They were missionaries to the Congo nearly 100 years ago, sent out by Philadelphia Church in Stockholm, Sweden, along with Joel & Bertha Erickson. During their first year they didn’t see a single convert. The village was resistant to the gospel. Their one achievement was to share the love of Jesus with a 5-year-old boy who delivered eggs to their back door every day.
Not long after arriving, Svea became pregnant, but was bedridden with malaria for most the time until she gave birth to a baby girl, Aina, on April 13, 1923. Svea died 17 days later. David buried his 27-year-old wife on the mountainside overlooking the village. His grief turned to bitterness. He gave his daughter to the Erickson’s and went back to America with dashed dreams and a broken heart, where he spent the next 50 years drowning his sorrow in drink.
The Erickson’s raised Aina until she was a toddler, but both of them died within three days of each other when the villagers poisoned them. Aina was given to another America missionary couple, Arthur and Anna Berg, who raised her and eventually returned to America to pastor in South Dakota.
After high school Aina (renamed Agnes, Aggie) went to a Minneapolis Bible College and married Dewey Hurst who eventually became President of Northwest Bible College. On their 25th Anniv. the college gave the Hursts a special gift–a trip to Sweden. Aggie hoped she might find her biological father who had abandoned her 50 years before. Searched Stockholm for five days and on the last day, they got a tip that led them to a ramshackled apt. bldg. where they found Aggie’s dad on his deathbed in liver failure.
The last words David Flood ever expected to hear were, “Papa, it’s Aina.” “I never meant to give you away.” They embraced, and a 50-year curse of bitterness was broken. A father and daughter were reconciled that day. David Flood gave his heart back to Jesus and died a short time later, while Aggie and her husband were in flight back to the USA.
AND NOW, THE REST OF THE STORY… Five years later Dewey & Aggie Hurst attended the World Pentecostal Conference in London, England, with 10,000 other delegates. One of the speakers was Ruhigita Ndagora, the Superintendent of the Pentecostal Church in Zaire. He was from a the region where Aina’s parents had been missionaries half a century before. After the message, Aggie spoke to him through an interpreter, and discovered Ruhigita had grown up in the same village. She asked if he knew of missionaries by the name of Flood.
“Every day, Ruhigita said, “I would go to Svea Flood’s back door with a basket of eggs, and she would tell me about Jesus. I DON’T KNOW IF SHE HAD A SINGLE CONVERT IN ALL OF AFRICA BESIDES ME.” Shortly after I accepted Christ, Svea died and her husband left. “She left a baby girl named Aina, and I’ve always wondered what happened to her.”
When Aggie said, “I’m Aina,” they hugged like siblings separated since birth. Then Ruhigita said, “Just a few months ago, I placed flowers on your mother’s grave. ON BEHALF OF THE 100S OF CHURCHES AND 100S OF 100OS OF BELIEVERS IN ZAIRE…THANK YOU FOR LETTING YOUR MOTHER DIE SO THAT SO MANY OF US COULD LIVE.
David and Svea Flood didn’t have a single convert they knew of. They thought it was all for naught. But one seed took root and bore fruit beyond belief. We may never know which seed it will be. But Scripture guarantees that God Himself will give the increase! (1 Corinthians 3:6). “NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE RIPPLE EFFECT OF ONE ACT OF OBEDIENCE.” (Adapted from Mark Batterson’s, All In, pp.123-125, a book you need to read)
David F. Nixon, D.Min.
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