Turkish Pastor Andrew Brunson Says Being Imprisoned for His Faith in Christ ‘Broke’ Him and ‘Stretched Me Beyond What I Could Handle’, Shares How the Word of God and Prayer Helped Him Endure Persecution

Andrew Brunson, a missionary imprisoned for two years in Turkey on false charges of terrorism and espionage, speaks on Blessed are those who are Persecuted for Righteousness at the 2019 SBC Pastors’ Conference June 10 on the last day of the two-day event at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala. | Matt Miller

Pastor Andrew Brunson and his wife Norine spoke about the hardship of persecution they endured at the hands of the Turkish government for approximately two years.

Speaking before thousands gathered in Birmingham, Alabama for the Pastors’ Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention Monday, the North Carolina couple explained in a panel moderated by Timothy George, how testing the process was. In his remarks prior to the panel, the evangelical pastor said there were times where he was suicidal.

George, who is the outgoing dean of nearby Beeson Divinity School, noted that not since Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller, who was vocally critical of the Nazi regime, became Adolf Hitler’s prisoner had a jailed pastor inspired so much prayer around the world than Andrew Brunson. Interviewed together, Norine said a major focus of her life was keeping prayer going on her husband and to encourage him in faith during his time in jail.

“I was the persistent widow,” she said smiling as she explained her work on the government diplomacy side.

“I knocked on every door, probably many times. I probably made a pest of myself.”

Although there were times where he wanted to end his life, it was the Word of God that sustained him, particularly Psalm 118, Andrew Brunson said. For a while he was not even allowed to have a Bible in his prison cell. When he was finally able to read one, it was dry to him, but it was comforting to have the Bible physically present. He ended up spending a lot of time in Phillippians and 2 Timothy, and was especially encouraged by the Apostle Paul’s words about finishing the race of faith well.

Brunson’s wife was the only one who was allowed to visit him, and was only allotted about 35 minutes each week. The couple would speak by phone through reinforced glass.

“She was a lioness,” Brunson said of his wife, recounting how she would build him up and speak truth to him, even “rebuke” him at times.

Norine Brunson added: “I think the difficulty is there are no promises [in Scripture] when it comes to persecution.”

“There are no promises except that we will have persecution; there’s no promise of an outcome.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter