KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Tennessee pastor returned home from India after being held there since October.
We’ve been following the story of Shelbyville pastor Bryan Nerren since he was arrested and accused of failing to declare money he brought on a mission trip.
On Tuesday night, Nerren was reunited with his family at the Nashville airport. WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel spoke with him before he landed.
“When I saw the coast of New York, I cried for a long time and thanked God he figured out a way to get me home,” Pastor Nerren said.
That’s because Nerren hadn’t been home in more than seven months. He was arrested after claims he failed to declare money while passing through India on a trip to train Sunday school teachers.
“I went to prison for six days and they held me 7-and-a-half months, technically over a piece of paper, but it was never about the paper. It was always religious in nature,” he said.
Thanks to a U.S. Ambassador’s deal, it is all finally coming to an end. The pastor said he leaned on his faith through the ordeal.
“In the first couple of months there was scary times. The last five months, I haven’t been scared at all, I’ve wanted to go home every day. But I knew God was doing something, and all I had to do was be still, and He would finish doing what He was doing,” Nerren said. “The toughest part of this whole thing, Elizabeth, has been what I’ve put my wife through.”
And that is who he says he’s missed most for more than half of a year now: His wife and his family. He was looking forward to being reunited with them.
“It’s going to be a whole lot of hugging and a whole lot of crying, and I don’t cry, and I don’t really enjoy hugging, but all of that has changed. It will all be different tonight to be back home with family and friends,” Pastor Nerren said.
For a little more perspective on what the last several months were like, Pastor Nerren told us he read books, watched YouTube, and waited for what the next week would bring.
He also said the message he wants to get across is one of encouragement to pray for and help people in India who want to worship God freely.
- Virtual concert to raise money for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital
- Sevier Co. mayor extends mask mandate through April 15
- Child tax credit vs. child care tax credit: Here’s how each could give more money to parents this year
- Greenville Co. teacher receives award after helping student call 911 over unresponsive mom
- Tips from a pro photographer on how to get the ultimate Instagram-worthy shot