Danish evangelist Torben Søndergaard has now been held in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement jail for a full year.
Søndergaard was taken into custody on June 30 last year in Florida by agents from the Joint Terrorism Task Force, while awaiting a decision on a pending asylum application with the U.S. government.
He was told he was being arrested for gun smuggling, even though Søndergaard was never charged with that. He is accused of overstaying his Visa.
Søndergaard and his family fled Denmark in 2019, fearing persecution and arrest following a harassment campaign by the government and media.
They left for the U.S. with only what they could carry in 8 suitcases.
With his immigration appeals process exhausted and now facing deportation to Denmark, his legal team has asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to grant a “Petitioner’s Motion for Stay of Removal,” possibly freeing Søndergaard or ordering a new trial in the Immigration courts.
A decision from the court could come in July.
Søndergaard is now the longest-serving inmate currently at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s Baker County Facility in Macclenny, Florida.
In a phone call with CBN News from his cell, Søndergaard told us, “If you ask me how I am, I am good, really good, and really bad. I’m truly thankful for everything God has shown me and what God is doing. But on the other side, emotionally, I’m crying because it’s really hard, especially for my family. I’m almost to the point where I feel like every day is just to survive, but every day we see God’s plan. But we’re ready to move on. We’re ready for this season to stop.”
Torben is the founder of The Last Reformation, a worldwide movement that seeks to return Christianity to the Book of Acts. He also began the Jesus Center in Denmark, which trained disciples from 30 nations to spread this message around the world.
Attacks against his ministry in Denmark began in 2016 when the Jesus Center was investigated by six different Danish government agencies for everything from food safety to unpaid taxes. Officials found nothing wrong. The government then investigated his family when they began homeschooling.
Danish TV infiltrated his ministry with undercover reporters for a documentary called “God’s Best Children,” which lumped Torben in with other leaders of so-called “radical Christian” ministries who had had serious moral or ethical failures or even criminal activity.
Torben told CBN News the documentary ruined his reputation in Denmark.
Upon his arrival in the U.S. in 2019, Søndergaard immediately applied for asylum and set up his residence in California while he grew his ministry.
He received no word about his application until a letter from the Department of Homeland Security summoned him to a meeting in Orlando, Florida on June 30th, 2022.
At the meeting, Søndergaard says he was accused by ICE agents of smuggling weapons into the U.S. from Mexico, a claim he wholeheartedly denies. Then the Christian evangelist was placed in handcuffs.
As an inmate, Søndergaard said he “spends around 22, 23 hours per day inside my cell.”
During his year behind bars, he said he has written two books.
“God has used it to humble me. God has used it to change me,” Søndergaard said. “But I want to encourage people at the same time that I really believe it’s time for America. I really believe God wants to do something special in America… He wants to do something beautiful.”
When we asked how people can pray for him, he answered, “For truth to be revealed.” And he asked for prayer for his family, saying, “My wife is suffering more than I am.” His voice breaking from emotion, Søndergaard said, “I dream about the day when I finally see my wife, Lena, that day I can go to her and give her a big hug and be with her and the girls, and we can stand together and cry, and know that it’s over.”