By Cary Nelson
“I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring and my blessing on your descendents. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams” (Isaiah 44:3,4).
As I was putting together family pictures, I got to thinking about family. It was all God’s idea to begin with . . . families. One of my family stories begins with my grandfather, Carl Jacob Fredrik Wahlberg, who was born in 1871 on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. As a young man in his twenties, he left family and country, crossed the Atlantic, and joined relatives in Kansas. He was running away from Christian revival that swept across Sweden and impacted his own family. He wrote of the only time he returned home . . . he wanted to tell his mother face-to-face that God had followed him all the way to America and that he had chosen to follow Christ. He went on to seminary in Chicago, married Hilda Carlson from Eskilstuna, Sweden, and pastored Swedish Baptist churches in New Hampshire, Maine, Alabama, and Florida.
I was 17 when Granddaddy died and had only seen him three times in my life. I know that Granddaddy prayed faithfully for his “descendants,” including me, his firstborn grandchild. One year and three days after he died, I too chose to follow Christ. God had truly poured His Spirit and blessing on C. F. Wahlberg’s descendant—me!
Ten years after Granddaddy’s death, I was on Gotland! My husband, Noel, and I had moved to Sweden to join the Swedish Navigators and begin a student ministry, and we visited Gotland during our first vacation. It was so special for me to live in the land of my forefathers, to minister there for their Savior and mine, and to speak their language (the Swedes say that Swedish is the language of heaven!).
Now it’s 2006 and we’re going back to Gotland for a wedding! What a special gift—Granddaddy’s third, fourth, and fifth generations (I, my daughter, and her four children) will be together in his “long ago and faraway” birthplace. God’s blessings continue!
Cary and her husband, Noel, have ministered for 43 years in various roles with The Navigators in Scandinavia, Africa, and Atlanta, Georgia. They live in Clarksville, Tennessee, and are involved with the Nav ministry at Ft. Campbell and Austin Peay State University. Cary enjoys being involved in the lives of her nine grandchildren and encouraging and discipling women in their walk with God.