I Love Stories
03 February 2017
I am a person who loves stories. They help me remember things. They provide an interest point for me to learn from, and to share ideas with. This year I am going to endeavour to share some stories that will provide a learning point. That will hopefully help us as a school community gather some ideas on parenting, on providing some character development for us all as we focus on safeguarding our most valuable investment – our children.
I came across a powerful story about the infuence that just one person can have over time. I think sometimes we forget how important each person is, and can get caught up in the ‘numbers and beat the next person’ game. This story is a reminder of how important just one person can be.
In 1921 David and Svea Flood left Sweden and went as missionaries to Africa, and ended up in the Belgian Congo in the remote village of N’dolera. They were refused permission to live in the village for fear of upsetting the local spirits, and so lived further up the hill. The only person that Sevea could talk to was the young boy who sold them food from the village. He came to be a converted Christian in the two years they were there.
At the birth of their baby girl, Sevea was so weak she died and her husband became discouraged and gave up, went back to the coast, gave his newborn daughter to another missionary family, went back to Sweden and gave up on God. The little girl, Aggie, returned with her adopted family to America and grew and married Dewey Hunt, a Protestant pastor.
Imagine her surprise when in 1963, she opened a Swedish religious magazine and saw a picture of the grave of her mum in Africa with the name SEVEA FLOOD on the white cross. Because she could not read the article in Swedish, she jumped in the car and went to a friend’s house who could. It was basically the story she knew so well, of her mum’s sacrifce and her infuence on just one young lad in the village. It went on though to record that the young lad had received permission to run a school in his home village, and then converted the chief and the entire village, so that there were now some 600 Christian believers in the village.
Some years later she visited Sweden and met her biological father. David was an old broken man who had remarried and had four other children. He had become an alcoholic and was very bitter about God. Her step siblings had warned her not to talk about God with Dad. However, for Aggie, it was what gave her purpose and meaning in life, and was just a natural part of her conversation. She shared with her dad as he lay in bed sick, that God had a purpose in their going to Africa and that the whole village was now a Christian community. He initially sti ened but as she kept talking, she concluded by saying “Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never hated you.”
Over the next few days she was able to see him come back to see God as a God of love, and made his peace with God. He died only a few weeks later, but content in God.
A few years later, Aggie and her husband were attending an evangelism conference in London and listened to the leader of the national church representing some 110,000 believers in Zaire (Belgian Congo). Aggie went up to him afterwards and asked if he had ever heard of David and Sevea Flood and mentioned she was their daughter. The man broke down in tears. “It was Sevea Flood who led me to Jesus Christ. I was the boy who brought food to your parents before you were born. In fact to this day your mother’s grave and her memory are honoured by all of us.”
The infuence of just one dedicated lady to just one young lad had a huge ripple effect in that community and indeed, in that nation. Have you ever stopped to wonder about your own infuence? Your children are watching you and all you do and say at home. What are they learning? As teachers, we are challenged with the same thought. I hope that our infuence is positive, and that we are able see a strong ripple effect from the good things we may do.
Dr David McClintock
Avondale School Principal