Unforeseen Fruit: The Story of David and Svea Flood – Part 1
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 NIV)
Back in 1921, a missionary couple named David and Svea Flood went with their two-year-old son from Sweden to the heart of Africa—to what was then called the Belgian Congo. They met up with another young Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, and the four of them sought God for direction. In those days of much tenderness and devotion and sacrifice, they felt led of the Lord to set out from the main mission station and take the gospel to a remote area.
This was a huge step of faith. At the village of N’dolera they were rebuffed by the chief, who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. The two couples opted to go half a mile up the slope and build their own mud huts.
They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. The only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week. Svea Flood— a tiny woman only four feet, eight inches tall— decided that if this was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead the boy to Jesus. And in fact, she succeeded.
But there were no other encouragements. Meanwhile, malaria continued to strike one member of the little band after another. In time the Ericksons decided they had had enough suffering and left to return to the central mission station. David and Svea Flood remained near N’dolera to go on alone.
Then, of all things, Svea found herself pregnant in the middle of the primitive wilderness. When the time came for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina.
The delivery, however, was exhausting, and Svea Flood was already weak from bouts of malaria. The birth process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She lasted only another seventeen days.
Inside David Flood, something snapped in that moment. He dug a crude grave, buried his twenty-seven-year-old wife, and then took his children back down the mountain to the mission station. Giving his newborn daughter to the Ericksons, he snarled, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, and I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life.” With that, he headed for the port, rejecting not only his calling, but God himself.
Within eight months both the Ericksons were stricken with a mysterious malady and died within days of each other. The baby was then turned over to some American missionaries, who adjusted her Swedish name to “Aggie” and eventually brought her back to the United States at age three…
Aggie grew up in South Dakota. As a young woman, she attended North Central Bible College in Minneapolis. There she met and married a young man named Dewey Hurst.
Years passed. The Hursts enjoyed a fruitful ministry. Aggie gave birth first to a daughter, then a son. In time her husband became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area, and Aggie was intrigued to find so much Scandinavian heritage there.
One day a Swedish religious magazine appeared in her mailbox. She had no idea who had sent it, and of course she couldn’t read the words. But as she turned the pages, all of a sudden a photo stopped her cold. There in a primitive setting was a grave with a white cross— and on the cross were the words SVEA FLOOD.
Aggie jumped in her car and went straight for a college faculty member who, she knew, could translate the article…
The instructor summarized the story: It was about missionaries who had come to N’dolera long ago… the birth of a baby… the death of the young mother…the one little African boy who had been led to Christ… and how, after the whites had all left, the boy had grown up and finally persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village. The article said that gradually he won all his students to Christ… the children led their parents to Christ… even the chief had become a Christian. Today there were six hundred Christian believers in that one village…
All because of the sacrifice of David and Svea Flood.
To be continued…
-Pastor Cymbala (excerpted from Fresh Power)
Read Galatians 6:7-10.