(1888-90) Bethel Seminary

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Baptism in Uppsala & Alunda

Come the spring of 1889 the two farm girls and students of Hedvig decided to take the radical step and be baptized in Uppsala. Hedvig went and watched. The girls walked into the cold water, and one at a time stood in front of the pastor as he prayed and told them and those gathered the significance of this event. The pastor then lowered each girl into the water under the the water's surface, down leaving their old life behind, up again chilled, sopping wet with clothes and hair clinging to their bodies, but now a new person in Jesus Christ.

Though Hedvig had seen infants baptized into the Lutheran church by sprinkling of water onto their heads, this was the first adult baptism with complete water immersion Hedvig had witnessed, and it had a big effect on her. From then on it was only a question of when, and not a question of if, she should be baptized, and become a member of this radical baptized fellowship.

In the months that followed she thought and planned for her baptism. She heard of a day in the not too distant future when a group I'm assuming here that she heard of a day coming up where a group would be baptized. It could have been that she approached someone first and a day was set and others joined, but we do not know. LJH of people were to be baptized. She decided to be among that group and she made the arrangements.

The "momentous, wonderful day" came on November 30, 1889.Len, check to see if this was in the Chapel at Alunda. The young man who baptized twenty-two year old Hedvig, and the others in the small Baptist Chapel in Alunda known as 'Foghammas', In his diary, Jag är född i Krokebo, Johan mention that he became a Christian at age 13 or 14. Could be that years later he couldn't quite remember how old he was when he became a Christian. was the prospective young pastor verify that he was a "prospective" pastor or if he had been ordained by this time. Johan Alfred Rinell who had come to Alunda to preach. Perhaps it was then, during the baptism, that something stirred in the hearts of Johan Alfred and Hedvig, and what stirred was not only a love of God

To be a Baptist was unknown in that locality. As a teacher Hedvig was expected to teach according to Luther's catechism. Baptists were heretical,First baptism by immersion in Sweden was 1848. just as Lutherans had been heretical when Sweden was still a Roman Catholic nation. Hedvig would have remained a member of the Lutheran church, a membership that one could not give up. So as a Baptist she held dual church membership. Email from Lally Rinell to LJH, January 1, 2008. Hedvig was baptized only three days before the end of her teaching assignment. She did not know if she would be asked to return. Now with the school year of teaching complete her future was uncertain. This was stressful. Saying that God will direct you in the way you should go, and actually believing it with one's whole heart is not always the same thing. Hedvig put in a request for a teaching position in her home town. Perhaps that was the way God intended her to go. Originally the text in this chapter included, "Only three days after she became a member of the Baptist church she was compelled to leave her teaching position, a severe rebuke for the step she had taken." However, upon finding a short biography written by Hedvig among the Rinell papers from the family's cabin, Sulatorp, in Sweden, it seems that Hedvig had not been forced to leave her teaching position, but rather, her teaching assignment had been as a substitute teacher, the assignment had ended, and she was not sure if she would be asked to return - possibly because of her baptism. Before a decision could be made in her home town, however, she was welcomed back to the little school house. "That is how God works even though we do not understand what he is trying to have us do. We need to [just] follow Him," she writes. Hedvig biography, page 5.


In his first year at the seminary the great mission leader J. Hudson Taylor visited. An initial check on the web indicates that Taylor sailed to Sweden, Norway, and Denmark 1 November 1889. Taylor spoke of far off lands where people had no knowledge of the one true God. His inspiring lectures on missions and strong appeals for volunteers fired interest for missions among the students. Four classmates would eventually come to dedicated their lives as missionaries. The idea of becoming missionary had started when Johan was a child through reading missionary literature. J. Hudson Taylor motivated and focused Johan Alfred's wish all the more.

While a student he was also a pastor junior pastor? at Stockholm's Baptist church and preached at many small churches in other towns both near and far including Folkkärna, Grijtnäs, Alunda, Gefle, Uppsala and Enköping. Len, check the spellings of the places. Names found in Jag är född i Krokebo, page 6. Also check to see where they speaking engagements fit in the chapter's chronology. Perhaps he was doing more speaking in his 2nd or 3rd year at the seminary.. In Gefle many people became Christians. He also spoke to religious groups dedicated to evangelism and mission work such as a group called "Hednavärldens vänner " Spelling verified by Annli Hermansson. 02/08. or "Friends of the Heathen World". "God was with at all times," he writes. Jag Šr fšdd i Krokebo, page 6. After much study Johan took a call during the summer months check diary for location name: ______ Svärdsjo församl in Dalarna.

