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21. The Calling

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In the beginning of the chapter "Nurse Marianne", Marianne talks about the night of prayer when she was given the thought about becoming a missionary in Papua New Guinea. As I pointed out earlier, this was something that Marianne had never told Sven. Not because she wanted to keep secrets from him, but because she did not want to affect Sven's calling. It wouldn’t have felt right until Sven were to experience a call to do mission in Papua New Guinea as well.

Marianne speaks: Presently, I was even more convinced that it was to Papua New Guinea we should go as missionaries. While I felt a bit anxious to go there, I felt concerned about nothing happening in this regard whatsoever. Still, I did not want to affect Sven to choose the wrong direction, so I kept my mouth shut about this topic. I was very important for me that he received a call of his own to this country.

In mid-1975, we were having a revival campaign in Mount Isa. During one of the church services, I stood along with everyone else and prayed. Suddenly, a man behind me says, "Within a year you will be missionaries in Papua New Guinea". I turn around to see who had spoken to me, but there were only women. I now understood that this was the voice of God and what He had proclaimed would happen.

Sven speaks: In March 1976, I felt that God spoke to me about a change in our lives.

"Sven, are you willing to leave this country and travel to a poorer country?"

"I can’t do that. I have a wife and three children, loan installments on both the house and the car. I finally have a good job that will give me money to pay for all this. How would we even get money for our support? Not a lot of people know us here in Australia – there is just a small group of people here in Mount Isa who is familiar with us." I replied.


Previously, we had assumed that we would be sent out as missionaries by the Swedish Pentecostal movement. But we had not had contact with the Pentecostal movement in Sweden for about eight years, with the exception of the visit during the autumn of 1971. But the circumstances back then, the door to Pakistan being shut, made our contact with the churches in Sweden very limited. After about three weeks, God strongly spoke to me again.

"Sven, are you willing to leave all this and move to Mount Hagen in Papua New Guinea? Ludvig and Hilding have established a church there but they are old and need help. They are also in need of someone who will take responsibility for missionary activity."

"God, I still have a wife and three children and my loan installments. I still do not know how to get money for our support. I am also needed in the church here." I replied. During this time I was the second pastor of the church “Full Gospel” in my spare time.

"Sven, you do know that you will die someday, don´t you?" the voice continued, the Holy Spirit.

"Yes, I know that."

"You will not be able to bring your house, your car, your wife, your children, or the money you collected in the bank with you when you pass away. The only things you will be able to take with you are the souls you won for me."

This made me break down and burst into tears.

"God, I apologize for my faulty values. I am willing to leave all of this behind and go to Papua New Guinea."

When I had calmed myself down, I told God:

"We can´t just go to Papua New Guinea without no one asking us to come there. So if it really was you, Lord, who spoke to me, tell Hilding Eriksson to write me a letter where he asks us to come to Papua New Guinea."

The thing was that Hilding had never written a letter to us during the four years they had been in Papua New Guinea. Besides, Hilding did not like me very much, sadly enough. The chance of him writing us a letter was very little. However, two weeks later a letter arrived. That was about the time it took for a letter to get from Mount Hagen to Mount Isa, thus the letter must have been written around the time when I had prayed to God about this.

Among other things written in the letter, Hilding wrote: "I understand that you are having a vacation in a few weeks and I was therefore wondering if you could come to Mount Hagen and have a look around. I believe that God might have called you to be a missionary here in Papua New Guinea."

I showed the letter to Marianne and said:

"This is absolutely incredible. But we have no money for the trip anyway, which mean we can’t go at the moment."

"You can go by yourself." Marianne replied.

"No, I will not go by myself. If I feel that we should be there when I arrive and you are not there to make this decision together with me, you might not approve of it. Either we travel together and make decisions together or else we won’t go there at all."

A few days later a letter arrived from my father. Since my parents were now retired, they had decided to sell their farm. Because of the sale, they had earned a little bit of money. They wanted to distribute some of the money among their children, and he now wondered what I wanted to do with my part. I figured the money would be enough for us to travel to Mount Hagen and stay there for a couple of weeks, so I immediately wrote back to my father, telling him to send the money to a bank in Cairns.

Later in March 1976, we were preparing to travel to Papua New Guinea and Mount Hagen. Since our children did not have any passports and the time until we were to travel was too short to fix this problem, we left them with good friends. David, who went to school, stayed in Mount Isa with a work colleague. George, Marianne's brother, lived in Cairns and so did his in-laws. They took care of Andrew. They had also promised to take care of Sonia, but when the mother-in-law saw how little Sonia was she said she would not dare to take care of her. We were obviously very concerned about how we were going to solve this situation. If we knew about this earlier, we would of course have been able to take Sonia with us but at the present time, we would not have had time to arrange a passport and a visa for her so this was not a possibility. On the Sunday evening we were at the church service. Afterwards, a lady named Greta Ginn came with us to George's house. We had coffee and talked about our situation. Greta told us: "If you don’t have someone to take care of your daughter, I can do it." She was used to taking care of children since she had six kids of her own. We found out that everything had gone really well as we went to pick up Sonia after the trip to Papua New Guinea. God was with us and made sure every problem was solved in these situations as well.


The weeks we spent in Papua New Guinea were very interesting. Ludvig and Hilding, and their wives, showed us around Mount Hagen and its surroundings. We also had the pleasure of meeting some other missionaries, like the Finnish brother Matti Kumpulainen. We were of course involved in various church services as well. I met Kundi Pok for the first time, with whom I later had a very close cooperation with.

We also met Samuel Halldorf from Sweden who was visiting Papua New Guinea. Samuel had earlier lived in Australia, between 1973 and 1975. He had heard, from a certain Hellberg family, that there was a Swedish Pentecostal Mission in Papua New Guinea. Samuel, who knew the Swedish Pentecostal movement very well, said that there could not possibly be any Swedish Pentecostal missionaries there as the Swedish Pentecostal churches had not sent any missionaries to Papua New Guinea. However, the Hellbergs were very stubborn about this, so before Samuel went home to Sweden he went to Mount Hagen to check this out. Here he met Ludvig and Hilding in 1975. Once home in Sweden, he wrote to the magazines “Evangelii Herald” and “Dagen” about the brothers Ludvig and Hilding who, along with their wives, had started a "Swedish Pentecostal Mission" in Mount Hagen.

He was now back in Papua New Guinea to see how the missionary activities had evolved. When we talked to each other and he heard that we felt a calling to be missionaries in Papua New Guinea, he told us: "If you move here and take responsibility for the mission work, I think we will be able to support and finance your mission work from Sweden."

During our stay in Papua New Guinea, we felt in our hearts that this was where God wanted us to be. Now, finally, Marianne told me about how she repeatedly felt that she would be a missionary in Papua New Guinea. We traveled back to Mount Isa and took "measures" to settle down permanently in Papua New Guinea. We experienced that life until now had been one long preparation for what would now be our ultimate task.

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