CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A North Carolina pastor is charged with terrorism abroad.

Since October, Andrew Brunson has been detained in Turkey.

Thursday, North Carolina lawmakers sent a letter to the Turkish president demanding his return, saying those charges are false.

There is a petition with more than 200,000 signatures from people all across the world to free pastor Andrew Brunson.

The North Carolina pastor has spent the last 23 years spreading the word of Christianity to those in Turkey. But, in a bizarre twist, Brunson was arrested late last year and charged with “membership in an armed terrorist organization".

Thursday, North Carolina senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, sent a letter signed by 78 members of Congress to the Turkish president requesting Brunson’s immediate release and deportation, saying, in part, “Mr. Brunson has worked peacefully in Turkey since 1993. There appears to be no evidence to substantiate the charges against him for membership in an armed terrorist organization.”

Brunson’s wife posted to Facebook thanking everyone for their prayers and hoping to get President Trump's attention.

If convicted, Andrew Brunson could face years in prison.