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45. An additional home

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In chapter 26, named "Goranssons, the missionary family", we touched upon the concept of missionaries having children and their schooling. During the first years of life the children live together with their parents. But, of course, there are exceptions to this “tradition” as well. For example my mother Asta Kennerberg took care of a small boy for a few years in the 30s in Sweden while the boy’s parents were missionaries in Africa. But Goranssons´ children could attend the school at MAF in Mount Hagen during the first twelve years of school and still be able to stay at home with their parents. A lot of missionary children have not had this privilege, but have had to leave home and attend a boarding school for their schooling, usually in the same country, but far away from where their parents were working. Most of the children have not had problems with this but many have later in life experienced troubles and talked about how hard it was to spend long periods of time away from their parents. For the majority of missionaries who have children and work in developing countries, the time will come, sooner or later, when the local schools cannot offer the required level of education. This applied to the Goransson family as well.

Sven speaks: Our oldest son, David, would complete his Senior High in 1986. The Mission School run by MAF in Mount Hagen followed the Australian New South Wales curriculum. The children started school at the age of five. The pre-Uni education consisted of 6 years of Primary School, followed by 4 years called Junior High and completed with two years called Senior High. To continue to Tertiary education, David would have to return to Australia. Some missionaries found themselves in a situation where they had to take a break in their missionary work in order for them to be with their children until they were old enough to live by themselves. Given the age differences between the three of our children, it would mean a gap of 7-9 years and that would basically be like finishing our work in Papua New Guinea. But we felt that our work in Papua New Guinea was still not complete. In fact, at this time we thought that we would be spending the rest of our lives there. Naturally, we had to find a solution for David’s situation that we felt comfortable with.


The Goransson family sometime in the mid 1980´s

We decided to spend the year of 1986 in Australia. This allowed David to finish his last Senior High year there. We hoped to find a good solution for David during this year, enabling us to return to Papua New Guinea.

In 1985, we spent three months in Sweden. In January 1986, we arrived in Townsville in Australia. We rented a house and the children started their schools. Marianne found work as a nurse at a retirement home, which was great considering the additional costs (housing, etc.) we needed to cover.

Around this time there were voice raised in the government of Papua New Guinea, demanding that missionaries doing church planting and training nationals, should be required to show evidence of being properly trained themselves by a reputable organization. My engineering qualifications were good considering me being responsible for the running of the Vocational Training Centre that we were running for the first few years, since I was not the teacher, but only the administrator. This qualification did not include any training in car mechanics. However being the person in charge of our church planting and Theological Training of Leaders, my theological qualification consisted of a five week course in Filadelfia in Stockholm, and a life time of active involvement in some churches. This could not be considered being any official qualification for the job. We had not as yet received any indications that our visas would not be renewed next time, but it felt as if it would be a good idea to anticipate this potential threat.

The Assemblies of God Church, Calvary Temple, in Townsville ran a two-year Bible College, Rhema Bible College. The focus of the college was to train church planters who would go out and start new churches. The studies covered many different topics, such as basic theology, mission history, leadership and so on. I called up Dr David Cartledge and asked if he thought I would be able to finish the two-year program in one year. "I'm sure you can handle it." was his answer, and he said I was welcome to begin.

My studies went well and the year in Australia was coming to an end. Our hope was that David would be able to stay in Townsville and attend the James Cook University there since we had all made friends in the city, but we still did not know how to solve the problem of finding a place for him to board.

One Wednesday evening in December, when Marianne and I were attending a Home Fellowship, a man named Vic Stolar talked about how God had blessed him in an amazing way. He told us about how he had been able to buy a house for a very cheap price and he gave glory to God for this. I felt moved by what he said, and his way of telling us about this.

On our way home from the Home Fellowship, I said to Marianne: "If David was to live with Vic and Fay Stolar, I would feel free to return to Papua New Guinea." "Yeah, I would too." Marianne said. We had both felt the same way.

The following day, Vic Stolar called us and asked if David had something special planned for the coming Saturday. "I don’t think so." I replied. Vic wondered if David would want to come and help him move. I asked David if he wanted to do this and he was more than happy to help.

While working together, moving house the following Saturday, Vic suddenly asked David what he was planning on doing next term. "I had intended to stay here in Townsville and go to University, but if my accommodation problem isn’t solved, I’ll have to go to Brisbane and attend a university there. I can live with relatives in Brisbane." David replied. Vic then said: "You can come and stay with us." When David came home he was very excited and happy about what Vic had said. "You need to calm down a bit because Vic hasn’t spoken to his wife yet." I said, while in my heart I was hoping that this would be our solution. Next Wednesday we attended yet another Home Fellowship and Vic asked us:

"Has David told you that he can live with us?"

"Yes," I replied, "but we did not know whether to take you seriously since we knew that you hadn’t talked it over with your family yet."

"I have spoken now with Fay about this and she would be delighted to have David in the house. If he wants to stay with us, he is more than welcome."

"This all sounds great!" I said, "but the problem is that we don’t have any money to pay for his accommodation and his living expenses."

"You do not have to worry about that. If David is staying with us he will be a part of the family and it will not cost you a single cent." Vic said.

"But he will still have to have a job alongside his studies so that he can earn some money for his personal expenses."

"If David needs a job, he can work in my laundry business during the weekends. He can start next week, if he so pleases."


The Stolar family sometime in the mid 1980’s

We saw this as a direction from God and felt that we now could return to Papua New Guinea in peace. This was also the beginning of a lifelong friendship with Fay and Vic. When David had finished his university studies, he stayed in Vic's company working as a bookkeeper. The company has grown and now he has approximately 150 employees. David worked at Vic’s company for 16 years.

We have experienced the Stolar family as a part of our family. When Andrew and Sonia also needed to come home to Australia for their ongoing education later on, Vic and Fay took them in also. Over a period of time, all of our three children lived with them at the same time. It was a great sacrifice they made. Marianne and I will always be eternally grateful to them.

The contact with Vic and Fay has meant a lot from other aspects as well. I never drink alcohol, because it didn’t match with my theological thinking. It turned out that Vic was very fond of wine, while he at the same time is one of the most spiritual people I've met. It was as if God wanted to show me that you could be godly even if you drank wine. I still do not drink alcoholic beverages myself, but I can now see how you can enjoy a glass of wine and still have an intimate relationship with God. I remember once when Vic said: "I long for the day I will be able to give a million dollars a year to the work of God". Thus, it wasn't just our family he supported, but they helped so many other people well together with a lot of different Missions Projects. In my way of thinking they are giants in the Kingdom of God.

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