Brunson Update

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How is Andrew connected to the ARP?

Get in touch with the White House

 

November 14 Update – 

While we haven’t heard of any new developments on the Turkish side, we are seeing that Andrew’s heart appears to be in a much better place than it has been since his Oct. 7, 2016 wrongful imprisonment in Turkey. This is evidenced in a song he wrote and in his discussions with his wife. Isn’t it just like God to use for good what the enemy intends for evil?

Andrew’s daughter will join the ACLJ this week, at their request, in testifying before the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which includes 9 members each of the Senate and House and 3 members of the Executive Branch. Some consider this a step towards more-formal action by the U.S. on Andrew’s behalf. Through other channels, his situation is being communicated to very high levels of government in other countries. The world needs to know what is happening.

Many thanks to all who joined in the October prayer and fasting for Andrew. We remain eager for Andrew and his wife’s safe return to the U.S. and are thankful for God’s faithfulness and your prayers. We believe this will yet turn into a victory for God’s kingdom!

 

November 3 Update – 

During our (Andrew’s mom) recent visit with Andrew, he said, “I plead with the Lord to release me by Christmas, so I can be with Blaise’s last year in high school and Jackie’s graduation before she moves to Germany. But if I’m still here at Christmas, then I’ll thank God for sending Jesus to be born. If I’m still here at New Year, I’ll thank Him for helping me make it through this year. If I’m here on my birthday, I won’t be like Job and curse the day I was born. I’ll give thanks for the life I’ve had.”

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound!

Please continue to pray for Andrew’s release from prison in Turkey, where he has been wrongfully imprisoned for over a year.

 

October 3 Update – 

Saturday, Oct. 7 marks one year since Andrew and Norine Brunson were arrested in Turkey. Norine was released 12 days later, but Andrew was brought to court and imprisoned.

The EPC, the denomination in which Andrew is ordained, is calling for prayer and fasting in his behalf on Saturday, Oct. 7, according to Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. They are asking all EPC churches to pray for Andrew and Norine during worship services Sunday, Oct. 8.

Anyone or any church is welcome to join in this Oct. 7-8 weekend of prayer and fasting – however little or much it may be. An EPC bulletin insert is available in PDF format and includes scriptural and specific prayers for Andrew and his family.

The Brunson family thanks all who continue to remember Andrew in prayer.

 

September 19 Update – 

Thank you for continuing on in prayer for the Brunson family!

In the 4 months since Presidents Trump and Erdogan met in D.C., no substantive change has occurred in Andrew Brunson’s wrongful imprisonment in Turkey. The 2 presidents are scheduled to meet again Thursday, Sept. 21 at the U.N. Among the many topics of discussion will likely be that of Andrew’s case.

We base our faith for Andrew’s release in God. Erdogan has recently been granted new, enormous authority with respect to Andrew. Let’s pray he uses this authority for good. Ultimately, God’s purposes will prevail. This is more than a battle for Andrew – this is a spiritual battle for Turkey.

Note from Pam Brunson (Andrew’s Mother) – Andrew believes this and writes, “I am trying to live for eternity – [understanding] that what I live here has eternal value and consequences.” Every visit, Andrew asks, “Are people still praying for me?” Norine adds that, sometimes when she’s feeling down, she suddenly feels new strength. “And that’s when I think someone must be praying for me.” We assure him you are praying.

 

August 30 Update – 

New and more serious charges have been made against Andrew Brunson, by the Turkish government, coming 322 days after his initial arrest in October 2016. The new charges carry stiff sentences, if convicted.

Pastor Andrew’s files remained sealed, and any evidence supporting the new charges has yet to be presented. No indictment has been handed down. Andrew maintains his innocence and pleaded with the judge that evidence be provided.

New decrees this month, by the Turkish government, interestingly give Erdogan the power to return prisoners to their home countries, under certain circumstances. Join us in praying that this new law will be implemented in Andrew’s behalf and also for God’s strength and protection for Andrew and his family. Click the article links below to read more:

 

August 17 Update – 

Today – the 313th day of American Pastor Andrew Brunson’s wrongful imprisonment in Turkey because of his Christian faith –the State Department released a report on International Religious Freedom, highlighting Pastor Andrew’s plight.

Although the report analyzes freedom violations across the world, in his remarks, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson specifically addressed the plight of Pastor Andrew. He stated, “[T]he United States continues to advocate for the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson who has been wrongfully imprisoned in Turkey.”

