A Tennessee pastor has spent the past three weeks stranded in India after he was arrested and then released over a customs violation, according to his attorney.
Pastor Bryan Nerren, a U.S. citizen who heads the International House of Prayer Ministries in Shelbyville, Tennessee, was on his way to Nepal with two other pastors for a Christian conference when he was arrested Oct. 5 because he did report the funds he carried for ministry purposes.
Nerren is now in the northeastern city of Siliguri waiting for officials to return his passport and allow him to leave India, according to an online petition created by his attorney at the American Center for Law and Justice. The petition has received over 46,000 signatures.
“We’re in contact with the State Department and Congress, and this involvement has already led to his bail,” CeCe Heil, senior counsel at ACLJ, wrote in the petition. “We are hopeful that India will respect this U.S. citizen’s religious freedom and allow him to return home to his family in America.”
Nerren regularly travels to Nepal as part of his work as the founder of the nonprofit Asian Children Education Fellowship, leading mission trips, conferences, medical clinics and other initiatives to train church leaders in Nepal and northeast India for the past two decades. After a 2015 earthquake devastated Nepal, Nerren and ACEF raised about $60,000 in donations to aid locals.
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SOURCE: Religion News Service, Aysha Khan