Arrival at Kadesh-Naphtali
Thursday morning - and the Engström house was a streaming mass of human beings carrying bags to the small bus Björn had hired, and to the two cars. Most of the Engström's smaller items were packed into the bus leaving the furniture to be delivered the following week. Misha and Sonja had been up a good part of the night packing up the kitchen and clothing. Though the houses at Kadesh-Naphtali were partially furnished, Björn said, most would be put into storage as we did not at that time need it.
Misha and Sonja took turns to drive their own car and the rest of us turns to drive the Mercedes, swapping every two hours. The journey along the east side of Lake Vättern was a pleasant one. I would have liked to have done some sight-seeing but I knew there wouldn't be time on this trip. My tour of duty was between Motala and Örebro and I was glad to have some time to myself and my own thoughts. Suszana took over at Örebro and swapped with Isabel at Kopparberg, a rather ugly industrial town that I was not sorry to leave behind. We were now climbing into the mountains and human settelements thinned out. Every now and then we crossed the northern railway line which reminded me that we would have another means of transport should we ever need it. Indeed, the railway link was less than 30 km from Kadesh-Naphtali itself, at a town called Leksand, with a second line to the west at Mora. I was even more surprised to discover that there were two airfields on either side of us within 10-15 km.
"Stan did his planning well, didn't he?" grinned Björn as we chatted together on the bus during the last leg of the trip. "If we can ever afford it, there are airfields that can take us to much larger airports with international connections. This is a popular tourist area and so there are a lot of visitors. If we ever need to, we should be able to capitalise on the tourist trade. And yet we are quite remote too. But you wait until you see the actual place itself." Björn's eyes had really lit up with excitement and his enthusiasm was infectious.
The journey went much faster than planned, made easier by sharing the driving load. Björn drove the bus half the way and as ever took most of the strain. The children were remarkably cooperative and looked upon the whole exercise as a great adventure inspite of the long journeys they had already had across Europe.
Wladislaw would be transferring his medical studies to Gävle on the Baltic coast and travel home at weekends, quite a committment as the journey was three hours each way by car. But there was a rail link too if he wanted that. We were not sure how this would work out with all the expenses involved but he would try.
Suddenly, there was Lake Siljan - the "Eye of Dalarna" as it was called locally, surrounded everywhere by endless forest. Tytus was practically hopping on his seat with excitement:
"Look! Look! There it is!" he cried. Alexei soon got caught up in the excitement and was hopping up and down together with his half-brother.
"Airplane! Airplane!" came the chorus from Alexei as a small twin-propellored aircraft rose in the distance from Björkberg airport.
"What's this place going to be like in the winter?" asked Suszana who was not too fond of the cold.
"Oh, it's not too bad, "assured Björn, and pointed to an elevation to our left. "Up there at Gesundaberget it's about 500 metres above sea-level. That's the highest point around here. Stan wanted to be a little higher up but not too high up. The airport's about 350 metres high. Kadesh-Naphtali is above the lake at about 200 metres, the lake being 161 metres up."
"Oh, look, there's an island too!" exclaimed Kryztina who loved this sort of countryside. And though it wasn't quite the same as the Tatra or Carpathian Mountains, she was pleased to have mountainous terrain on her doorstep.
Björn started commenting again: "There's a village called Sölleron on the island. It's an interesting place and quite a tourist spot. We're less than 10 km from it, and close to a village called Gusunda. Kadesh-Naphtali used to be the local hôtel."
The bus suddenly veered to the left and drove up a long dirt road that dipped slightly then rose again. The drive to the house was about a mile long with pine, birch and oak trees on either side that created an arched canopy. For the first hundred yards there was nothing but thick pine forest and then, through the gaps in the trees we could see vast acreages of field extending far into the distance and ending at the edge of forest. This vast area of arrable land seemed to have been chopped straight out of the forest which hemmed it in on all sides.
"Here we are, friends," said Björn melodramatically. "Take a look at your new home".
