The Paulsens as husband and wife, couldn’t have imagined that one day he would serve as president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist church.As I watched, my mind was inexorably drawn far away to another place and another time, and I felt again the warmth and fellowship of a small group of believers that, for me, represents a pivotal moment in my life—the “make or break” of my own spiritual journey.
Kari and Jan Paulsen pose with their two oldest children on the occasion of Pastor Paulsen’s ordination to the gospel minister.The first was the schoolteacher’s wife. Our living room “church” was used during the week as a church school, and the schoolteacher and his wife, Maj Britt, became my strongholds. They loaned me books, such as Steps to Christ, which made a deep impression on me, and other devotional and doctrinal works. They enrolled me in a Voice of Prophecy Bible study course. Maj Britt, a Swedish woman, sang beautifully and played the guitar. She had a motherly touch and dispensed warmth and good advice in equal measures.
Hultafors Sanitarium, where the author worked before attending college.Through the years I’ve thought much about the small country church that nurtured me as I took my first, unsteady spiritual steps, and my sense of gratitude has grown. We sat together with open Bibles in a rented living room singing hymns to the accompaniment of a lone guitar. I may have forgotten the words to the songs we sang, but I still feel the incredible sense of acceptance that enveloped me, the feeling of being connected to a spiritual family. It’s as vivid to me today as it was when I sat among them. Without their acceptance, without their interest in me, without the feeling of love that surrounded me, I wouldn’t have made it.