Christians in Turkey are very happy and thankful to God that American evangelist, David Byle, has been released from an immigration facility in Istanbul after receiving a deportation order for being a ‘danger to public order’ and a flight risk. There was no indication of what the ‘danger to public order’ accusation was based on, Byle’s wife Ulrike pointed out. She went on to say:
‘I think the reason he [was] being held is because of his evangelistic activities.’
Byle is the founder of a successful Bible Correspondence Course (BBC) in the Kadikoy neighborhood of Istanbul. Its focus on educating the Turkish people about the Bible is unwelcome by many: two years ago the centre suffered an arson attack which destroyed thousands of New Testaments and other Christian books. However, it is his street evangelism that has attracted the most controversy within Turkey and garnered the attention of the government.
His arrest took place a few days before Byle was to teach a class to a group of Turks on how to share the gospel, though it is not clear whether the link between the two events was intentional. It also came just four days after the government opened the Diyanet Center of America, a sprawling 15-acre site complete with a 20,236-square-foot mosque, fellowship hall and Turkish bath, all paid for with state money, which touts itself as the biggest Islamic campus ‘in the Western Hemisphere.’ He was taken to a police station and then issued with three orders:
- a 30-day observation order keeping him detained at the immigration centre,
- a deportation order and
- a re-entry ban.
Thankfully, the judge who examined the detention order on the 14 April overturned it due to lack of evidence and Byle was freed later that night.
He wrote on Facebook:
‘Praise God, I was released from the deportation center this afternoon, and just arrived home. Thanks to all who prayed and did advocacy for me, also to my tireless lawyer and most of all to our lord and savior Jesus Christ, who never left side [sic], and never will.’
His lawyer is hopeful that the deportation order and re-entry ban will also be overturned for the same reason.
According to Ulrike, her husband was not mistreated in jail and remained in good spirits. When the guards became aware of a potential safety issue from suspected Islamic State (IS) members, he was moved to another floor.
Furthermore, Byle was presented with ministry opportunities among many refugees from Afghanistan and Pakistan there and has asked us to pray that the director of the immigration centre, a committed Muslim, will be willing to allow David and others to provide the refugees with clothes to replace the ragged items they have worn since fleeing to Turkey.
JOIN US IN THANKING GOD:
for David’s release from the immigration centre
for protecting David whist he was detained
for the Pakistani and Afghan refugees that David was able to meet
JOIN US IN PRAYER FOR:
the deportation order and entry ban will also be overturned
that the director of the immigration centre will allow David and others to bring help to the refugees
that David’s lawyer will continue to have wisdom to know how to advocate for David
that God will overrule the injustice against David and make blessing come out of it
Source: MEC and Christianity Today.