In 1921, a missionary couple named David and Svea Flood went with their two-year-old son David, 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 go out from the main mission station and take the gospel to a remote area.
This was a huge step of faith. At the remote village of N'dolera they were rebuffed by the chief, who would not let them enter his village 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. Their 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 missionary 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, after many weeks of loving and witnessing to him, he trusted Christ as his Savior.
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 (1923), the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina (A-ee-nah).
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. After seventeen desperate days of prayer and struggle, she died.
Inside David Flood, something snapped in that moment. His heart full of bitterness, he dug a crude grave, buried his twenty-seven-year-old wife and took his children back down the mountain to the mission station. Giving his newborn daughter to the Ericksons, he said, "I'm going back to Sweden. I've lost my wife, and I can't take care of this baby. God has ruined my life." With two year old David, he headed for the coast, rejecting not only his calling, but God himself.
Within eight months both the Ericksons were stricken with a mysterious illness (some believe they were poisoned by a local chief who hated the missionaries) and died within days of each other. The nine month old baby Aina was given to an American missionary couple named Berg, who adjusted her Swedish name to "Aggie" and eventually brought her back to the United States at age three.
The Bergs loved little Aggie but were afraid that if they tried to return to Africa, some legal obstacle might separate her from them since they had at that time, been unable to legally adopt her. So they decided to stay in the United States and switch from missionary work to pastoral ministry. And that is how 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 preacher 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 around 1963, a Swedish religious magazine appeared in her mailbox. She had no idea who 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 in the heart of Africa was a grave with a white cross and on the cross was her mother's name, SVEA FLOOD.
Aggie jumped in her car and drove straight to a college faculty member who, she knew, could translate the article. "What does this say?" she asked.
The instructor translated the story:
It tells about missionaries who went to N'dolera in the heart of the Belgian Congo in 1921… the birth of a white baby girl… the death of the young missionary mother… the one little African boy who had been led to Christ… and how, after the all whites had left, the little African boy grew up and persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village.
The article told how that gradually the now grown up boy won all his students to Christ… the children led their parents to Christ… even the chief had become a Christian. Today (1963) there were six hundred Christian believers in that one village.
Because of the willingness of David and Svea Flood to answer God's call to Africa, because they endured so much but were still faithful to witness and lead one little boy to trust Jesus, God had saved six hundred people.