Sunny Side of The Stream: Christian Minister Says Longing to See His Wife While Detained Taught Him About Desiring the Return of Jesus
Evangelist Torben Søndergaard teared up in a video interview posted this week to his ministry’s YouTube account as soon as he was asked to share his experience of hugging his wife after over a year of separation. They’ve been married for 27 years, with very few days of their marriage spent apart — before this time in ICE detention.
Torben said during three years in America, they’d only been apart for three days. I can attest that when I saw Torben preach and minister at a kickstart event in 2022, his wife sang and played a song to close out the event. His family was there with him.
“It was very hard,” Torben said, to be away from his wife while in detention.
‘Longing to See Our Lord’
“In all those 400 days, I imagined daily how it’d be to see her, to give her a hug. And we talked about that,” Torben recalled. “So it was something that was building up in us. … One day it will be over. It will be over. We just need to keep fighting. Keep running the race. It will be over. I want to see you. We’re going to give each other a hug.”
“It was also special because you know God had been dealing with me about the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I did not only learn the theology behind it in jail, but God was teaching me the heart behind it. The longing to see our Lord appear and to be with Him. And that longing really grew in me,” Torben said. “When I walked there, I knew that, okay I’m going to see my wife, but one day I’m going to see my Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Day Finally Came
The YouTube video includes footage of Torben coming out of airport gates and hugging his wife. His two daughters joined in, making it a group hug, and sobs are audible.
On Aug. 18, Torben shared a photo of his reunification with his wife on Facebook. I wrote then about the photo and my church congregation’s continued prayers for Torben to be vindicated and win his asylum case.
The Playlist of Interview Clips
This video is part of a playlist of five: Torben’s first videos since his release.
In subsequent videos in the playlist, Torben’s apologizes to the broader body of Christ, saying he’s sorry that he hasn’t been more involved with believers who have differences from him. He discusses his ongoing asylum case and his belief that it will set a precedent for how the U.S. government defines persecution since his case is unique. He thanks people for their support and the many letters he received and requests financial support for the ongoing asylum case.
A Transformative Experience
In the first video in the playlist, entitled, “Prison is a Different World,” Torben explains some of the realities and difficulties of his detention. Even though he was able to see God move, teach other detainees and write books, detention was a great emotional hardship, he said.
In this second video, he shared the glory of the resulting moment of reunification.
“It was truly the greatest experience I’ve ever had. With emotions of longing for a person, to be with a person, and then that day came and I saw her,” Torben said. “It really did something great in us and it’s been so good to just be with my family again.”