As the bus swung around a corner, there it was. We gasped in surprise and wonderment. The Poles amongst us broke out into spontaneous applause - a huge, imposing three-storied white manor house was suddenly staring us in the face with at least twenty blue silled windows on the front alone. A broad stone staircase led up to a platform flanked by two huge white pillars that guarded two large oak doors painted a deep blue. Above it and arising out of the roof was a bellfry with a large ornamental gold-faced clock with an angel on either side facing us. In front of the house, in the middle of a circular drive, was a fountain, though it was not then turned on.Two roads led off the circular drive, to the left and to the right, to the Nilsson and Åkerstedt, and Engström homes, respectively.
"It's lovely!" exclaimed Kryztina. And even after the bus stopped, nobody moved from their seats, transfixed as we were by the splendor of it all. It all seemed too good to be true and made Raj pale into insignirficance.
"I wonder what it's like inside?" I asked Sarah-Jane who was sitting next to me. I had thoughts of a huge interior decorating job which would doubtless fall on us as there would probably be no money left over to get professional workmen.
Björn did not wait for us but went to get Sonja from their car. Kasia was already out of our Merecedes and was climbing the steps up to the front door.
"Hey, wait for us!" called out Andreea as there was a sudden scramble to get out of the bus. The children were the first out and started heading in all directions. Alexei had already climbed onto the fountain walls.
"Get down, Alexei!" shouted Kasia as her son started running around the edge, to be joined by Tytus and then Stanislaw, Jr.
The mothers gathered their children and assembled them outside the door.
"Remember to take your shoes off inside," said Björn. "This is a palace and you'll have to start behaving like princes and princesses!"
We all thought he was teasing us but when he unlocked the door and we walked in we could hardly believe our eyes. Beautiful oil paintings hung from the walls, and white porcelein busts sat in small alcoves. Glass chandeliers seemed to cascade from the ornanely plastered ceilings.
"This can't be true!" exclaimed Isabel. "It's the lap of luxury. And it all looks so new!"
Björn explained that the building had been a luxury hôtel that had gone bankrupt. It had only been refurbished the year before, at enormous expense.
"The poor owners," said Andreea sympathetically. "What a loss this must have been for them."
"Oh, you neededn't feel that bad," explained Björn. "It was owned by a huge multinational company in Hamburg. They've got billions. But the hôtel just wasn't profitable any more and as tourism has declined in this area owing to all the flooding that there's been in areas around here, they decided to cut their losses and just pull out. Yes, they've probably lost a good 10 to 15 million kronor, but it's a drop in the ocean for them."
We walked around in shere amazement. The living room looked fit for a French monarch. The sixteen bedrooms all had their own brand new showers, and the kitchen was fitted with all the latest modern conveniences.
"How will we ever keep all this clean?" wailed Sarah-Jane. "The kids will turn this into a junk yard!"
"Simple," I interjected, "we are going to gave to teach the children to behave like princes and princesses."
Björn took us into the spacious cellar where the laundry and drying rooms were located. There was also a huge work room filled with tools.
"This is the boiler room," said Björn. You have a choice of wood, oil, electricity, or geothermal power. Right now its set up for electricity and geothermal. We have our own river and generator to provide all our power needs, so long as it works, of course. You must keep the children away from there as it's dangerous."
We went into an adjacent room filled with strange looking equipment.
"This is the water purification and sewage disposal system. We have our own wells here too, connected to the geothermal system."
"All of this is going to take a terrific amount of maintenance, Björn," said Kasia a little worried. "Nobody knows anything about these systems."
"Now there you're wrong, Kasia," said Björn. "Lars Nilsson is an engineer who builds these things. He plans to set up a small factory here making related equipment which will also be a means for us to generate cash. He'll teach those who want to be involved."
"Isn't there a farm too?" I asked.
"Oh yes, dairy cattle and grain. That's where Bengt Åkerstedt comes into the picture. He's the farmer. He'll employ most of the same workers the farm had before until we can gradually ease our own folk in later, hopefully. I intend to help out in that department." Björn grinned, obviously enthusiastic about his change of career.
