We made it to the Doh's in Kemi!
Trip Start Jun 10, 2007
22Trip End Jun 29, 2007
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We find that that going to Boden is going to the wrong city for us continuing by the bus. We are told that there is no bus service from Boden to Finland and that we must go another stop to Lulea. From there we take a bus to Haparanda, then there are some complicated maneuvers to get from there to Tornio and on to Kemi, Finland.
So we got off the train at Lulea and walked about 250 yards to the bus station. As we are slowly getting our documents out, Bruce panics as he discovers that he doesn't have his passport. Great. He goes through his things a few times....still not there. So, he runs back to the train station to get back on the train and see if he can find it. The train has gone. But, since we had come to the end of the train line, the cars were moved to a rail yard and he was able to get on it to look. He checked the sleeping compartment. Not there. Then he went to the dining car where we were the previous night. Finally, his passport was discovered wedged under the seat by the person with Bruce. They almost missed it. Anyway, Bruce came back triumphantly. Crisis averted. I was praying for the best, but planning for the worst case scenario of having the trip come to a complicated ending.
We boarded the big blue fancy double-decker bus for the last Swedish outpost Haparanda, a Finnish-sounding name. We ask for buses for our final destination of Kemi. They tell us that they have not timetables for Finland and that we had to take a little mini bus across the border. The bus driver wanted Euros for the fare which we did not have. So, we decided to walk across the border. It was only about a kilometer walk across a bridge into Finland. We needed the exercise anyway.
As we crossed the bridge, it seemed just too easy to be in another country. We weren't even sure we were in Finland. Bruce spotted three ladies coming our way and asked "Is this Finland?" They replied, "You are in Finland." It seemed like a Monty Python skit.
There are always complications. The Doh's had moved apartments so we didn't know exactly where they were now. We walked over to some people in the apartment courtyard and asked to use their cell phone which they did. We called Margaret and in seconds she came running out with Klo Gay to meet us. It had taken almost 24 hours for us to get to them from the Spenser's in Mjolby, Sweden. But, it was so wonderful to see them. We went inside. They already had our beds made up and were awaiting our visit. We spent time talking. Their niece Elsa came over. She now has a separate apartment a few doors down.
We talked a while catching up on where we left off the last time I visited them in January. They will coming to the Feast of Tabernacles in Estonia this fall. They really miss fellowship with not only brethren, but with their own Karen people. They have just been able to get a car and took a trip over a hundred miles away to visit other Karen immigrants. Bruce seems to be really enjoying this experience. While we were talking Reggie Warren from Cincinnati gave us a Skype call and we were able to talk to him and see him and his granddaughter on videocam.
I have been hit with a bit of something that wasn't agreeing with me and was having trouble much of the past 24 hours. Bruce anointed me and I slept about an hour and a half. I woke up feeling absolutely great.
Then Margaret prepared a delicious dinner for us of chicken, beef and some kind of fish, rice and salad. It really tasted great. Then we held a Bible Study and had just general discussion about our faith. Bruce spoke about some of the Fundamentals of Belief and I spoke about the Kingdom of God.
Then the rest of the evening Margaret showed us lots of pictures of her family, grandchildren and life at the Mai La camp in Thailand. This has been such a great visit. The previous two visits I could only spend about three or four hours with them because of the plane connections. This visit has been more relaxed.
We finally got to bed at 11:30 pm. It's still as bright as can be outside. Klo Gay has gone through a lot of trouble to block the main window from having light come in. I would not have minded the bright room, but he wanted to make sure it was when we slept.
Klo Gay took his niece Elsa to the train station for her trip to Helsinki where she has a meeting with her job or school. She will be on the train all night, have the meeting in Helsinki and then return the same day on the night train. Elsa has done very well with the Finnish language. She will be married in a few months back in Thailand and will come back with her husband in January 2008. She is very pleasant to talk to.
We feel very close to the Doh family. We want to express special thanks to Peter Hawkins and the United Kingdom for providing recorded sermon support along with sending the Good News and other literature to them. The Doh's commented how much they appreciated that support from the United Kingdom.
On Wednesday morning our fast train for Helsinki leaves at 8:51 from Kemi. This is Bruce's last leg. He flies back to the United States on Thursday morning. I take the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn and continue in Estonia for six more days with Johnny Lambert. This has been a wonderful trip. It's been long. Our last day of train and bus travel was almost 1000 miles, but it's been great and Bruce and I have enjoyed it thoroughly. It's been so wonderful to spend good time with our brethren who are so cut off from everyone.