How can I put today into words?
We took a bus west an hour and a half to the Baltic Sea. The small town is called Haapsalu (pronounced HAP-sah-loo).
We first stopped at the Kingdom Hall for greetings and refreshments. An older Russian sister hugged me tight and said, "I love you!" in careful English.
"I love you, too!"
And the tears began.
We went to a train museum and there was a reenactment of the brothers being taken and sent to Siberia, complete with armed Soviet guards.
Then they put 40 of us in a rail car and shut the door.
I remember the story from the 2011 yearbook and thought about spending 18 days living in that smelly boxcar, scared out of your mind, and heading to who knows where. It was so dark.
We were very sad when we left there.
Then we drove to the Baltic Sea and walked among the rose gardens. Tchaikovsky stayed at this resort and was a fan of the beautiful swans everywhere.
We ate at a restaurant that was famous 100 years ago because the Czar would eat there when he visited.
Some talented brothers and sisters performed for us. Here is the restaurant with Veronika, our guide for the day.
Then we toured the ruins of a castle in the middle of town.
While walking through Haapsalu we ran into an old friend- Marlene! She made it! She was the last delegate to arrive yesterday and received all their love.
Finally, we went to an old manor where the congregation had a picnic for us.
I finally was able to sing in Estonian with the sisters there. The sisters said they needed me to return tomorrow to lead the singing group. I wish! Such a compliment from a culture that prizes singing.
We cried when we had to return to Tallinn. What a special day!