Pastor Andrew Brunson remains behind bars in a dangerous prison in Turkey waiting for the continuation of a trial many hoped would end his ordeal. The American missionary was arrested in late 2016 and charged with being part of a terrorist uprising. But many believe the Turkish government fabricated the charges in order to use Brunson as a pawn to exchange for a Turkish dissident seeking asylum in the United States. Brunson, from Black Mountain, North Carolina, has lived in Turkey for 23 years and pastors a small church there. In attendance at his trial this week were: Sam Brownback, the new U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom; and U.S. Senator Thom Tillis from North Carolina. The trial has been delayed until May 7. Brunson could receive 35 years in prison if convicted.
Meanwhile, a Chinese-American pastor, formerly a pastor in North Carolina who is married to a North Carolina woman, received 7 years in prison for working with underground churches and Bible schools in China. Rev. John Sanqiang Caowas charged with “organizing others to illegally cross the border” after he returned from a mission trip to a neighboring country. Rev. Cao has established more than a dozen Bible schools in China and 16 others in neighboring Myanmar (formerly Burma). Observers believe his arrest is part of China’s recent actions to clamp down on Christian leaders and churches in an effort to align all faiths with the Communist Party’s atheistic doctrines.
NC Family’s staff urges you to join us in prayer for these two pastors, for their families, and for Christians around the world who are facing persecution of all kinds because of their faith. Please specifically pray that these men would soon be released, that God would guard their health and safety while imprisoned, and that they would bear witness to the love of Jesus even in while in prison.