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16. Evangelist Göransson

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According to Wikipedia, evangelist is a term used by many Christian denominations to define a person who travels around to different churches and preaches. However, within the Pentecostal movement in Sweden, it was formerly common to also use the term “evangelist” to describe a younger pastor.

Sven speaking: When I quit my job at CG Colens, I pursued an education at the Bible School in Filadelfia Church in Stockholm from October to November 1966. Various churches, looking for a helpful evangelist, turned to the Bible School in order to "find" a suitable person who could come and help out in their church. When the last study week had begun, I still hadn’t received one of these "offers", but then – all of a sudden – three churches wanted to get in touch with me. There were two churches, one in Helsinki, Finland, and one in Sundsvall that both wanted a youth pastor and a third suburban church on the Mälar Islands that was in need of two evangelists. Helsinki and Sundsvall were pretty soon out of the question, since they had criteria requiring that you could play and sing, and this had never been my strength. It is astonishing to note how the Lord closed and opened doors in order to lead me forward in accordance with His plan.


Bible School Students singing in Filadelfia Church in Stockholm

Being an evangelist was a new experience. Not that the church work was new to me. Like I previously told you, ever since I got saved at the age of 14 I participated in various ways to win souls over to God. Testimony and preaching weren’t new to me either, but now my fellow evangelist Lars-Ivar Nilsson and I had to arrange many church services and gatherings each week for a year. In addition, "we knocked on doors" and visited all the houses on the Mälar Islands at least once during that year when we were evangelists there – some homes were visited several times. Efforts to spread the “Evangelii Herald” newspaper were continued from my time in Bromma, but now we tried to sell about 50 magazines each week instead, with varying success. Naturally, we invited people to come and join our worship services at the same time. Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of people who heeded our call, but they still received visits from us. I remember one lady who opened the door with her nose a bit "stuck up” who said: "Sorry, but I belong to the state church." My reply was, "I do too, but I'm not sorry for it." She then laughed along with me.

In addition to the home visits, we had worship services in the chapels on Färingsö and Skå, but also in residential homes and various institutions that were available on these islands. Children and youth services were also a part of our job. We also attended worship services at the Community College of Kaggeholm. This all entailed many, weekly opportunities to preach and arrange worship services, and thus we had to be disciplined in order to cope with this lifestyle.

Through the cooperation with the Community College of Kaggeholm I got to know the school principal Åke Boberg. The fact that Åke built up trust in me during this period would later prove to be of great importance. Later, when the Swedish Pentecostal Movement were asked if they wanted to participate in our support (pay wages etc.), it was mostly because of Åke's confidence in me that they said yes.

Lars-Ivar and I were often invited to have dinner in the homes of the church members. We often talked about how nice it would be to invite all the seniors to dine as a “thank you” for all the dinners. Said and done, we invited the seniors of the church, about 30 people, for dinner. I also asked Marianne, whom I’d had a bit of contact with, if she wanted to come along and show the seniors her slides of her brother’s adventures in Papua New Guinea. She gladly agreed to do this.

At the time of the invitation, we had enough money to buy meat and potatoes but when the time for the dinner approached, we had no money left at all (“as usual”). We were very worried about how it all would work out. We didn’t think that cancelling the dinner was a good idea, as we had already invited the pensioners. Thus, we prayed for a way to get meat or money to shop for meat.

On a winter evening, as we are all heading towards Nalenpalatset where the Filadelfia Church arranges its café nights for “young people out in the town", we suddenly see a hare that is lying dead in the middle of the road. I stop the car to throw it off the road but can sense that it is still warm, which means that it was hit by a car very recently. “Here is our meat for our seniors," I say to Lars –Ivar.

We turned around and went home. I skinned and dismembered the hare. I was accustomed to skinning and butchering animals because of my childhood circumstances. After this was done, we froze the meat. However, it felt a little stingy to feed 30 persons with one single hare so we bought a few pieces of meat as well. As it turned out, this additional meat was completely unnecessary. One day before we were supposed to have the dinner for the seniors, a duck flew up in front of our car and threw itself to its death against the radiator. God provided meat for us. Everyone ate and thought it tasted very good. When the pensioners had finished eating, we told them about how we got hold of the meat.


Sven and Lars-Ivar in the Skå Church 1967

It was a very valuable experience to be an evangelist on the Mälar Islands. Lars -Ivar Nilsson and I were there for almost a year. Lars-Ivar went on to pursue a position as a youth pastor in Trollhättan. I myself got a phone call from Sven O Svensson who wanted me to come and be a youth pastor at the Elim Church in Örebro. I replied that I had to consider whether this was in accordance with God's will. "How much time do you need?" Sven O Svensson asked me. "Give me two weeks." I replied.

When the two weeks had passed, I’d arranged meetings held in tents at a location in Uppland. I stayed with the pastor and one day he came and said with respect, "It's the phone for you. Sven O Svensson wants to talk with you." "What does the Lord say now?" Sven O Svensson asked me. "He says that to be a youth pastor in Örebro is not in accordance with His will for me but that I should rather focus on preparing myself for a missionary service." The phone was silent but after a while he said: "If you ever change your mind, let me know." He probably wasn’t very used to someone turning his offer down.

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