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World News

Pastor returns to home church in America after being freed by Indian government

by Cara Bentley

A pastor who was accused of avoiding tax in India has returned home to his town in Tennessee. 

Pastor Bryan Nerren tucked into a McDonalds at JFK airport on Tuesday as he headed home after seven months in a legal battle which meant he was not allowed to leave India. 

He worked with Asian Children's Education Fellowship, helping children in poverty get education and training Sunday school teachers in India. 

On a trip to Bagdogra in West Bengal in October 2019 he was taken into custody and interrogated for eight hours after he got off the plane about money he had on him to fund his and his colleagues' trip. He was put in prison for six days, had his passport confiscated and a travel ban imposed. He paid fines and had several court hearings. 

The American Centre for Law and Justice, who supported him, said he was also specifically asked if the money was being used for Christian purposes. 

A deal has now been reached between the US ambassador to India and the state department, about which he said in a video: "I'll tell you when I get back". 

Pastor Nerren thanked his home church for their prayers and letters to the President. 

His wife Rhonda was in America for the duration of his stay and he posted frequently on Facebook that he missed her, saying on 1th May: "So many sleepless nights of fear and tears. We were not prepared for seven plus months of separation, but we were in love enough. Our trust in Jesus was all the preparation we needed to continue."

Posting this Wednesday from his final plane from Atlanta to Nashville, he wrote: "Only by the prayers of 1000s of you I am free. The enemy plan 3-5 years in prison for helping underprivileged children escape the darkness of poverty. But tonight I am a free man reunited with my family. God loves us all more than we could ever understand. Thank you everyone!!!"

His home church, International House of Prayer Ministries, organised a welcome event for him at the church. 

 

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