USA (MNN) — Saturday will mark a year since Turkish officials freed Pastor Andrew Brunson from prison, allowing him and his family to fly back to the U.S.
Brunson served two years in a prison cell under false charges. Months of tense negotiations between the U.S. and Turkey centered on his release. Review our coverage of Pastor Brunson’s ordeal here.
Today, Brunson wants to use his experiences to help young believers. “We were in missions in Turkey for 25 years,” he says.
“I think now’s the time to help the next generation to ‘go’.”
What’s next for Andrew Brunson?
Helping the “go-ers” isn’t the only burden on Brunson’s heart. “For the first time in my life, I have an urgency for my own country — for the United States,” he says.
“Since I’ve come back to the States, [it] really hit me how quickly things are accelerating – the hostility towards Christians. We have kids who are 18, 21 [and] 23; I’m very concerned about them,” Brunson continues.
“Will they be able to stand unapologetically for Jesus Christ in a difficult environment? I think many of them are not ready for that.”
Search through MNN’s headlines and you’ll find a similar trend. Hate speech and hate crimes are on the rise while ministries report cultural shifts. According to Barna Research Group, U.S. believers are discarding Christian tenants like reading God’s Word and sharing one’s faith. Some Christian celebrities completely deny their faith on public platforms.
Referring to his children, Brunson says, “I’m thinking about their spiritual survival. Are they ready to stand for Jesus Christ and to be loyal to Him?”
How to stand for Jesus
In Ephesians 6, the apostle Paul encouraged believers to “stand firm” in their faith despite opposition. Pastor Brunson issues a similar call to Christians today.
“There are things we can do that change our perspective and make us willing to stand for the Lord. The main one is intimacy with God,” he says. “If I love somebody, then I’m more willing to suffer for them, to undergo hardship for them.”
The second step is equally important, Brunson says, and builds upon the first.
“Live for the day when you stand before Jesus.”
Having a correct understanding of God and viewing each circumstance in light of His control provides eternal perspective. “If you think that hardship may come, then you prepare yourself for it and you’re not blindsided when it comes. If you’re not ready, then the natural reaction is to operate from fear, and then you run away,” he explains.
“I’m an expert on fear because I was very afraid [during] the things I went through. If they’d opened the prison doors during my first year, I would have run out.”
When Brunson surrendered his fear, he found obedience. “It took me about a year to get to the point where I said, ‘Okay, I’m willing to stay here. Even if I have the option to leave, I’m willing to stay if this is the assignment you have for me, God’,” Brunson recalls.
How to pray for the Brunson family
Pray for Andrew and Norine Brunson as they prepare for God’s next assignment. Pray all believers – young and old – will be receptive to Andrew’s message. Pray the Brunson children will remain deeply rooted in their faith.
“Pray that the Lord will specifically show what this [His plan] looks like,” Norine Brunson requests.
As Andrew and Norine speak about their experiences in the coming months, pray “that the Lord will fill our mouths, anoint them, put a guard over them. [Pray] that we will be invisible and not touch any of God’s glory, the glory that belongs to Him.”
Header image depicts Andrew and Norine Brunson before boarding a flight home to the U.S. in 2018. Photo obtained via Facebook.