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20. Pakistan?

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Sven speaks: We had started to root in Mount Isa but we could not quite give up the idea of missionary work in Pakistan. We decided to go home to Sweden and together study at the Bible school in the Filadelfia Church in Stockholm during the autumn 1971. I had gone to the Bible school there five years earlier (autumn 1966), but we thought this would be a great way to reconnect with the Swedish Pentecostal movement. Our plan was to, yet again, offer ourselves to go to Pakistan as missionaries.

In April 1971, as we began planning for a few months of living in Sweden, Hilding and Ingrid Eriksson sold their chicken farm in order to travel to Papua New Guinea. The man who bought the chicken farm had no intentions of actually living on the farm. Thus, Hilding and Ingrid’s house was empty. Marianne and I needed to save money for the trip back to Sweden so we made an agreement with the new owner. If we took care of the eggs and washed them before they were to be sold, we could stay for free in the house on the farm.

Economically speaking, it was very good for us to stay on the chicken farm, but as it turned out, Marianne was allergic to dust. Additionally, the rooster´s perpetual crowing made it very difficult for her to sleep. Overall, this meant that Marianne was under a lot of stress. This was not very good since she was pregnant again. One night she began to bleed from her nose. I myself was accustomed to my nose starting to bleed sometimes and I used to be able to stop it after a few minutes. I thought this was something similar, but we did not manage to stop the bleeding so we went to the closest hospital. The doctors had a hard time stopping it. Now Marianne started to feel contractions. She pleaded the doctors to call in the attendant doctor Irene Milne who Marianne knew, but they did not do so. The child died during childbirth. When Irene Milne came to the hospital in the morning and was told what had happened, she was extremely mad at the other doctors for not calling her up during that night.

Marianne came home from the hospital but was very weak, had panic attacks and was depressed. I did not realize how serious it was and continued to plan for the trip to Sweden. In order to get the trip as cheap as possible, we got our flight tickets from Darwin, but this also meant that we had to go on a bus trip of 1700 km. The problem was that there were never any flight tickets available and as late as the day before departure from Mount Isa, I learned that we had to collect the tickets in Darwin. 100 km south of Darwin, the bus broke down and we were told that it would take about ten hours before we could continue the bus trip, which meant we would miss our flight. We, Marianne, little David and I, took our suitcases and stood by the roadside, hoping to hitchhike our way to Darwin. Quite soon, a car stopped and offered us a lift. We managed to arrive in Darwin just in time.

The pastor of the Assemblies of God in Darwin, Bernie Hennaway, was a good friend of ours so he came and picked us up and drove us to the travel agency so that we could get our tickets. When I asked for our tickets we were told that they did not exist. I was firm and said that since I had received a reference number they had to exist. After a lot of “ifs” and “buts”, they searched for our tickets yet again and did indeed find them. We made it just in time for our flight. The flight to Sweden went smoothly with no further mishaps.

We came to Skåne and my parents in September 1971. It was a very happy reunion. The last time I met my parents was almost three years ago (January 1968). My mother told me that I should care a little bit more about Marianne, as she didn’t seem completely healthy. That was an eye-opener for me, and only then did I realize how hard the miscarriage had been on Marianne.


Sven, far left, with parents and siblings when his sister Ulla got married in 1971.

In October, we traveled up to Stockholm to attend the Bible school. David, who was now two years old, stayed with my parents in Skåne. Yet again, Marianne and I stayed with Asta and Walfrid Kennerberg. I am grateful for all the times I was given the opportunity to stay with them. During the time we went to Bible school, a war broke out between India and Pakistan. All missionaries were forced to leave the country. The road to Pakistan was closed for us yet another time and we now understood that the Lord had not called us to be missionaries there.

We decided to return to Mount Isa to serve God in the church there. We returned to Australia during the first week of January 1972. I got re-employed at McIntyre & Associates and Marianne began to work at the hospital in Mount Isa after some time. But Marianne wanted to, out of time-consuming reasons, work in a private clinic. In August 1972 she began working at Dr. Irene Milne's clinic. However, this employment did not last long as Marianne was soon pregnant again. She ended up at the clinic in March 1973 and our second child, Andrew, was born on May the 16th 1973.

Parallel to my work at McIntyre & Associates, I was the second pastor of the Assemblies of God's church in Mount Isa during my spare time. Unfortunately, there were some splits in the church and many members expressed the wish that I would take over as leader of the church. I did not want to contribute to undermining the position of the present leaders so I quit being a pastor there and moved to another church, called Full Gospel.

Meanwhile, in mid-1973, I was asked by my employer to monitor a pump station construction by a new artificial lake. The lake construction, Lake Julius, was about 80 km from Mount Isa. Because of the bad roads, there was only one option – to stay on site. While I supervised the construction, Marianne supplied the workers with medical care in a small infirmary. We stayed there for a year, from October 1973 to October 1974. We just made it back to Mount Isa for our daughter Sonia´s birth on November the 2nd 1974.

Back in Mount Isa, we bought ourselves a simple house. At the same time, our new church, Full Gospel, asked if I wanted to commit myself to be their second pastor during my spare time. I said yes and indulged in this task until our departure for Papua New Guinea approached.

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