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A Single Seed Or Much Fruit?

I have recently shared two posts about a couple from Sweden, David and Svea Flood, who in 1921 went to the Congo (then the Belgian Congo, later Zaire) as missionaries. Today I want to finish this remarkable story, with its twin focus. Firstly, that God is a totally faithful Father to His children and His children’s children. Secondly, whatever the short-term view might seem, our labour in the Lord is never, ever in vain.

Last week I shared the story of Aggie (originally named Aina), their daughter. Though her mother died deep in the jungle after giving birth to her and her father walked away from the Lord, from her and from his calling, yet God was faithful to her. She was taken in by American missionaries, found the Lord and much later married a godly young man, together serving the Lord. I told how through a random magazine article she had discovered the amazing story of the young boy that her mother had led to the Lord before she died, the boy from that remote village who was allowed to sell them fruit and eggs twice a week. Aggie discovered that this young boy had become a Christian leader and that through his labours there were six hundred Christian believers in that one village deep in the Congo. The Lord had so honoured Svea Flood; her life was not in vain.

But there were two more wonderful events yet to come. Years after this Aggie and her husband attended an evangelism conference in London. A report was given from the Congo. The superintendent of the national church spoke eloquently of the gospel’s spread in his nation. There were now 110,000 Christians, 32 mission stations, several Bible schools and a 120-bed hospital. Aggie went up to him afterwards and asked if he had ever heard of David and Svea Flood. The man replied in French, with translation, “Yes, madam, it was Svea Flood who led me to Jesus Christ.” When the preacher heard that Aggie was their daughter, he clasped Aggie’s hands, hugged her and wept with joy. Aggie could hardly believe that this man was the little boy with whom her mother had first shared the love of God.

Later Aggie and her husband visited the Congo. They were welcomed by cheering throngs of villagers. She was able to kneel in the soil at her mother’s grave and give thanks for a life that had been so short but so fruitful.

But there was yet more. For their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, the Christian college where they served presented Aggie and her husband with the gift of a vacation to Sweden. For years as an adult, Aggie had tried to contact her father – but to no avail! On that visit to Sweden, with difficulty, Aggie tracked him down in a squalid Stockholm apartment. Her father had remarried to Svea’s younger sister, who had no heart for God. Now he had five children besides Aggie – four sons and a daughter. He was an alcoholic, with diabetes. He’d also had a stroke and cataracts covered both of his eyes.

When she found him he began to cry. “Aina,” he said, “I never meant to give you away.” “It’s all right Papa,” she replied, taking him gently in her arms. “God took care of me.” David Flood responded in anger. “God forgot all of us. Our lives have been like this because of Him.” Aggie was undaunted. “Papa, you didn’t go to Africa in vain. Mama didn’t die in vain. The little boy you won to the Lord grew up to win that whole village to Jesus Christ. The one seed you planted just kept growing and growing. Today there are six hundred African people serving the Lord there because you were faithful to the call of God in your life. Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never hated you.”

By the end of the afternoon, David Flood had come back to faith in God. Over the next few days, father and daughter enjoyed time together. Aggie and her husband soon had to return to America. Within a few weeks, David Flood had died. Although he was restored to the Lord, he left much sadness behind as his legacy – five children by his second wife who had grown up in the shadow of his anger at God.

In contrast, when Aggie was in the Congo, concerning her mother Svea Flood the pastor read from John 12:24: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” How true, how perfectly demonstrated in the life of Svea Flood.

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