In 1889 changed his name. Johansson was like Andersson and Petterson a very common name in Sweden. Johan took the name Rinell from the home he loved so much, Rinna.

Beginning of a Romance

Her family well after the influenza, Hedvig traveled in February of 90 to Stockholm to learn to become a seamstress, a 'teacher trade'. Question was if Hedvig was learning to be a seamstress to compliment her teaching profession or become a seamstress because teaching was no longer open to her because of becomeing a Baptist Is the following statement true: This was not so rewarding as being a teacher, and how she was to serve God in this way was a mystery, but at least she could make a living. This sentence is an assumption on my part - Len

Hedvig found a place to live, but she was a long way from home, her friends and her family. She joined Bethel Church, the first baptist church in Stockholm. Wilhelm Lindblom was the pastor. Hedvig soon began teaching a large class in the sunday school confirm this. She attended at the church lectures and heard excellent sermons. She joined a mission organization, "Friends of the Heathen World," and besides being a friend to the "heathen" made many new friends for herself. One of these friends was the young man, Johan Alfred, the young man who had baptized her in Alunda. I'm assuming that Johan happened to be at this church and that she did not move to Stockholm because Johan was there. Perhaps they had been corresponding already. At this point I don't know. - Len A romance began.

A young man, whom I already had met in Alunda who also baptized me was closest to my heart next to the Lord. We soon found out that missions was for both of us. The mission field was to be Congo in Africa. Hedvig Biography, page 9.

However, the mission, Baptist Union, had no mission in Africa but only in Spain.

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  • Read This
  • Acknowledgements
  • Background
  • Forward
  • (1866-88) Beginnings
  • (1888-90) Bethel Seminary
  • (1891) Johan & Hedvig Engaged
  • (1892) God's Prophet
  • (1893) Out to this Far Off Land
  • (1894) Sailing to China
  • (1895) Escape to Chefoo
  • (1896) A New Home
  • (1897) Germans Take Tsingtao and Kiaochow
  • (1898) Margaret Born
  • (1899) Twins Born in Sweden
  • (1900) Boxer Rebellion
  • (1901) Oscar's Childhood
  • (1902) Oscar to Boarding School
  • (1903) Girl's School Begins
  • (1904) Lindberg Children off to Boarding School
  • (1905) First Baptism Chucheng
  • (1906) Furlough in Sweden
  • (1907) Edith to Boarding School
  • (1908) Another Missionary
  • (1909) Church in Wangtai
  • (1910) First Clinic in Kiaochow
  • (1911) Egron Travels to Sweden
  • (1912) Oscar Leaves Boarding School
  • (1913) Church Consecrated in Kiaochow
  • (1914) Oscar Attends Seminary
  • (1915) Journey Overland
  • (1916) Girls School in Chucheng
  • (1917) Edith Graduates
  • (1918) Conscientious Objector
  • (1919) Sisters to America
  • (1920) Oscar Meets Hellen
  • (1921) Oscar & Hellen Engaged
  • (1922) Hellen Graduates
  • (1923) Oscar & Hellen Marry
  • (1924) Hunting Rabbits
  • (1925) A Son is Born
  • (1926) Meeting of Dr. Sun Yat-sen?
  • (1927) Margaret & Roy Jewett Married
  • (1928) Fighting in Kiaochow
  • (1929) Peace Again in Kiaochow
  • (1930) Fighting Near Kiaochow
  • (1931) Oscar Leaves Göteborg University
  • (1932) Poppies and War in Shantung
  • (1933) First Chinese Pastor Steps Down
  • (1934) Sports, Severed Heads & a Mission Conference
  • (1935) Successful Mission Schools
  • (1936) Sacred Aspen
  • (1937) Travels to America and Sweden
  • (1938) Japanese Take Tsingtao
  • (1939) Sharks Attack Officer
  • (1940) New Pastors for Chinese Churches
  • (1941) Passing of Johan Alfred
  • (1942) Blomdahl Shot
  • (1943) Piano Lessons
  • (1944) Lally & Dollan Baptized
  • (1945) Peace & War
  • (1946) Liberation
  • (1947) Communists Attack Kiaohsien
  • (1948) Dollan Emigrates to America
  • (1949) Hedvig Leaves China
  • (1950) Hellen Leaves China
  • (1951) Last One Out
  • (1952) Sweden Again
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Named Persons
  • Place Names
  • Organizations
  • Addresses
  • Audio & Visual Recordings
  • International Cemetery
  • Passenger Lists

  • Foreign Devils: A Swedish Family in China 1894 to 1951
    © 2012-14 Lennart Holmquist
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    Updated: 10-Feb-2017