Pastor Bryan Nerren of the International House of Prayer in Shelbyville, Tennessee, was arrested in Bagdogra, India, on October 5 for failing to properly fill out paperwork to declare cash he was carrying.
Although he was released on bail on October 11 in West Bengal, India, his passport has been seized while he awaits trial on December 12.
On October 5, Nerren and two other ministry associates were traveling to Bagdogra to meet with 10 other pastors. After their arrival in New Delhi, the three pastors had their passports stamped and headed to the domestic security check to board the plane to Bagdogra.
Pastor Nerren was flagged when a security agent noticed a large sum of cash in his possession. After security called for the assistance of a nearby customs agent, Pastor Nerren explained what the cash would be used for.
The customs agent asked if Nerren was a Christian and whether the money would be used to fund Christian activities. The agent proceeded to question Nerren for another hour before returning the money and telling him he was free to go.
Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how things played out. As soon as the plane landed in Bagdogra, Narren was immediately arrested for failure to declare cash properly—the very same cash that the customs agent in New Delhi returned to him.
According to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) Pastor Nerren “is essentially being held hostage in India for his Christian faith.” He was incarcerated in Siliguri, India, but eventually had to be taken to the hospital due to health conditions.
One of the first questions the physician that was sent in to evaluate him asked was whether he was a Christian. After Pastor Narren replied with a yes, the doctor spat on the floor in disgust before beginning her examination.
Currently, the ACLJ is petitioning for the release of Pastor Bryan Narren. “We are currently mobilizing on Capitol Hill,” the organization said in a statement released at the end of October. “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.”
You can sign the petition as well as donate any amount of money at the bottom of the article on their website.
Pastor Narren’s son Kevin, an associate pastor at his father’s church, talked about his dad’s deep love for the people of Nepal.
“You will never have a conversation with him without his bringing up Nepal,” Kevin said of his father. Kevin also mentioned that his father had “always known the danger” of ministering to those in India.
Nerren’s wife Rhonda is asking all Christians everywhere to pray for her husband’s release and safe return home for the holidays.
“My husband has done nothing wrong. His only crime is living out his steadfast love for Jesus. He’s my best friend, and I need him home,” Rhonda said.
“Please pray for our family. Pray for the hearts of the officials who have the power to give him back his passport and let him come back to us. And pray for our legal team at the ACLJ as they work on our behalf to bring him home.”