Evangelizing in Turkey is dangerous work as Islamists in the Turkish government try to silence those who preach the Gospel.
One year ago on October 7, 2016, Pastor Andrew Brunson and his wife Norine were arrested by Turkish authorities on false charges of “undermining national security”. Norine was released shortly after her arrest, but Pastor Brunson was transferred to Izmir’s Harmandanli Detention Centre.
After over a year of imprisonment, a recent visit by representatives of the United States Commission on Religious Freedom revealed that Pastor Brunson is being held with 22 other prisoners in a cell designed to hold 8.
He has lost over 50 pounds since his arrest. His lawyer has been denied access to his file and has yet to be presented with evidence against him.
While we are astonished at the almost laughable charges of “undermining national security” lodged at a missionary, the reality is that the world’s power structures are threatened by the Gospel. Turkey’s headlong dive into Islamism at the highest levels of government — especially during the time of its current president, Recep Erdogan — does make it indeed threatened by the truth of Christ. The lies of Islam cannot stand against the Eternal God, and the voice of missionaries like Andrew Brunson are like the sound of the trumpets around Jericho in Joshua 6.
Pastor Andrew and his wife Norine have been long-time missionaries serving in various Christian ministries in Turkey for the past 23 years. Andrew and Norine have three children currently studying in the U.S.
Despite his ongoing imprisonment, Pastor Andrew expresses his appreciation for the prayers of Christians, “I wish to thank everyone who is advocating and praying for me. Knowing that I am not forgotten is important to me.”
The circumstances of Andrew and Norine highlight the need for ongoing prayer on behalf of Smyrna’s two ministry partners in Turkey — “Erkan” who administers a large children’s ministry, and “Engin and Nurcan”, a husband and wife team who are bold evangelists and church planters.
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music.” — Psalm 98:4
11/17— Pray that the lack of evidence against Pastor Brunson will lead the Turkish courts to find him innocent and that he will be safely released soon. Pray also for the continued safety and ministries of Erkan, Engin, and Nurcan.
11/18 — Ask God for His sweet presence to fill the cell where Pastor Brunson and others are being held. Pray that melodies of worship to God will echo through the prison.
11/19 — Pray for the physical health and endurance of Pastor Brunson as he endures an indefinite imprisonment.
11/20 — Pray for God’s peace and comfort for Pastor Brunson’s wife Norine and his family and friends. Pray that their faith will be strengthened mightily through this trial.
11/21 — Pray for the Holy Spirit to shower encouragement and joyful hope on all Christian prisoners in Turkey. Pray for their protection from attacks of Satan who would seek to destroy their trust in God. Pray for the binding of the evil one — the disarming of Islamic power structures in Turkey — so that all the people of Turkey may hear the true Word of God.
11/22 — Pray that the Word of God will dwell richly in the hearts and minds of captive Christians in Turkey. Pray for complete rest from their fears, concerns and worries as they place their lives in the ever-capable, loving Hands of God.
11/23 — Pray for many opportunities for Pastor Brunson and other Christians in Turkey to share the Gospel and demonstrate the power of our forgiving, gracious Father.