Secretary Tillerson opened his remarks by stating the purpose of the report and the requirement of the law that the U.S. must stand:

for liberty and with the persecuted, to use and implement appropriate tools in the United States foreign policy apparatus, including diplomatic, political, commercial, charitable, educational, and cultural channels, to promote respect for religious freedom by all governments and peoples.

As previously reported, Pastor Andrew has been wrongfully detained in Turkey since October 7th of last year, after serving as a pastor in Turkey for over 23 years.

As we approach almost a year of Pastor Andrew languishing in a prison cell, there has yet to be any formal indictment handed down, although one was promised months ago. As Secretary Tillerson stated in his remarks regarding religious freedom, “[w]e cannot ignore these conditions.” We must continue to increase our efforts to make sure Pastor Andrew is released to be reunited with his family and once again is able to enjoy the religious freedom to which he is entitled.

We are continuing our aggressive global legal advocacy, including at the highest levels of the U.S. government, for Pastor Andrew’s freedom. Please join us by signing and sharing our petition to Free Pastor Andrew.

July 17 Update – 

Once again there is little to report about Andrew’s situation, apart from the fact that visits by his wife and visits by State Department representatives continue. But we deeply appreciate your continued prayers, and his wife frequently expresses how amazed and grateful she is that so many of you continue to pray.  Neither she nor other family members have given up hope for Andrew’s release, and we know that you haven’t either.

June 5 Update – 

Report from Andrew’s wife:

“The weather forecast says it will get up to 110 F at the end of this week. No A/C of course. Praise God Andrew was able to get a fan, but it is still HOT in a top floor of a concrete building under the baking sun (no insulation here), enclosed (insufficient windows), and overcrowded. The tiny courtyard has high concrete walls so cannot get any breeze. The prisoners never leave the cell/courtyard. Andrew was dreading the summer heat and so hoping to be out by now.”

Please continue to keep Andrew and his family in your prayers.

May 19 Update – 

Various sources confirm that during meetings with Turkish President Erdogan this past Tuesday, President Trump and Vice-President Pence raised Andrew’s situation several times, asking for his release. A family spokesman states: “We’re of course deeply grateful for a president who is willing to speak out on behalf of an innocent American citizen.”

Major news media across theological and political spectrums are tracking and covering Andrew’s situation. Vice-President Pence wrote to Norine early this spring to express his personal support and the support of the U.S. Government. In addition, 78 members of Congress have written a letter to the president of Turkey.

Please continue to pray for strength, courage and endurance for Andrew and his family and for Andrew’s release from prison.

May 15 Update – 

Turkish President Erdoğan will visit President Trump in Washington, DC on Tuesday, May 16.  Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the ACLJ, met with President Trump last week to discuss Andrew’s situation—among other topics—and to urge President Trump to bring up the case when he meets with President Erdoğan this week (press release).

Vice-President Pence wrote to Norine to express his personal support and the support of the US Government in seeking Andrew’s release.  US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Turkish President Erdoğan and senior Turkish officials on Thursday, March 30th.  Norine was able to meet with Tillerson for twenty minutes afterwards.

78 members of Congress from the House and the Senate have written a letter to Turkish President Erdoğan, asking for Andrew’s prompt release.  Related press releases have been issued by EPC, ACLJ, ICC, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  The EPC link includes an itemized list of all signers, in case you’d like to see whether your senators and representative signed the letter.

May 11 Update – 

Two members of the Brunson family were in D.C. for meetings with State Department officials and members of Congress.
They met with a Senator who, more than any other person, is directly responsible for improvement in Andrew’s living conditions including Consular access, permission for visits from Andrew’s wife, and the return of Andrew’s ring, glasses and Bible. Other meetings were held with other Senators from Andrew’s home state of NC, a Senator of SC and other State Department officials. These meetings provided a better sense of what has been happening behind the scenes and a projected time frame in moving forward.

April 12 Update – 

When U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met on March 30 with Turkey’s President Erdogan and senior Turkish officials, Andrew Brunson’s wife traveled to Ankara in hopes of meeting beforehand with Tillerson. Earlier she was told she wouldn’t be able to see him, but she kept her travel plans and asked people to pray. God answered prayer. She was able to meet with Tillerson for 20 minutes, after his meeting with Erdogan.
Tillerson was told an indictment was coming soon, but this info is basically no different than that provided at Andrew’s Dec. 9 hearing. What does seem apparent is that Turkey has not yet relaxed its position concerning Andrew. His wife’s meeting with Tillerson provided no evidence of the U.S. applying any kind of pressure on Turkey, in Andrew’s behalf.
People around the world continue to pray for Andrew’s release. Officials from a number of nations (some on better terms with Turkey than the U.S.) continue to contact Turkey on his behalf. Thank you for continuing to pray faithfully for Andrew, and his family.

