TITLE: Around the World March 5, 2015
By Lisa Enqvist
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
SEND ARTICLE TO A FRIEND
If we could get a glimpse of what goes on beyond our perception, beyond our time-bound senses, thoughts and understanding, we might see something of God’s plan and purpose. Most often we only see and experience what is happening just here and now. Many times it seems confusing, a chaos with no meaning at all.
Anna Wallenius was born August 27th 1905 as second daughter to Verner and Sofia Wallenius. Her sister Ellen Verna was just twelve months older. Their father, Verner Wallenius, had begun work as a switchman on the railway in Helsinki in March 1906. His wife Sofia brought both the little girls to join him there a month later. Looking back, it seems as though Anna was to experience a life of recurring chaos. Finland was under the rule of Russia. The year she was born Russia was in the turmoil of revolution. Her early childhood was formed by it in a way that affected certain important decisions she made as an adult.
A mutiny among Russian soldiers on the Suomenlinna fort seemed to threaten the safety of the working class. If the conflict spread among the railway workers, it would certainly affect the tiny family. They worried about the unknown future. Sofia decided it was best to take the girls back home to Gesterby in Sipoo, a parish about twenty miles east of Helsinki. When the situation was calmer, Sofia returned to Helsinki with Verna. Anna was left behind with her grandparents. Some sixty five years later Anna asked her mother why she had left her behind. Sofia answered, “It just happened. We never planned to leave you”.
As Anna grew up, loved by her grandparents, uncles and aunts, she still had a nagging question, “Why can’t I live with my own parents?”
God was preparing her for a life of recurring turmoil and chaos, a life full of questions. Yet deep in her heart she learned to understand that in the midst of all the chaos, God’s plan was being fulfilled. She did not know how, but she trusted in His love and guidance. Maybe she never fully understood why she had to go through so many dark tunnels in her life, but she learned that she could trust her Guide.
Her grandfather, Anders Gustaf Granberg was a farmer. He had been paralyzed with polio at the age of 32. His wife Johanna Backstrom was a farmer’s daughter. They had ten children, two of whom died as infants. A river flowed past the village of Gesterby. A tiny bridge crossed over to the neighboring village of Hindsby. That was the only body of water Anna had to cross as a child. No one could dream at the time that she would travel across the great oceans of the world in the future.
Sipoo was peaceful compared to Helsinki, but life there too was influenced by decisions made in Russia. During the First World War, in 1915 - 1916, Russia imported workers from Manchuria to fell forests in large areas of Southern Finland. The purpose was to have an open space with good visibility in case of enemy attacks on the Russian Naval fleet. Several hundred of these Manchu -Chinese were placed in Sipoo. Some of them were criminals, sent in exile to work in Finland. Several were even in the neighboring village of Hindsby. The Chinese caused a lot of fear among the people in Sipoo. Anna did not know then that about twenty years later she would be the foreigner in their country.
The idyllic peace of Sipoo was shattered just after Finland’s declaration of Independence. The expression – Reds and Whites – was used naming the opposing ideologies wanting to rule the new independent land. Brother fought against brother. The Reds even sought out Anna’s maternal uncle, Anders Granberg. He managed to escape. Anna was nearly thirteen years old. Sadly, many thousands died in the wake of this civil war.
Many years later – in far away China – she experienced the effects of civil war and of revolution. There too the expression: “the Reds are coming closer” was a warning. She had to flee with her children.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.