC)—[CBN News] Pastor Andrew Brunson spent two years as a prisoner of Turkey. As the Trump administration fought hard for his release, Christians around the world prayed for his safety. (Screengrab via CBN News)
Those prayers were answered one week ago, when Pastor Brunson walked free from a Turkish courtroom and into the Oval Office with President Trump the very next day.
“It was like a Joseph situation,” Brunson told CBN’s Gordon Robertson on the 700 Club Friday. Like Joseph in the Bible went from prison to standing before the Pharaoh of Egypt, he went from standing before judges who could have put him in jail for decades to suddenly standing before the President of the United States the next day.
Brunson also recalled that, a year earlier, Turkish President Erdogan was sitting next to Trump in the Oval Office and Trump was asking him to release Brunson. Now he ended up in that same seat sitting next to Trump, too.
“God was using this situation. So many people who never thought to pray for Turkey before were now praying for Turkey,” Andrew told CBN.
Andrew and Norine believe his imprisonment was part of God’s preparation for a harvest of souls in Turkey. They say the harvest has not started yet but there’s been a shift. “Many people have started to seek more, have come into our church saying I’m no longer a Muslim.” They’re not Christian yet, but they’re seeking.
Robertson pointed out that God used the Apostle Paul’s imprisonment to build the early Church since Paul wrote much of the New Testament from his prison cell.
“I can relate to the Apostle Paul in a way that some other people can’t,” Brunson said, but he says he could never compare himself to one of the early Church fathers.
The pastor and his wife, Norine, expressed their appreciation to President Trump for the administration’s work on his behalf during his two years in prison.
“We especially want to thank the administration,” Brunson said after being released. “You really fought for us.” (Screengrab via CBN News)
Turkish police arrested the North Carolina pastor in October 2016, three months after a failed coup attempt against Turkey President Erdogan. The Brunsons served there for more than 20 years, where they established Izmir Resurrection Church. They openly shared Christ and also helped Syrian refugees—some of them Kurds.
For that, the Turkish government accused Brunson of being a CIA agent, plotting with Kurdish terrorists to carry out the attempted coup.
Initially, the Turkish government said it would free Brunson if the United States would send the accused coup leader, Fethullah Gulen, back to Turkey. Fearing Gulen would be killed, President Trump refused the exchange, and Brunson remained incarcerated.
Last July, instead of releasing Brunson, Turkish officials placed him under house arrest. Afterward, President Trump imposed sanctions on two government officials and pledged tougher sanctions if Turkey did not free Brunson.
Christians around the world continued to pray, and on October 13, 24 hours after his release, Andrew Brunson knelt in the Oval Office and prayed for the president who helped win his freedom. SEE THAT OVAL OFFICE PRAYER HERE.