Summer Gathering Begins in Leksand

Trip Start Jul 16, 2008
Trip End Jul 29, 2008

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Going to be a long day with getting to Sweden, then to Molnbyggen Strand in Leksand, get set up and hold our first get-acquainted meeting.  We left our Uniquestay Hotel in Tallinn at 6:00 am to the airport which is only 12 minutes away.  Aside from having to pay an additional $75 for baggage overage, the flight was uneventful.  The 737 flight on Esotnian Air from Tallinn to Stockholm took only 45 minutes.     
Jesmina Alloua, who has been a great friend over the years met us at baggage claim and helped us get on the shuttle to the Radisson Hotel near the airport.  There we also met Johnnie Lambert and Elisabeth Helmig from Germany who flew up special for this event. Andy Lee, who now lives in Warsaw, Poland, flew in from Moscow and well had a marvelous Swedish breakfast.    
After breakfast, back on the shuttle to the airport and the train station that is right at the airport.  Tickets were a bit higher than we thought they would....about $200 each to Leksand and back to Stockholm.   
On the train we met Dorthea from Denmark. She also flew in this morning and our group is growing as we're getting acquainted on the train on the way to the Gathering.   
In three hours we arrive in Leksand with one train change. Paul Spenser and Ben Haworth were there in two white vans to pick us up. There was no other transportation and they arranged to pick people who were coming in.  The Molnbyggen Strand where we are staying is about four miles away. You have to be careful how you use miles and kilometers.  There is such a thing as a "Swedish mile."  It is equivalent to ten kilometers.  So, if you as a taxi how far something is and he says two miles, it is really 12 US miles.  That happened to us when we were in Luleň, Sweden last January.  
The weather is bright, sunny and warm and the temperature is above average.  It is good to meet people we've known and new people as well.  It was wonderful to see our Karen brethren from Norway and Finland arrive.  K Paw Gay and her husband Hteser came from Trondheim with two of their children.  Klo Gay and Margaret Doh came down from Kemi, Finland.  I have visited in their homes and it was so wonderful to all be together where we could meet again and where they could meet others.  Margaret and Klo Gay were coming to the Feast of Tabernacles in Estonia last fall, but were not able to come at the last minute because of an issue with their refugee status. Now, we're finally together.  
There are a few glitches in getting people situated into rooms.  The rooms are "smaller" than our expectations.  That's all I say.  I'm sure we'll get "adjusted" to them.    
Our opening night meeting started at 6:00 PM.  Paul Spenser led songs, I accompanied the hymns and then gave the message titled "What is the Church?."  There are people from other Sabbath-keeping groups and I wanted us to be together as much as possible about the definition of the Church which is a body of believers led by the Spirit of God doing the Work of God.  Basically, it was the outline for UCG Fundamental Belief number 17.   
Afterwards we went up a little noll outside the Molnbyggen Strand where the Saxin's and Spenser's stayed and had our first meal together.  Days are long.  At 10:00 PM it is still very light outside.
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