MONTREAT, N.C. (FOX CAROLINA) It has been nearly two years since Andrew Brunson was detained in Turkey for allegedly having links to terrorism.
The North Carolina pastor was arrested in October of 2016 and accused of terror-related charges and espionage. He faced up to 35 years in jail.
Friday, after serving almost two years in Turkish prison, the evangelical found himself convicted of only terrorism charges and released from house arrest.
He was free to come home.
PASTOR BRUNSON JUST RELEASED. WILL BE HOME SOON!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2018
Officially out of jail, Brunson made his way to Germany to be treated at a medical facility before his trip across the ocean.
He was greeted by the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell.
I welcomed Pastor Brunson & his wife to Germany on their refueling stop. He’s almost home thanks to @realDonaldTrump. When I presented him with the US flag, he immediately kissed it. #agratefulnation pic.twitter.com/b82gA7PXVr— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) October 13, 2018
Christ Community Church is ecstatic about his return- they've been with him in spirit through it all.
"Every time this court case would come, our hearts and our expectations would grow, and our hopes to see him come home would grow" said Reverend David Taylor.
While in prison, Brunson missed the marriage of his children, their college graduations. His community and family felt his absence.
"Certainly a great deal of heartache because this is not just a story far off, this is a brother, this is a friend and this is someone that's a part of this community that we know well," said Taylor.
There was NO DEAL made with Turkey for the release and return of Pastor Andrew Brunson. I don’t make deals for hostages. There was, however, great appreciation on behalf of the United States, which will lead to good, perhaps great, relations between the United States & Turkey!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2018
Brunson's story has become an international sensation.
President Donald Trump has been vocal about his thoughts on the pastor's imprisonment and now, his release.
The North Carolinian's plane landed at Joint Base Andrews Saturday afternoon.
The President arranged for a meeting with Brunson in the Oval Office at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
The meeting was brief. Brunson prayed for the President, asking God to give him 'supernatural wisdom.' The pastor joked with the President about voting, saying he filed an absentee ballot from detention.
He left Washington to head home to the open arms of his community who always knew he'd be with them again. Brunson said he plans to spend time with his children and 'continue to pray about the future.'
"Welcome home. We're just going to celebrate with him that God is active and he's heard and he's brought him the freedom that he didn't have before," said Taylor.