This blog is for you, Dad, my best friend, on your 91st birthday. May you have many, many more!
These are a few of all the things you represent in my life:
I’m your first-born, and very proud to be your daughter.
Your life as a true follower of Christ has been a role-model for me. One thing that impressed me very much years ago, was when you were slandered. I thought you should defend yourself, but you said you’d just leave it in God’s hands, and that truth would prevail. The people that were planning on having your blood run down Main Street got the shorter straw. You’re still here!
I love that you’re my friend. When I was fifteen and Mom worked as a house-mother at a boarding school for missionary kids, I stayed home and “took care of you.” Or was it the other way around? I loved it! I think that’s when we built our friendship. It all started with you losing confidence in me (because I had gotten me a boyfriend). You told me I had to rebuild it, and in rebuilding your confidence I built a friendship.
For those who wonder about the boyfriend thing, keep in mind my parents were “old-fashioned” Swedish and not used to the American thing of “dating”!
You have taught me to have faith in God, to trust him unconditionally. For that I thank you the most. I have seen you do your missionary ministry by faith, building and constructing, helping the needy, and trusting God for every penny. I admire you and I am glad to follow in your footsteps.
I have been your student in Bible schools you have led and I have had the privilege to work together with you as a fellow-teacher in the Bethel Bible Institute you founded in Huancayo, Peru. And I have listened to uncountable Bible studies at church with you as a teacher.
Preaching on one of the many trips in the Andes
My greatest experience with you as my pastor is when you helped me give my heart to Jesus as a five or six-year-old. You have been my pastor as a child and a teen-ager, and then later on when Bengt and I worked with you and he was the co-pastor.
This is a hat you have worn with all honors. Since the beginning of the 90’s I’ve had a freelance translation ministry. You have helped me so much to keep it going and you were helping us stay alive as a family because we all depended on that extra income, especially to pay medical bills for Eva-Marie who had cystic fibrosis. Remember when you lived in Wisconsin and had “Branch 2” of Royal Palm Translations? I cherish those memories!
Not only have you been a translator but these last few years a very prolific typist. You are still working hard on it, to type all the materials I have written over the years and that I am starting to publish in my Spanish web sites for free downloading. What would I do without your help? By helping me you are helping so many others.
When I was a kid you made me a dresser with each drawer a different color. When that dresser was “lost” due to circumstances, you made a replica, in the States, that now has an honored place in my home. I love it! Thanks also for making the changing table for my babies. What a sad day it was, years later, when somebody had taken that treasured piece of furniture and made it a rabbit-cage! You made a bunk-bed for our girls when we lived in Chaclacayo. So many people have benefitted from you as a carpenter, and you have taught many young men and women to do carpentry!
SUNDAY SHOOL TEACHER
When we started a church in Arequipa, you were my teacher. The interesting thing is that thirty years later, I would comer to the States to work on revising and renewing the curriculum you than had used! What twists and turns life takes!
COLABORER IN CHRIST
Isn’t it wonderful that we can count each other as co-laborers in Christ? We have worked together in Tarma, when you were building a church there. I have worked together with you and Mom in starting a church in Huancayo. We have co-labored in the Bible institute I’ve mentioned above. You’re not only my father and friend, but we’ve worked together for the sake of Christ.
My first great memory of you and I in a missionary endeavor was when you took me on a journey to the jungle, far from the main roads, with just paths for mules and walk-ers. I was thirteen and you looked so young people thought I was your wife. You had a hard time convincing a lady that I was your daughter. Of course, as a missionary, I’ve been with you since I was two years of age and you and Mom took me to Chile.
I turned out all right, didn’t I? You must have done a good job as disciplinarian. Of course, as a kid I didn’t like it. You were too strict! Now I appreciate it. I don’t know how many times I got spanked, but you did it with bare hand on bare butt. Sometimes we’d have to go to bed without food, or just go to bed in the middle of the afternoon. I remember my sister Ingrid saying she’d rather get a spanking and be able to go out and play.
Because of you, I became a TV-star, even if only for a year. We had TV-programs in Huancayo, What does the Bible Say? For one year I had a program for children. All the family was involved. Agneta was a clown, Michimalongo; Ingrid was Bolinga. When she went to Sweden to continue her studies we had to come up with story line about why she left the program. Do you remember what it was? I don’t!
Sorry to say, you did a better job as a father than a grandfather. My girls wished you had been more expressive in showing them your love. I guess they were jealous of all the boys and girls in Peru that got all your love (that’s how it looked to them). But I am very thankful to you and Mom for helping us out with the girls. In 1977 they went with you to Sweden when we were going through a hard time. In 1989 Eva-Marie spent her happiest times with you and Mom when she got to work with young people in Huancayo, and Carina spent that Christmas with you. You’re not only a grandfather but a great-grandfather!
Can you believe you officiated when you gave me away to Bengt? Yes, you did that. You married me away. That was a memorable day with over three hundred in attendance. And the mayor of the city did his part at the same service for the official marriage.
You have been so helpful to me and Bengt through the years I don’t know how to thank you. You packed up our things in Chaclacayo, when we had left them for a family to use and they messed up. You helped us pack when we moved to Bolivia. And you came to Springfield to help us pack up when we sold our house and moved to down-size a bit. It was cheaper for me to buy you a ticket from Sweden than to enlist movers. Bengt was too weak to do the job. And you are a good packer!
I appreciate so much the way you took care of Mom. Thanks! Now that I am alone, and especially during the worse of the cancer treatments, sometime I feel a little “envy” because of the good way she was taken care off. You surely showed what a loving husband is like. And now you have a cute little wife that takes care of you!
I’m leaving the best for last. What better can be said of a father than that he is a spiritual leader? That you have been, and for that I am forever grateful. I’m walking the paths’ of God because you walked before me. You have appreciated my talents and let me develop them during the times we have labored together for Christ.
Let me wrap this up with declaring you my hero. I am sure Ingrid, Agneta, Pepe and Lars agree with me. Dad, you are our hero! How privileged we are to have you as our Dad. You’re not perfect; none of us are. But as perfect at a father can get, you are it. I hope God will hold on a little bit more in sending the angels to escort you to heaven. We want to keep you here for a while yet.
Happy Birthday my Friend and Hero!
Thanks Mary for taking good care of my Hero!