Family, friends of Tenn. pastor detained in India push for President’s help

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Tennessee pastor has been stranded in India for more than 100 days. His family and friends are now pushing for President Trump to intervene.

Back in October, Indian customs agents arrested Shelbyville pastor Bryan Nerren, claiming he violated the Foreign Exchange Management Act. He’s been overseas ever since.

WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel continues to follow Pastor Nerren’s case, learning about a new effort to help get him back home.

Nerren’s family, friends and local pastors are trying to catch President Trump’s attention, and they’re leaning on the community to help them do that. They’re asking people that know him and even people that don’t — to send letters to the White House.

“President Trump is our last hope. On earth at least. Our true hope is in God, that God is handling this, but we’re giving our president the opportunity to make a difference here,” said Bryan Nerren’s son, Kevin Nerren.

Kevin and others are calling on community members to help get the message to the President by writing him letters.

“We’re hoping that he can just take a few minutes, make a quick phone call to someone in India and have them send my dad home,” he said.

“He’s the Commander in Chief, he’s the President of the United States, and one phone call can make all of this go away,” said East Tennessee pastor Jim Gore.

Gore was traveling with Bryan when he was arrested on claims of violating the Foreign Exchange Management Act, carrying funds to cover expenses for two conferences in India and Nepal along with money for 13 ministers during the trip.

“He’s been there now for 110 days, waiting for the courts and customs to return his passport,” Kevin said.

“His passport is the big sticking point. Bryan can’t leave India until he regains his passport, and that passport can only be released through the courts in conjunction with the Indian customs department,” said Gore.

Bryan has had several court hearings in India, but none have been successful. Still, his family and friends have hope he’ll be home.

“We’ve pretty much postponed as much as we can, and we’re still waiting for him. We’re going to have a lot of celebrating to do when he gets back,” his son said.

Pastor Bryan Nerren’s family and friends are wanting people to know their voice can make a difference.

How you can help

If you’re interested, letters can be sent to President Trump at the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500.

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