the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on their God.’ My fear didn’t leave.”

After a week or two, during the change of the prison guards, one of the guards, unaware of the special restrictions against Andrew, gave him a book, Prayers to Strengthen Your Inner Man, by Mike Bickle. This provided Andrew with struc- ture to his days. The book had ten areas for praying along with Bible verses. He spent hours every day pacing back and forth in the room praying through those areas, try- ing to hold on. He spent most of his time talking to God and focusing on Him because if he didn’t, he would feel himself slide back into very negative places. Andrew said, “In the midst of fear, we can be coura- geous. You may be afraid, but you can still be brave. Courage isn’t the absence of fear. It is the obeying in the midst of fear. Continuing on, pressing on.”

Norine admitted to thinking they would disappear into the system, especially after she saw the guards had checked on their forms, “in- volvement in terrorism.” Norine        had no rights and each visit had to be approved by the Ministry of Jus- tice in the capital city. She applied over and over. “When it comes to persecution, there are no promis- es,” she said. “There are no prom- ises that he would get out nor that I could visit him.” At Andrew’s lowest moment, moving to a high security prison, he came to the realization that in- stead of pursuing his freedom, he must pursue God. “I knew Jesus and had the promise of eternal life. Nothing was more important than loving God.”

July/August 2019

Life After Prison

Since Andrew’s release in October 2018, he has a new outlook on life. “It was very lonely in prison. I was isolated and away from all Christians. To be out of that is amazing. I am enjoying the small things and enjoying being back at church,” Andrew said. “I have had trouble sleeping, and we miss our ministry in Turkey. We

were there twenty-three years, and we miss our church and our Turkish friends. While I am happy to be free, I miss my time with God. In prison, every day was consumed with God, and I was dependent on Him. “I didn’t realize just how many people were praying for me until recently. My fear while in prison was that I would be forgotten. There was a God- driven tsunami of prayer. Because God is God and can work on so many levels, He was using the prayers of God’s people to strengthen me and to eventually release me. There is a much wider purpose that he is accomplish- ing. There is the unifying of the Church in Turkey. The Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants were praying for me. The Holy Spirit was at work. I am embar- rassed that people were waking in the night to pray for me, that people were weeping for me. I am a very small man, but God was doing something very big around me. “As a son of the ARPC, I am grateful for the inheritance I have received

through the ARP Church. The strong belief in Scripture. We want to honor the ARP. We want to thank everyone in the ARP Church for praying for me. We are honored and blessed.”

What Now?

Andrew wrote a book that will be released in October. The Brunsons are waiting to see what their next assignment will be. They hope to be back in missions to the Muslims, but they don’t know what God’s plan is for them. Andrew had the opportunity to speak at the National Day of Prayer event in Washington, D.C. He said to those in attendance, “Do not forget those that are persecuted and pray for them daily.” Andrew wants to be remembered as a lover of Jesus Christ. He has no

regrets and encourages us to evaluate our hearts. “If you love Jesus, then that is the only thing that matters. If we have hearts devoted to God, it is the only way to maintain perseverance.”

Andrew wrote this song while in prison: I want to be found worthy, To stand before you on that day. With no regrets from cowardice, things left undone.

To hear you say, well done my faithful friend, now enter your reward. Jesus, my joy, you are the prize I’m running for. Jesus, my joy, you are the prize I’m running for.

Andrew Brunson’s Erskine College & Seminary Commencement address can be found on page 22.


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