 

March 15 Update – 

This week Turkey broke its months-long silence when its Prime Minister told a group of American journalists visiting Turkey’s capital that Andrew Brunson’s trial will be “accelerated,” adding, “Judiciary matters are not directly controlled by us.”

Turkey has yet to provide evidence to support the arrest and imprisonment of Andrew, who has been held in a Turkish prison since Oct. 7, 2016. The ECLJ and the ACLJ are working together in a global legal advocacy campaign to put significant pressure on Turkey. They believe now is the time to ramp up the pressure and that Pastor Andrew should not even be forced to face a trial, since Turkey has produced no evidence against him.

Brunson’s detention appears to be related to his work as a Christian minister, making his arrest and imprisonment a violation of both Turkey’s Constitution and international agreements to which Turkey is party, as well as Andrew’s fundamental rights.

On March 13, direct action was taken at the U.N., demanding Brunson’s release. This oral intervention before the U.N. Human Rights Council follows the written submission to the same council, in Feb. 2017. Aggressive advocating at the U.N. on Capitol Hill, and with world leaders continues in Andrew’s behalf. Your prayers for the family and for the lawyers are crucial. Read the full USA Today article HERE.

 

Feb 23 Update – 

78 members of Congress from the House and the Senate have written a letter to Turkish President Erdoğan, asking for Andrew’s prompt release. Related press releases have been issued by EPC, ACLJ, ICC, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The EPC link includes an itemized list of all signers, in case you’d like to see whether your senators and representative signed the letter.

We want to reach 100,000 signatures by March 8 on the White House petition concerning Andrew. That means that we need over 80,000 signatures within the next 14 days, which would require an exponential increase from the current rate.

If you have not already signed the White House petition, please do so and share the link with others: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/forgotten-american-turkey
or https://tiny.cc/andrew3

 

Feb 13 Update – More Actions 

As always, please keep everything respectful.
“When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”  Job 23:10b

1. White House petition. We are launching a focused social media campaign this week directed toward President Trump. Capitol Hill leadership and religious freedom advocates have agreed that Trump is the one person who can effect Andrew’s release. He alone could call Erdoğan and tell him, “If you want to have a conversation about a better relationship with the United States, you will first release Andrew Brunson.” This is the message we have tried to get to the President since mid-December. To date, we have failed.

It is time for another approach, so we have launched a “Forgotten American in Turkey” petition at https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/forgotten-american-turkey. In order to get the attention of the White House, we need to get 100,000 signatures by March 6. While a high bar, it is reachable if we all take a minute to sign and get the word out to our congregations. In addition, you can contact the White House directly at www.whitehouse.gov/contact#page. We will post links to this petition on EPConnection as well as the EPC Facebook page and Twitter feeds this week.
2. Bipartisan bicameral open letter. There is a bipartisan bicameral open letter from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to Turkish President Erdoğan.  If your senators and your representative are not already on the list of signers, please contact them and ask them to sign the “Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s open letter to President Erdoğan concerning Andrew Brunson.”  The letter is dated February 10th, so this is time sensitive.  You can find your elected officials here.
3. Twitter. We have registered the hashtag #ForgottenAmericanInTurkey so please use it as you share our article with your social networks. Also, please like, share, repost, and retweet any other articles about Andrew that cross your radar (and add #ForgottenAmericanInTurkey). We also can capture the attention of the White House and President Trump by adding the Twitter handles @WhiteHouse and @realDonaldTrump to any article you share. By adding these Twitter handles, your post will appear in both Trump’s and the White House’s feed.
Finally, please consider setting your calendar for noon each day in your local time zone and posting #ForgottenAmericanInTurkey with @WhiteHouse and @realDonaldTrump in your post. If you do this, President Trump—and everyone who follows him—will hear us.

 

Jan 20 Update

READ Al-Monitor’s story on Andrew Brunson. “Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called on US President-elect Donald Trump today…”

 

Jan 19 Update –

As of Jan. 19, 2017, Andrew Brunson has been detained 104 days. During that time, he has received only 5 of his wife’s daily letters. Many of you have written letters or postcards to Andrew, and the family is grateful and so is WW. However, since our last update, we learned that none of those letters/postcards are reaching him. Therefore, we ask that you stop writing to Andrew, in hopes this will allow more letters from his family to reach him.

