Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was detained in Turkey for two years on terrorism and spying charges before being released in October, said he is enjoying the simple things in life.
“For me to be back with my wife and my children, this is what I wanted,” said the Evangelical Presbyterian minister in an interview Wednesday (July 17) as he attended a three-day State Department summit on religious freedom.
Brunson, whose case was a focus of last summer’s inaugural Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, is something of a celebrity at the State Department’s second summit, which organizers have said is the largest such gathering on religious freedom in history.
Brunson said his experience made him value his own religious liberty more deeply. “I was isolated. I was the only Christian there, so to be back with other Christians is so important.”
The former pastor of a small church in the coastal city of Izmir is scheduled to speak briefly to foreign dignitaries at a luncheon on Thursday, the last day of the summit.
“It’s wonderful that I can be here in person, and I’m free,” he said. “And I’m very grateful for that.”
Last year, his daughter was, as he put it, “the face of the family” at the summit. At the 2018 gathering, Vice President Mike Pence threatened Turkey with sanctions if it did not release Brunson.
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SOURCE: Charisma News