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36. Inadequate?

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We have now reached the later part of 1980. It has been four years since Marianne and Sven began their missionary work in Papua New Guinea. They have participated in laying the foundations for the Pentecostal movement in the Highlands. Many people have been saved and baptized. Around 20 churches have been formed and a few more have joined Philadelphia.

Sven speaks: I felt that the work had grown very quickly and reached such an extent that I began to feel a bit inadequate. It felt as if I didn’t have enough experience to lead this work. Formally, I had no position in any church, but I was still regarded as the ultimately responsible leader by the national pastors. For a more experienced missionary to be able to replace me, although it was an unofficial position, I felt compelled to leave our work in Papua New Guinea.


From the farewell services in 1980


In December 1980, after Marianne and I had discussed the matter, we informed the churches in Sweden which had participated in our financial support, that we were finishing our mission work in Papua New Guinea. After farewells, we went back to Australia, returned to Mount Isa and got ourselves "regular" jobs.

What happened after this, or rather what did not happen, was due to the fact that the leaders of the Assemblies of God did not understand my role. In retrospect, I could have been clearer in my conversations with the Assemblies of God, but I was under the impression that what my role had entailed was quite evident. I was also very careful not to, in any way, disparage Hilding’s and Ludvig’s previous efforts. They were the ones who had started the Pentecostal movement in Mount Hagen and its surroundings. The leaders of the Assemblies of God therefore assumed that it was Hilding who held the ultimate responsibility still. The truth was that Hilding was not very clear on how the work had evolved since Marianne and I got there in 1976. One must remember that his experience in church life was very limited and this was partly why he and Ludvig had asked Marianne and I to come to Papua New Guinea in the first place. The Assemblies of God PNG Mission did not really comprehend the vacumm that was created as I left Papua New Guinea since they believed that Hilding was the ultimate leader. As a result of this, they did not realize the opportunity to replace me with a more experienced missionary in the leadership of the Pentecostal work in the Highlands.

At the same time that Marianne and I left Papua New Guinea, the agreement with Assemblies of God, for Swedish Pentecostal Missionaries to come to Papua New under the covering of Assemblies of God PNG Mission, as Associate Missionaries, had been finalized. This meant that Kristina and Anders Olsson could now get their visas through the Assemblies of God. They traveled to Papua New Guinea in late January 1981. When they arrived at Mount Hagen, we were already in Australia.

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