Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pastor released from prison in Turkmenistan

Praise God for Pastor Ilmurad’s release!
Back in August, we invited you to write letters of encouragement to Pastor Ilmurad Nurliev of Turkmenistan. We are pleased to share that after nearly 18 months in prison, he has been released!

Pastor Ilmurad, 46, was arrested at his home in Mary in south-eastern Turkmenistan on August 27, 2010. He was charged with extracting money from three people – an accusation his wife, Maya, and fellow church members strongly denied.

Forum 18 News Service reports that Pastor Ilmurad was among a group of about 230 prisoners freed under amnesty from a labour camp on February 18.

"Church members have been coming to the house to celebrate my release with me," Pastor Ilmurad said. "I want to thank ... everyone who supported me and helped my release."

While in prison, he was shown – but not permitted to read – some of the letters sent to him by Christians around the world. "I was able to see letters and cards from Canada, Britain and elsewhere that had come in for me. But although I could have a quick look at some of them, they wouldn't give them to me." However, even the knowledge that people wrote letters encouraged him. "They showed me I was not forgotten,” he added.

Praise God for Pastor Ilmurad's release! Pray that God will heal any physical, emotional, or spiritual wounds. Pray that God will continue to equip and use Pastor Ilmurad to further His Kingdom in Turkmenistan.

While Pastor Ilmurad has been released, there are other Christians who remain imprisoned for their faith. Remind them that they are not forgotten! To compose a letter in a prisoner’s own language, visit PrisonerAlert.com. For our letter writing guide and complete prisoners’ list, click here. Your letters do make a difference!

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