Sent by God
Home Search chapter Contact details More photos


11. Jesus is alive and hears your prayer

Svenska  sveriges-flagga.png


This title would be a good summary of what has been described in the previous chapters and also what is yet to come later on in this story. These same words were also carved into the mountain by the school of Vattenfall in Åsbro, Närke. Unarmed conscripts were trained and educated as line repairers at this school. The idea was that people trained there would work to maintain the vital power grid in case of war.


Inskription on a rock face in Åsbro 1964

On May 19th 1964, Sven and I were called into Åsbro, along with another 16 young men. It was the first time Sven and I met. Friendship arose and still remains after almost 50 years.

Sven says: For me it was obvious to refuse to bear arms. To receive the position of a non-combatant service you had to, among other things, talk to a priest, who would determine whether you had well-founded compunction for this alternative service. The conversation began with a great many questions to answer and some of them were quite difficult: "Do you think that the Swedish people mustn’t defend themselves against violence and power?" Another question was: "Consider the following. Foreign soldiers enter your home. You understand that they are going to rape your wife and probably even kill your children. If you happened to be standing with a rifle in your hands, what would you do?" My answer was, that it was precisely because of this reason I refused to carry guns, because I knew that in such a situation, I would probably do something which I later on would regret.

Later on, when I together with the priest went through my answers to the previous questions, the priest came up with another one:

"If you happened to be in control of an anti-aircraft gun and you see unfamiliar planes coming to bomb your city, would you not shoot it?"

"If I were in that situation, I would probably shoot, and that's exactly why I do not want to bear arms."

"Do you really think that Swedish people shouldn’t defend themselves?" the priest asked.

"Yes, but if the Swedes really understood the power of prayer I do not think we would have come to war at all."

After the meeting, the priest patted me and wished me God's blessing – and I got military service as a conscientious objector. This was the background to why I came to Åsbro, Sven concludes.


Sven at work during training in Åsbro 1964

The education in Åsbro lasted for six weeks but as non-combatants we had to do our service for 13 months. We got an extension of four months since we did non-combatant service. This meant that after the Åsbro-days we were placed on different sites all around the country. I, Leif, was placed as a caretaker at the Department of Defense. Sven, along with five companions from Åsbro, were placed in the Combat School of Vällinge, northeast of Södertälje.


Sven is smiling while I, Leif, practice artificial respiration

Sven continues to tell: Even the time in combat school was interesting. I felt that my five Christian companions and I were placed there, not only for a year working as caretakers, but because God needed us at that location at this particular time. I prayed that God would show me what he wanted us to do.

This was the Home Guard Combat School, which meant the courses were relatively short, one or two weeks long. So there was considerably big flow of people. I asked my Christian friends if they agreed to, if we got permission, arrange devotions in the dining room every Tuesday night. Yeah, they thought this was a good idea. I went to the head of the battle school, a Major, and told him that we Christians wanted to do something for those who were there in training. We wanted to arrange a service in the dining room on Tuesday evenings. The Major looked at me and said, "You must understand that I cannot command the students to go there." "Yes, I understand", I replied, "but if you let us have this devotions they might come anyway." We got permission and advertised on the notice boards about these upcoming events.

I can say, without exaggeration, that at least half of those who were in training heard the word of God thanks to the Tuesday evening devotional meetings. Most of them were people who normally would not go to church, but now got to hear singing and testimonies about God. The Officer was always there to supervise the whole thing, thus he got to hear the word of God a few extra times.

At one time there were 500 young people doing the course. Before the course set off, the Major came up to me and said:

"Sven, we are going to have a youth course now and there are 500 young people aged 15-17 who will participate. It could easily get a bit messy so maybe it’s for the best to cancel your devotional meetings this particular week. "

"Why, I don´t think so. We are used to handling and being around youths."

"Yes, but the flu is currently spreading and people could easily get infected in the dining room," the Major continued.

"If they do not get infected while eating in the dining room three times a day I´ll have trouble understanding why they would get sick on that particular Tuesday night," I replied.

The Major gave up and we got to have our devotions. Although, the Major seemed a little worried about the order and structure being kept, so he decided to join the devotions himself. The dining room was packed with young people, but we continued to do what we always did – we sang and testified about God for about an hour. There was no problem with the order whatsoever, all these young people sat as still as statues. There were some young people who came to thank us after the devotions – the Major was amongst these.

The maintaining and caring of the officers’ sauna bath was one of the responsibilities entrusted to us. At one time, the Major sat there and boasted about Sweden’s strong defense being the reason that kept us out of the World War II. "That's all nonsense," I said, "We all know that there was no strong defense." "Yeah, but you see, the enemy didn’t know that," the Major said. And then he added: "Sven, you don’t fight, nor do you get yourself drunk. What do you do for fun anyway?" There are different opinions about what is considered fun.

Some officers asked us to have private lessons with their children. I tutored kids in mathematics and got five kronor (SEK) per hour, which was not bad considering that our compensation from the state was only five kronor a day. The important aspect of this, however, was not the money but the contacts that we thus created.

One weekend I went to Henry Nordin in Ljusne to preach in the Pentecostal church there. In order to participate in the Sunday evening service, I had to take a very late train home, which meant that I would arrive very late in Vällinge. The rules clearly stipulated that we had to be back at the camp by 10pm on Sunday evenings. On Monday morning I went to the captain on duty and told him that I did not arrive at the camp until six o'clock on Monday morning. I apologized for this and was willing to take my punishment. The captain then tried to make it look like I had missed the train. "No, no," I said, "I did it because I wanted to be able to participate at a Sunday evening worship service in Ljusne. I was fully aware that I’d be late and I am ready to take my punishment." "Oh, well," said the captain, "I'll give you a warning this time."

As the community service in Vällinge reached its end, the combat school arranged a farewell party. The Major told me that this was the first time that they’d had non-combatants to help out at the combat school, and that they were a little worried about how it would all turn out in the beginning. But, he said, you have been exemplary and you have earned our respect. He appointed one of the conscious objectors to the Soldier of the Year.

Previous chapter

Next chapter