Pastor Victor Emanuel Hedberg

1937 - 1939

     Victor Emanuel Hedberg was born May 20, 1873 in Rush City, Minnesota.  Victor was converted in Greenwood, Pastor Victor Hedberg Nebraska in the  fall of 1885.  He was Baptized in Suma, Japan in 1892.    He became a missionary to Japan at the Scandinavian Alliance Mission, from 1891-1895.  While Victor was in Japan he married Selma Maria Engstrom of Kobe, Japan on June 24, 1893.  They had seven children.  He was in the graduating class of 1899 at Bethel.  During the course of time, Victor's first wife died and in Chicago on September 11, 1934 he married Elsie M, Anderson.  Pastor Hedberg served at many churches before coming to Temple in Portland from 1937-1939.  This account was taken from the Book "Seventy Five Years" of Bethel Theological Seminary.
    Pastor Hedberg was converted at the age of 11 or 12 and was already engaged in evangelistic work before he was eighteen.  In November 1891 Pastor Hedberg sailed with eleven other missionaries to Japan, under the Scandinavian Missionary Alliance.  In May 1892, he was baptized in Suma Japan, until with the Japanese Baptist Church and by them was licensed to preach as a Baptist minister.
    Returning to the United States he entered the Swedish Baptist Seminary at Morgan Park.  (The former name of Bethel Theological Seminary.)  Graduating in 1899, Pastor Hedberg served the Berwyn Church in Chicago, the Elim church in Minneapolis for 14 years, the First Church in Los Angeles, the First Church in Chicago for 15 years and the church in Stromsburg, Nebraska, before coming to Portland.  During the two and a half years of ministry in Portland, Pastor and Mrs. Hedberg endeared themselves to the entire membership and many others by their constant and kindly visitation.  Day after day they would start out early and keep on until late, calling on one after another, radiating cheerfulness and faith in God.
Since September 1939, Pastor Hedberg has served at the Chandler Street Baptist Church in Jamestown, New York.
This account was taken from the notes of Harley Hallgren.  Click Here to read more about Pastor Hedberg.

From My Earlier Life
A autobiography of Victor Hedberg from the book "Advance 1949" by the Baptist General Conference.  Pages 108-111.

    I was born at Rush City, Minnesota on the twentieth day of May, 1873.  Shortly thereafter my father purchased a piece of property on the western bank of Snake River, about a mile west of what is now Grasston, Minnesota.
    One day, when I lay sleeping on the bed while my mother was working in the garden in the rear of our home, some Indians came up to the house and walked right in.  Noticing them as they were leaving for the boat landing, mother rushed into the house were she found the bed empty.  She made a beeline for the boat landing and reached it just as the Indians we getting into their canoe.  She demanded her baby, and with out a word they gave me back to her.  
    When I was seven, my brother, two and a half my senior, my niece, and my sister, about six were together with me at home alone.  Seeing Indians putting ashore their canoe at our boat landing, we went into the bedroom and closed the door.  The Indians came right into the house without knocking.  We heard them walking around, conversing in a language we did not understand, and then leaving again. When we thought it was safe, we came out.  As far as we could see, the Indians had not taken anything.  But were we frightened!
    Two things, especially, did God use in bringing me into fellowship with Himself.  The first was the godly life of my parents.  My father's faith impressed me deeply.  There is especially one example:  It was one morning following a severe snowstorm.  We lived at the time at Greenwood. Nebraska.  As we had finished our morning devotions, my father looked out over the snowdrifts and said, "After the storm God lets the sun shine."  Then I said in my heart, "My father knows God. and I want to know Him as father does."
    The other thing that deepened my sense of a spiritual need was the death of my younger sister.  Father called me and my brother said, "Come down boys, if you want to say good-bye to Emma; she is dying."  When we came down, she first took Charley by the hand and said, "Good-by, Charley."   Then she turned to me and said, "Good-by, Victor."  To another sister, 15 years my senior, who was holding her, she said, "Jesus is coming, don't you see him," When my sister said no, she asked, "Why don't you see Him?"  "There," she pointed, "He comes for me," And she was gone.
    Shortly after this event I gave my heart of Christ and even tried to win others to Him.  I cooled off spiritually for a while, but at the age of 17 I rededicated my life to Christ, and from that time on,. I can truly say, my life has been "hid with Christ in God"  Praised be His Holy Name.
    On the morning following my rededication, my chum said to me, "How did you come out last night, Vic?"  "I have God's peace in my heart," I answered.  "And I am so happy."  "Your decision made a deep impression on me," he said, "and I hope that I can do the same thing."  We went into the barn and there, in an empty stall, we bowed our knees while he surrendered to Christ and was gloriously saved.  I saw him 21 years later in Wahoo, Nebraska.  He was at that time a banker and businessman dealing in grain.  When I asked him whether he still was living for God, he assured me he was.
    At the age of 17, while I was working in a clothing store in Omaha, Nebraska, the Rev. Fredrik Franson, founder of the Scandinavian Alliance Mission, was in the city, conducting a Bible study conference for 35 missionary candidates, who were to be sent to China.  As I attended the evening sessions and Sunday services, I was deeply moved.  My soul longed to know more of God's Word.
    Brother Franson was to hold another such conference at Lindsborg, Kansas, in February,  I quit my job in order to attend this conference, but had no intention at the time to enter the ministry.  On the first Sunday of the conference I was sent together with a pastor to McPherson, Kansas, for the morning service.  We stayed in a home over night.  When we were ready to leave for the church in the morning, the lady of the house said, "I hope you will excuse me, if I do not attend the church where you are assigned to speak this morning as we are having a communion in my church, and I do no want to miss that service."   My brother preacher assured her that that was all right.  And so we went on without her.
    On our way to church, when I asked him what church our hostess belonged to, he said, "The Baptist."  I inquired as to what king of church that was, because there had been no Baptist church where I grew up.  "They are a peculiar people," he said.  "They only take communion with people of their own faith."
    "Peculiar people!"  That was my first knowledge of the Baptists.  Gut as the woman was a true saint of God, I thought, "If all Baptists are like this woman, then they are all right."  Little did I dream that I myself would become a Baptist.  But when I had won my first two converts in Japan and the question of baptism came up, I wanted of assure myself of what the Bible taught regarding this matter.  We had no instructions from home, but I searched the Scriptures and found that I was not baptized.  I sent for a missionary of our group who was a Baptist.  He came from his field 150 miles away and baptized me in the Japan Inland Sea, six miles north of Kobe, on the second Tuesday of June, 1892.  
    Later on I united with the Ichigawa Baptist Church of Tokyo, Japan.  Upon my return to the States, I joined the Englewood Baptist church (now Emerald Ave.), Chicago, Illinois.
    I can truthfully say, that I have never regretted that I united with a Baptist church.  The fundamentals of faith cherished by the Baptist are based upon the Word of God.

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time; Casting all you care upon him: for he careth for you."                    I Peter 5:6,7

Return to Former Pastors Return to Church History 1937
Return to Home Page Return to Harley's Notes