He is crowded into a room with 20 others and barely has space to walk. While others in the room are allowed 5 books each, Andrew has not been allowed any. On the bright side, the Church, in countries like Germany, France, Africa, and Norway, is becoming more involved in seeking his release and in praying.

Pray for:

  • His wife to be allowed regular visits with him
  • Him to be allowed 5 books, like the other prisoners
  • His release

 

Jan 11 Update –

The good news is that apparently letters can go in and out, so any of you who have sent postcards or have thought of doing so are encouraged to continue.  Postage to Turkey for postcards is $1.15.  To increase the chances of postcards actually getting through to him, we suggest writing something like what is boldfaced below.  (“Andrew, we have not forgotten you.  We are praying for you.”)  It is best to avoid any English or anything in Turkish that might be misconstrued as a hidden messages:

Andrew senin icin dua ediyoruz.  Seni unutmuyoruz.

 

Jan 3 Update – 

Today Andrew Brunson, an American citizen and pastor, will spend his 49th birthday unjustly imprisoned in Turkey, because of his Christian faith.

A recent appeal was denied, even though no evidence was presented against him. Another appeal to a higher court is allowed, but it is uncertain how that process will go. He is now allowed visits with his Turkish attorney but has no attorney-client privacy privilege. He is also allowed to have a New Testament.

Last week he was finally granted a one-time, face-to-face visit with a family member and was very down and discouraged. Pray that today, on his 49th birthday, the Lord will clearly make His presence known in Andrew’s life and situation. And please do not stop praying for him and his release from prison!

Also pray the Lord will have control in the media. The Brunsons love the people of Turkey and urge that social media be kept respectful and non-aggressive.

For further details, visit ACLJ.org.

Dec 20 Update –

As of Monday, Andrew Brunson remains in maximum security prison in Turkey, held on false charges against the Turkish State.  The family continues to ask for his immediate release so he would be free to spend Christmas with his family. Please keep fasting and praying this week for Andrew and his family to experience the peace of Christ in this difficult time.

When using social media, please use #freeAndrewBrunson to raise awareness. Click for the updated ARP statement.

Sign the ACLJ Petition

Or send a letter to the Turkish Ministry of Interior

Dec 14 Update –

Andrew Brunson’s case is now public. Read the ACLJ article to learn more.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is launching a global campaign to call attention to his plight, demanding that Turkey – a NATO member – release Andrew without delay. They will be working with the U.S. State Dept. to free Andrew. His Turkish attorney will file an appeal in 2 days. Andrew needs your voice NOW!
In addition to your continued prayers in Andrew’s behalf, please click the link above to sign the petition and add your voice to those calling for Andrew’s release. You may also click on the Letter to Andrew link if you would like to send a letter of encouragement to Andrew. Please be sure to follow the instructions listed.

Dec 10 Update – 

On December 9, Andrew Brunson was formally charged on terrorism charges by the Turkish government.  Andrew has been detained since October 7th.

In response, the Association of Turkish Protestant Churches has issued a call to prayer and fasting starting today and continuing until Christmas Eve. We would like to invite all ARP congregations to join in this time of calling out to God for His deliverance.

Please pray for these false charges to be dismissed and Andrew to be released.  Pray that Andrew, his wife, their three children, and their church would experience the comfort, courage, and peace of Christ in this season. May the Spirit of Advent cause us all to long for the coming of our Savior Immanuel.

Dec 6 Update –

Potentially significant meetings will be held this week that could prove influential in securing Andrew Brunson’s release from prison in Turkey, where he has been held since Oct. 7, 2016.
Please pray for:

  • The right people to be involved in these meetings and to have ears to hear.
  • No detrimental consequences from these meetings.
  • Peace and grace for Andrew and his family.

Nov 15 Update –

We just received word from Pam Brunson that Andrew’s wife’s resident visa was extended, which means she will be able to remain in Turkey for now.

No new developments regarding Andrew were reported. However, his custodians are showing favor to him, i.e. allowing him to have a Bible, returning his eyeglasses, allowing him to have pen and paper to write messages, allowing him to receive written messages, moving him to a cell with a window to the outside. These favors are the result of the prayers of many.

Please continue to pray for Andrew, his wife and their children. Ask the Lord to provide a deeper sense of His presence, as Andrew is feeling the isolation of solitary confinement.

