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(RNS) — Andrew Brunson lived in Turkey for a quarter-century starting churches and helping refugees. His new book, “God’s Hostage: A True Story of Persecution, Imprisonment, and Perseverance,” tells the story of his last two years in the country, spending months in a cramped cell built for eight with as many as 21 others.
Detained in October 2016 by the Erdogan government, which said he sympathized with the dissident Gulen movement, Brunson became the focus of a campaign by U.S. politicians and Christian leaders for his release. After being freed a year ago, Brunson has made public appearances at the State Department’s religious freedom summit in July and most recently over the weekend at the Values Voter Summit, where he and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins prayed for President Donald Trump.
Interview - Religion - News - Service - Forces
In an interview with Religion News Service before Turkish forces began their recent assault on Kurds in Syria, Brunson, 51, spoke of his appreciation for his freedom, his depths of despair during his detainment and his continuing concern for the people of Turkey.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Year - Release - Ministry - Work
A year after your release, how are you feeling and what, if any, ministry work are you involved in now?
It is wonderful to be free. I’m enjoying life. I’ve enjoyed time with my family, with my children, with my wife. So yes, a year later I’m doing great. As for what I’m doing, we still want to be involved in the Muslim world and telling people about Jesus. I don’t think that we will be directly starting churches anymore. But we would like to help people who are basically the next generation of church leaders in that area.
When you were first detained you thought you were going to be deported. What changed?
Very early on, when they were processing our...
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