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23. Ludvig and Hilding

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Let us return to the year of 1976 and the time for Sven’s and Marianne's preparations to travel to Papua New Guinea, but to understand the background of what will be depicted in the next chapter, we need to go back a few years.

Marianne has previously spoken about how her father, Ludvig Eriksson, felt that God called him to work in Papua New Guinea through a dream. The dream contributed to his family’s emigration to Australia and thus made him come closer to Papua New Guinea.

However, the knowledge of life in Papua New Guinea was insufficient. Ludvig had read a lot of adventurous stories from the South Pacific, which led him to believe that man could live by the fruits of the land, such as bananas, coconuts and sweet potatoes. Hence, you would not need any money. As early as 1960, in other words, two years after their arrival in Australia, Ludvig traveled to Papua New Guinea. He visited, among other places, a missionary station in Sepik Province (situated on the north coast of Papua New Guinea), which was associated with the Assemblies of God. The trip was a disappointment because he now understood that it is not possible to live a life without money in Papua New Guinea. He gave up the idea of ever being able settle in this country.

Ludvig and his wife Elsa were saved during their youth and had since then held on to their faith. They had always been active through their service in various churches, Ludvig, for example, by playing the violin. Hilding and his wife Ingrid, however, were not steadfast Christians. In early 1971, Hilding encountered quite a dramatic conversion. He experienced how the devil attacked him in the shape of a snake. It was so real, it made Hilding jump over the hood of the car to avoid being stung by the snake. This event made Hilding go to church the next Sunday morning and there he surrendered to God. A few weeks later, his wife Ingrid got saved as well.

Very soon after his conversion, Hilding flew to his brother Ludvig in Cairns and suggested that they should travel to Papua New Guinea together. Ludvig had been the one who had been called to work for God's service in Papua New Guinea but because of Hilding´s conversion he became the driving force. Hilding managed to convince Ludvig that now was the time to fulfill the dream that his brother had had during his youth. Ludvig was 59 years old and Hilding was 51 years old in 1971.


Ingrid´s and Hilding´s poultry farm in Mount Isa

Ludvig and Elsa sold their house in Cairns, and Hilding and Ingrid sold their chicken farm in Mount Isa. The money they gathered worked as a foundation for their new life in Papua New Guinea. In order to get a visa in Papua New Guinea, they needed an invitation from an organization that was established in the country. There was a Pentecostal Mission called “Full Gospel Outreach” which was managed by a Dutch missionary John Pastor-Kemp in Rabaul on New Britain (the largest island in Papua New Guinea). He and his mission were well known among the believers in Mount Isa. There were also many Finnish missionaries who worked there. John Pastor-Kemp had heard of Hilding and Ingrid's conversion, therefore he agreed to invite them to come and help out with the missionary work in Rabaul. He did not see them as missionaries but rather as people who could help them with some practical things. Thanks to all of this, Ludvig, Elsa, Hilding and Ingrid Eriksson came to Papua New Guinea in 1971.


From the left, Elsa, Ludvig, Ingrid and Hilding

There were a lot of guest workers from the Highlands on the plantations around Rabaul. A man named Council Wingti, who was from the Highlands, visited some of the young people who were guest workers there. He was a Christian and belonged to the Wesleyan Church. When he saw how many missionaries there were in Rabaul, he asked if any of them would like to come to the Highlands instead. The Eriksson families were the only people who responded positively to this request. They came to the Highlands in 1972.

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