Bruce's trip coming to an end

Trip Start Jun 10, 2007
Trip End Jun 29, 2007

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Again, this visit with Klo Gay and Margaret Doh has been most encouraging and much more relaxed as we have more time to talk.  As we converse more questions are asked and matters discussed. All of us really enjoy the time together. The Doh's continue to live in isolation after we leave with neither fellow Karen or brethren to fellowship with.  
Klo Gay has been able to buy a used (very used) Mazda.  Before leaving Margaret fed us a great breakfast of chicken,  rice and fish.  Then we prayed together and all drove to the Kemi train station no more than 5-7 minutes from their home. 
The InterCity express headed to Helsinki came right on time at 8:51 am for the nine hour journey to Helsinki. What an impressive train!  Some of it was double decker with business class on top. We are second class, though. It is clean, modern and fast reaching speeds of 155 kilometers per hour. At the station Bruce noticed a young lady who was shivering in the cold.  He kindly offered her his jacket.  She sat near to us on the train.  Her name was Marya and she was heading to Tampere, 2/3 of the way down to Helsinki.  She reminded me so much of my daughter-in-law Alix Kubik. She was going to her cousin's wedding that evening and she was one of the bridesmaids.  The wedding was going to be performed by a Lutheran priest. Here the Lutheran clergy are called "priests" and the Church is closer to the Catholic church than to European protestant churches.  Marya told us about her family life growing up with her parents being dairy farmers outside Kemi, Finland. Her husband is a computer programmer for a steel mill near Kemi.  She is an elementary schoolteacher. 
So much of Finland looks like Minnesota north of the Twin Cities and going up into the Arrowhead country.  It is amazing how similar the views of lakes, trees appears.
We arrive in Helsinki on time at 5:00 PM.  That was easy.  Now we need to figure out Bruce's transportation to the airport the next day and my ship to Estonia and our hotel for the night.  Can this be easy too?    In the "where everything works" Nordic countries the answer is yes.  An information bureau give us travel details to the airport.  In minutes they find us a modestly priced hotel across the street from the railway station.  We walk across the street and the hotel is beyond our expectation in comfort and class!  
Helsinki is one of my favorite cities in the world.  It has a charming area at the harbor and  waterfront.  There is a very nice open-air market at right at water's edge.  My wife Bev always enjoy coming here to just walk around.  Helsinki has been stop-off place to the former Soviet Union where Helsinki has been one of the principal gateways.  We have led three YOU youth trips to the USSR and spent time in Helsinki before and after the USSR. 
Our hotel is a few blocks from the waterfront and we stroll down to the harbor.  The streets are full of people on a perfect summer's night.  The country is about to celebrate Midsummer's holiday which in the Nordic countries is almost like Christmas, but the opposite, a celebration of the summer solstice.  People will be fleeing Helsinki for the countryside this weekend. 
On the street near the waterfront a brass band plays.  People sit in outdoor cafes and enjoy themselves.  Bruce and I stop at one of these cafes and have dinner. 
Then we walk around the government and university building before going back to the hotel.  
Bruce and I both exclaim how great an experience this trip has been.  We have traveled over much of the main routes of Norway, Sweden and Finland.  We have visited with many people.  Each visit was encouraging and uplifting. Everyone we visited appreciated our coming and we appreciated getting to know them better. 
Tonight is our first night in a hotel on this trip. It's been staying with the people we visited.  This gave us much more quality time to get to know one another and talk matters relating to faith and spirit.  We conducted two Bible Studies and had other discussions about the Bible and answered many questions. 

In his personal Bible Study on this trip Bruce was going through Paul's journeys in the book of Acts and read this to me saying that this verse represented the way he felt about trip:
Acts 18:21-23
21 But as he left, he promised, "I will come back if it is God's will." Then he set sail from Ephesus.

22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch.
23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
This is the way we both felt.  We couldn't get to everyone and have at least three other people to visit on future trips.
We have a solid base in the Nordic Countries with Paul and Kira Spenser enthusiastically managing our presence on location with handling questions, requests in Swedish. 
Our mailing address for the Nordic Countries is
Guds Enade Kyrka
P.O. Box 3535
111 74 Stockholm, Sweden
On the UCG website you can see matters related to our Scandinavian efforts at
Bruce has to get to Helsinki airport by 5 am Thursday for his flight to Amsterdam and then Minneapolis. 

A final note about Bruce Anderson. His help has been above all expectations on this trip.  This has not been a tourist trip, yet we have done and seen more than we could on any tour.  We have toured into the hearts and life of the people of the countries that we have visited.  We have served them and God.  It truly has been a mission and we pray that our efforts will yield fruit. They will.  Bruce has understood this and more and has been just the right person  to provide energy and support. It couldn't have worked out better.  Taking the route that we did alone the last 11 days would have been very difficult.

I have to get on a 12:30 pm ship for Estonia Thursday.  I'll be there Thursday night and stay at Johnny Lambert's apartment.  My time will now be shared with with my dedicated co-worker Johnny Lambert for the next six days.  Stay tuned!
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