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44. Mission conference in Sweden

Svenska  sveriges-flagga.png


Sven speaks: I have to go back briefly to 1981, when Marianne and I were in Australia. Back then I received a letter from Anders Olsson, who was in Papua New Guinea, in which he told me that our organizational chart of Filadelfia had been approved by the government. He also wrote that they now intended to use the organization of Filadelfia to apply for visa for new missionaries. I understood that Anders didn’t know anything about the agreement Samuel Halldorf and I had made with the Assemblies of God back in 1980. It turned out that Samuel never told the Swedish churches directly involved with the work in Papua New Guinea, neither did he tell Anders and Kristina Olsson before they went to Papua New Guinea. I immediately wrote to Anders and said: "Whatever you do, do not try to use the name of Filadelfia for the purpose of applying for visas for missionaries, since we back in 1980 officially advised the Papua New Guinea government, that all future visa applications will go through the Assemblies of God." I also told him about the contract that Samuel and I had made with the organization.

Anders forwarded my letter to Samuel and asked what all of this meant. Samuel only commented on the portion of the letter that said the agreement was subjected to the churches within a two-year period joining the Assemblies of God. His comment entailed that he wasn’t sure if it was two years.

Anders was sent by PMU, the Pentecostal Mission’s Third World Aid (today known as the Pentecostal Mission Development) to work with the Vocational Training Centre in Mount Hagen. But the fact that PMU didn’t have any knowledge of the agreement with the Assemblies of God complicated everything. This put Anders in a very difficult situation. When Marianne and I later came back to Papua New Guinea, I wrote to Samuel that he must tell the churches and PMU about our contract with Assemblies of God because it was a no-win situation if no one knew about the situation. I am not sure he told them at that time either.


David, Allan Lepa, Andrew and Sven on a visit to the author's home in 1985

When we were on a visit to Sweden in 1985, I went by train from Hässleholm to Linköping together with Sven Strömberg. He was the pastor of the Pentecostal church in Hässleholm at that time. We were attending a Pastors Conference for Swedish churches being involved in the work in Papua New Guinea, to be held in the Pentecostal Church in Linköping. During the train ride, I talked about how the agreement with Assemblies of God had been made, and how the churches in the Highlands now were in fellowship with the organization. When I had finished, he asked me whether I would be prepared to tell the conference what I just had told him. "Yes, I’m more than happy to." I replied.

This conference was for the pastors of churches which were sponsoring the Swedish Pentecostal Mission work in Papua New Guinea. Even Rev Martin Tornell, the Missions Director of the Filadelfia Church in Stockholm, was there. Already in the beginning of the conference the chairman Ps Samuel Halldorf advised that I, who had just returned from Papua New Guinea, would submit a report on the work there. "I have asked Sven to give a report on the development of the Pentecostal Churches in Papua New Guinea," Samuel added.

For two hours, I talked about how mission work in Papua New Guinea had emerged. I also spoke about how we had come to an agreement with the Assemblies of God and how we had encouraged each local church to join this Fellowship of churches. When I finished speaking, it was absolutely quiet among the delegates. What I had told them, was very difficult for many of the delegates to digest, because of the very strong Swedish Pentecostal doctrine of the local church autonomy. Everyone looked at Martin Tornell. Martin then stepped up and said: "This is fantastic. You should know that the local autonomous church model that we advocate in Sweden is nowhere to be found on the mission fields, but we have had to appoint central governing bodies. I find it amazing that you have done all this in Papua New Guinea without our people being involved."

It felt good to know that the Swedish sponsoring churches now had a full understanding of our agreement with Assemblies of God and were happy to endorse it. It also felt good that Samuel Halldorf was chairing the conference and introduced me to the delegates. I felt that all misunderstandings now had come out in the open and had been dealt with.

It may be added that Allan Lepa, a pastor in Papua New Guinea, came along with me on the trip to Sweden in 1985.


During their visit to Sweden in 1985 Andrew Goransson was baptized by Allan Lepa in the Pentecostal Church in Hässleholm.

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