The Trump administration remains committed to securing Pastor Andrew Brunson’s release from Turkey, Vice President Pence declared Saturday at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit.
Pastor Brunson is an American citizen who has been detained by the NATO member for almost two years.
“And we will never stop fighting until pastor Andrew Brunson is free,” Pence said. He also noted that though the pastor was moved from prison to house arrest in July, “that is not good enough. We will not relent until pastor Andrew Brunson is home with his family in the United States of America.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also mentioned Brunson during his speech at the Values Voter Summit on Friday, saying, “we are sparing no effort to return Pastor Brunson home to the United States.”
Brunson’s daughter Jacqueline Furnari explained during her remarks at the summit that her father went to Turkey for the purpose of communicating the gospel and the Lord’s love to the people of the nation. “So, 25 years ago my dad decided to follow God’s call on his life and move to Turkey to preach the gospel to share God’s love with the Turks,” she explained.
Over the almost two years that her father has been held, Furnari has graduated from college, married and experienced the death of a grandfather. She said that missing this time with his family has been painful for Brunson.
Furnari quoted Pastor Brunson’s words from his July 18 hearing:
It is a privilege to suffer for the sake of Christ. Blessed am I, as I suffer for him. Blessed am I, as I am slandered. Blessed am I, as I am lied about. Blessed am I, as I am imprisoned. Blessed am I, as I share his suffering.
She asked people to pray for her father’s freedom and “for others who are persecuted for their faith. Those prayers really do make a difference,” she said.