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10. Nurse Marianne

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Marianne says: As I mentioned earlier, it was almost obvious to me that I would become a nurse. Perhaps there was a thought planted in my subconscious that this profession would be a good training in my future as a missionary Back in Cairns, I applied to nursing school. In 1960, 17 years old, I started my nursing education. This training took four years and it was a great time in my life. We were several Christians who hung out and we went to church services together. I had a special friend named Cecilia, a colored girl, born on one of the Australian islands in the north. We were both in the Christian student group of the nursing school. (Why I stated that Cecilia was a colored person is because during this time it was very unusual for colored people to be trained as nurses or pursue other higher education. The fact even was that Australia only allowed immigration from Europe, a policy called “White only policy”. This policy wasn’t amended until 1972.)

Both Cecilia and I felt that we would become missionaries but we were not sure of the country to which God had called us. After a youth meeting in Cairns, which specifically emphasized evangelism and callings for missionary, we felt a great need to clarify this particular question. We met in my room to pray for direction in this question, which we considered so important. Weather wise, it was an awful night – it rained and thundered violently. In the small hours of the morning (I think the time was around three o’clock in the morning) it became clear to me that it was to Papua New Guinea God called me as a missionary. Shortly thereafter my friend proclaimed, "God has spoken to me and made it clear that I should go to Papua New Guinea as a missionary. What did he tell you?" I was a little mad at God that it wasn’t Africa or India, but after a while I said, "I also feel that I must go to Papua New Guinea. Although, I feel awfully scared about going there since there are cannibals living there and the country is very primitive."

I finished my degree in nursing in late 1963, but I only had a little study break during the Christmas and New Year's Eve, since I as early as in January 1964 went to Melbourne to supplement with a midwifery education. The stay in Melbourne was in many ways different to studying in Cairns. It was not just that I was very far away from my family but I did not have any Christian mates there. I didn’t go to any church services either because there was a long distance to a church where I felt at home. Some of my friends asked questions about my faith and about things in the Bible that I found difficult to answer. I was not very good at discussing and arguing. Doubts came into my life and things in the Christian faith that had previously been self-evident weren’t so obvious anymore.


Marianne having completed her midwifery examination in Melbourne 1964

When I returned to Cairns after that year in Melbourne, there were a lot of question marks. I had also started to think about the phenomenon about having a life partner, a man to share my life with. Was there someone out there for me? So far I had not yet met anyone that even made me wonder if it could be HIM. A thought of me making an extended visit to my old home country, Sweden, started to grow inside of me. But was this the right path for me? I felt very perplexed and experienced that I couldn’t have it this way. What would I do with my life?


Throughout my childhood, I had learned to go to God with my troubles and now I had four big questions I wanted answers to. So, despite my doubts, I knelt in my parent's bedroom and called out my distress. “God”, I said, “please send Con Frangos here to talk to me!”

Was that a "large" request of God? Con Frangos was an elder of the church in Cairns. He was 70 years old and originally came from Greece. When I met him in church, he would always say: "Marianne, God has something great laid out for you and I pray every day that he will lead you in the right direction." But we had now lived in Cairns for seven years and Con Frangos had never visited our home. So, the probability for a visit on his part was not so great.

As I get up from my prayer and look out through the window, I see the rain furiously pouring down. I can hardly believe what I am seeing is true. There in the pouring rain, Con Frangos is coming through the gate on a bicycle! Is it an illusion? I feel like I’m about to faint. He knocks on the door and I open, since I happen to be home alone that day. Con Frangos says, "God has sent me here to speak with you. You have questions that you need answers to. Can I come in and talk to you? "

We go and sit at the kitchen table. He doesn’t ask what questions I have. Instead, he opens his Bible. And so he begins, "You have asked God about this question." Then he reads a biblical quotation on this subject and explains how it all fits together. He continues this way going through my four questions, and then he says, "And now you're thinking about going to Sweden, but you do not know if it is the right thing to do. God has told me that it is right for you to go – it is in accordance with his will. You also doubt the fact that there is any life partner for you since you feel you should become a missionary. You do not have to worry about it, because when you come to Sweden so you will meet your husband. The first time you meet him, God will tell you that this is the man you will marry."

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