Aggie’s “Never Alone” Story
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Matt. 28:20b And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Even with Jesus’ authority, victory in missions is not easy. It seems the followers of Christ have to walk the sad path He trod. Thus He promised us His continued presence. He does not send us out alone. He shares the journey with us. He is always so close that he can hear even the weakest whimper. Evidence of our being “never alone” was remarkably shown in the life of Aggie Hurst.
This true story is taken from the book “Aggie: A Girl Without a Country,” written by Aggie Hurst and published soon after her death in 1981. In 1921, David and Svea Flood went as Swedish missionaries to the heart of Africa, the Belgian Congo. They felt led of the Lord to set out from the main mission station and take the Gospel to a remote area, where they were rebuffed by a chief who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. The Floods went half a mile up the slope and built 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 sold them chickens and eggs. Svea Flood decided if this boy was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead him to Jesus. She succeeded, but there was no other encouragement.
Svea became pregnant. A girl, Aina, was born. Delivery was exhausting. Svea Flood, already weak from bouts of malaria, lived only17 more days.
At that moment, something snapped inside David Flood. He dug a crude grave, buried his 27-year-old wife, went down the mountain to the mission station, and left his newborn daughter, snarling, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, and I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life.” He headed for the port, rejecting not only his call, but God Himself.
The baby was given to American missionaries who adjusted her Swedish name to Aggie and took her to the USA. Aggie grew up in South Dakota. At North Central Bible College in Minneapolis, she met and married Dewey Hurst.
The Hursts enjoyed a fruitful ministry. Aggie gave birth to a daughter and a son. When her husband became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area, Aggie was intrigued to find so much Scandinavian heritage there.
One day a Swedish religious magazine arrived in her mailbox. She had no idea who sent it, and couldn’t read the words. As she turned the pages, a photo suddenly stopped her cold. There in a primitive setting was a grave with a white cross bearing the words SVEA FLOOD. Aggie drove straight to a college faculty member whom she knew could translate the article.
The instructor summarized the story. Missionaries came long ago – a baby was born – a mother died – one little African boy was led to Christ – after the whites left, the boy grew up and persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village – he won all his students to Christ – the children led their parents to Jesus – even the chief became a Christian. There were now 600 Christians in that one village due to the sacrifice of David and Svea Flood.
For the Hursts’ 25th wedding anniversary, the college gave them a vacation to Sweden. Aggie found her birth dad. David Flood was 75 years old, had remarried, fathered four more children, and dissipated his life with alcohol. He had recently suffered a stroke, and was still bitter, having had one rule for his family: “Never mention the name of God, because He took everything from me.” His children told Aggie, “You can talk to him, though he’s very ill, but you need to know that whenever he hears the name of God, he flies into a rage.”
Aggie was not to be deterred. She walked into a squalid room, with liquor bottles everywhere, and approached the old man lying in a rumpled bed. “Papa,” she said. He began to cry, “Aina, 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.” The man instantly stiffened. Tears stopped. “God forgot all of us. Our lives have been like this because of Him.” He turned his face back to the wall.
Aggie stroked his face and continued, 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. The one seed you planted kept growing. Today 600 Africans are serving the Lord because you were faithful to the call of God in your life. Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never hated you.”
The elderly man turned back to look into his daughter’s eyes. His body relaxed. He began to talk. He soon came back to the God he had resented for decades. Father and daughter enjoyed several days together. A few weeks after Aggie and her husband returned to America, David Flood died.
Years later, the Hursts attended an evangelism conference in London, where a report was given from the nation of Zaire (former Belgian Congo). The superintendent of the national church, representing some 110,000 baptized believers, spoke eloquently of the Gospel’s spread in his nation.
Aggie asked him if he had ever heard of David and Svea Flood. “Yes.” “Svea Flood led me to Jesus. I was the boy who brought food to your parents before you were born. To this day your mother’s grave and her memory are honored by all of us.” He embraced Aggie in a long hug, sobbing, “You must come to Africa to see, your mother is the most famous person in our history.”
When Aggie and her husband went, cheering villagers welcomed them. The most dramatic moment was when the pastor escorted Aggie to see her mother’s white cross. She knelt in the soil, and gave thanks for a life that had mattered, that had cared for the one, and thereby blessed a multitude.
Maybe none of us is called to change the world, but we could stand in the gap for a few, maybe only one. It’s worth the risk and investment. Give Jesus your five loaves and two fishes. Let Him use them to feed a multitude. It proves being a faithful witness, and doing what God has shown you to do, can have tremendous impact, even when it doesn’t seem that way at first.