"Now here's another large room which Stan is going to convert into food storage. There are several more down here which'll probably be used for storage. He'll tell you when he gets here."
"What about your house, Björn?" asked Kryztina. "Can we go and see that too?"
"In a moment, I want to show you the rest in this house first," and led the way upstairs again.
He took us to the top floor where there was what looked like a huge ball room.
"This used to be a disco-com-dancing salon," explained Björn. "Stan, I know, intends to make this a temple room like the one you had in Raj. Only as you can see, it's a lot bigger and fancier."
I don't think there was a heart in that house that wasn't praising the Lord for the enormous blessing this place was. But could we handle it? It was twice the size of Raj at least and it was already furnished with beautiful antique furniture, quite unsuitable for a young family.
"One thing we'll need is classrooms and a nursery," Isabel pointed out. "Apart from the huge living room, and one very large dining room, there's only one other large room which I suppose will have to be a combined library and office."
Björn answered her questions: "The school will be in our house. You're right, Stan intends this to be the library and his private office. There's space to convert some of the rooms downstairs into a nursery and whatever else you want. You'll have to talk to Stan about that."
We walked around half dazed and overwhelmed by the scale of everything. This would be a terrific responsibility for us and mean a complete reorganisation of our domestic arrangements. Some of the others were aleady starting to discuss how things might be.
"Let's go and see the other houses, then," said Björn who was by now getting keen to settle Sonja and Misha into their own home.
We trooped out of the house and walked down the drive towards Björn's home.
"It's ENORMOUS!" exclaimed Sonja, "far too big for us!"
Björn laughed. "Don't worry, dear, it's not all of ours. This is also a guest house and conference centre. Only a quarter of it is ours - the rest is bedrooms for visitors and meeting rooms, some of which will be classrooms for the kids."
The Engström house was as newly restored as our own home though not quite in the same style of luxury. With four bedrooms there was space to expand his own family, which is what he had wanted. Like the mansion house, there were about a dozen small bedrooms on the upper floor with shower rooms attached. On the ground floor was one large conference room and several smaller rooms which would serve us well as classrooms and offices. A spacious cellar offered other possibilities too.
"The Nilssons and Åkerstedts have their own houses which I think we'd better leave until tomorrow as everyone's tired and I expect you'll want to unpack. Karl is taking the bus back this evening so we need to unload it.
Karl had not followed us into the houses but had been unpacking the bus when we returned which made us feel a little guilty.
"You go and take a look around, Karl," said Björn. "We'll finish up here. Thanks for all your hard work."
Karl was a handsome Swede at 21 and Maria, it seemed, already had eyes on him. She offered to show him around and clearly enjoyed her attention but was less than pleased when her 15 year-old half-sister Nikki asked to join them too.
We wondered what we would do with all our surplass furniture when it arrived from Raj. And then there was the tricky question of dividing the rooms. Unlike Raj, the bedrooms were not part of self-contained apartments so there were no private living rooms or kitchenettes. I was frankly disgusted when a couple of my sister-wives started complaining about their loss. But there was no solution to that and we would simply have to adjust to what we had. The rooms were also right alongside one another. We wished Stan had been here. As Kryztina was the senior wife of sorts, we asked her to make a decision as to what should be done.
"Let's just take the rooms we want for now and let Stan rearrange everything when he gets here," she said, and though not everyone was happy with having to move again, they all deferred to her. There had to be a head when Stan was absent and it fell to Kryztina who was expected to consult all the others and arrive at solutions to problems. In Stan's absence Björn was the presiding patriarch of the community as a whole.
It was strange sleeping in a new home in a new country. The heating was not on so it was a bit chilly but there was hot water at least. In all the excitement we had forgotten about Stan and Anna and it was only as I was lying in my bed that I remembered and the anxiety returned.
There was a knock on my door.
"Can I come in," said Andreea in a hushed voice, and came in quickly through the door. "I was looking for a prayer partner - nobody seems to have remembered to pray this evening."
She stood shivvering in front of me. "Hop into my bed and we can pray in some warmth!" I suggested. Her face lit up and she was in next to me in a flash kicking her legs to get some warmth.