Nov 10 Update – 

From Pam, Andrew’s mother – “He begs prayer that his wife may be able to remain in country. That possibility is still in process and we should know by Monday. He has not complained once about the conditions. Pray that others may not be taken as he was. Praise, he was finally given the WORD to read, a very BIG comfort. Your prayers are effective! Thank you!”

From Ron, Andrew’s dad – “Andrew’s situation hasn’t changed.  Andrew’s wife and Pam can get in to see him, as well as the American Consul, but they haven’t been able to get permission for the lawyer to see Andrew.”

Nov 2 Update –

Andrew is still imprisoned. Andrew’s wife remains in Turkey. Her deportation order has been lifted, so she can legally remain in the country until Nov 10.
Here is what Andrew’s wife asks us to do:
  • Pray for Andrew’s well-being, release, and the dropping of all charges.
  • Contact your congressional representatives and ask them specifically “to write non-public letters to Secretary Kerry, encouraging the Secretary to raise Andrew’s case with Turkish authorities at every level, allowing Andrew and his wife, Norine, to return safely to their children in the United States.”
Here is what Andrew’s wife asks us NOT to do:
Please do NOT publicize Andrew’s situation through social media or American news networks. This would raise the possibility of Andrew’s case being exploited for political motives. The current U.S. pre-election climate and strained relations with Turkey heighten this possibility, which could result in Andrew becoming a political pawn between the two nations.
Our goal is to facilitate wide-spread prayer for the Brunsons, with very private diplomatic efforts for his release.
Norine expresses her deep gratitude for your prayers and support.

Oct 22 Update –

Andrew’s wife was released Wednesday afternoon and all charges were dropped. Andrew is still in custody and was moved to another detention center in Izmir on Thursday. He is being held on serious false charges. No one is allowed to see him. Please continue praying for his protection and physical health.

Oct 19 Update – World Watch Monitor

Turkish police authorities holding an American Protestant couple in isolation for the past 13 days released the wife late last night (19 Oct.), but continue to hold her husband incommunicado in an Izmir detention facility.

Rev. Andrew Brunson and his wife were refused contact with U.S. consular officials and lawyers since they were detained on 7 Oct., under Interior Ministry orders for deportation within 15 days on alleged “national security” grounds. To date, no reason for the expulsion order has been given to the couple, who are 20-year residents of Turkey.

Although initial attempts by members of the Izmir Resurrection Church to send in personal effects to their pastor and his wife were refused, this week officials accepted parcels of fresh clothing and medicine for the couple. But the police would not permit a Bible to be sent on to them.

It remained unclear whether Rev. Brunson would be deported or remain in custody. He was transferred to the Cigli detention centre in the northern part of Izmir this morning.

Oct 14 – World Watch Monitor

Turkish officials in the coastal city of Izmir detained American Christians Andrew Brunson and his wife on 7 Oct., refusing ever since to allow daily requests for access to them by U.S. consular officials and lawyers.

According to authorities at the Migration Administration’s detention facility in Izmir, the Turkish Interior Ministry had ordered the couple’s deportation within 15 days. Specifically, the directive reportedly accused them of activities said to constitute a “national security risk”.

When pressed five days later for details about this general accusation, the detention officials said they were “waiting for papers from Ankara” on the case.

Residents of Turkey for the past 20 years, the Brunsons are currently leading the Izmir Resurrection Church, a small Protestant congregation averaging 30 to 40 worshippers, located in the city’s Alsancak district.

After filing a routine application in April to renew their residence visas, the Brunsons had received no response for the past six months. But when they arrived home on 7 Oct., they found a written summons requesting them to report with their passports to a local police station. On arrival, they were immediately taken into custody.

A lawyer asking to visit them was denied access and told to obtain an affidavit as his legal authorisation. But when he returned with the document, officials claimed that the couple had already signed a statement, declaring they did not want a lawyer. The authorities refused to produce the written statement.

A lawyer acting on behalf of the Brunsons filed a petition to the Izmir governor yesterday (12 Oct.), protesting that the incommunicado stipulation against the American Christians was illegal under Turkish detention laws. A member of the Turkish Parliament has also made an inquiry on the handling of their detention.

Although an Izmir church leader confirmed that the U.S. Embassy in Ankara is reportedly “following the arrests”, an embassy official declined any comment on the detentions to World Watch Monitor.

After five days, church friends trying to send in a change of clothing to the couple, who are in their late forties, continue to be rebuffed at the detention centre.