"You lead," I suggested, for in the things of the Spirit I looked upon her as a kind of matriarchal head.
Andreea prayed for over half an hour, thanking the Lord for Kadesh-Naphtali and praying for Stan's safe return. I must have dozed off, and Andreea must have been too tired to go back to her own room since I found her fast asleep next to me when I was awakened by the brilliant sunshine the following morning.
Sarah-Jane and Kasia had rustled some breakfast together from the food provisions we had brought with us.
"We'll need to do some shopping fairly soon, but where and with what?" asked Kryztina who was always alert to practical needs.
We found Björn and conferred with him. We were completely dependent on him economically until Stan returned and even though we would be starting a United Order of All Things in Common, it had been agreed that we would not rush into this economic arrangement blindly but first thrash it out when the Nilssons and Åkestedts were here too. Though we had the pattern from other colonies, it was recognised that each one might be a little different depending on local circumstances and national laws. Ironically, Sweden was even more socialist than post-communist Poland in the matter of property ownership and the like. Anyway, Apostle Bronken from Norway would be visiting within the month to explain things more fully to us.
Sonja and I drove into Mora to purchase supplies to last us a few days, and I was shocked by the high prices. I wondered how we would survive economically in such a country. She told me about their new home which she was as excited about as we were ours. It was twice the size of their place in Jönköping but, like ours, still not heated up. There were no telephones either so we depended on Björn's mobile for contact with the outside world.
The day was spent unpacking what we had and settling in as best we could. We decided to make the living room out of bounds for the small children for the present and went around removing expensive objects that were within their grasp and putting them in secure places. I was sure Stan would wish to sell some of the paintings which were of Swedish aristocrats though we hoped he would retain the Swedish landscapes. It would take a long time rearranging the house the way we wanted it. This would also be quite a challenge to us sister-wives who before had simply come into an exisiting home and had to adapt to what was there. In a way, we could now shape it the way all of us wanted...or end up quarrelling! We would let Stan moderate that one.
In the Królewiec family everything seems to happen all at once. No sooner had we started unpacking the few things we had brought with us from Jönköping than the German removal vans with all our belongings from Raj arrived from Sassnitz. Not knowing what to do with everything, we ordered all the surplass furniture to be stored in the cellar and kitchen items to be put in the kitchen. The cases of library books were stacked in the new library together with all the shelving. Everything else, including clothing, went downstairs until we were sure who was going to get what room. This sudden activity was a blessing in disguise because it kept our minds off Stan and the inevitable worry that would follow if we brooded on what might have been a serious situation.
It was during the afternoon whilst sitting with the Engströms in the kitchen that Stan made his first telephone call from German Pomerania. Once we knew he was safe it made our sabbath preparations that much easier. News of Anna's safe arrival in Stralsund came on the Saturday whilst we were meeting together for our devotions and was a wonderful relief. Björn was giving the ministry of preaching at the time, his sermon being based on Matthew 7:13, "Enter ye in at the strait gate." Though not used to preaching in English, he did remarkably well. From now on English and Swedish would predominate at Kadesh-Naphtali and Polish rapidly became a secondary language, which I know Suszana, Isabel, Kryztina, Anna and (to a lesser extent), Kasia would not be too happy about. It was Sarah-Jane, Andreea and I who came into our element, Andreea by leaps and bounds as she had had problems picking up Polish. We started picking up Swedish almost at once. With the later arrival of the Nilssons and Åkerstedts, Swedish soon dominated on the colony except in the herregård where English continued to reign.
For some reason Björn's sermon stuck in my mind, perhaps because of the emotional relief upon discovering that Anna was safe. He had said:
"There are two roads through this world, and two gates into the future world. One of these ways is broad and easy, and is like walking down a gentle hill that leads to a wide gate. It is not difficult to walk on this road. The other road is strait and leads to a narrow gate, and it is mostly up-hill. To get on this road you have to leave the crowd and go almost alone, leaving the wide, easy road, and get onto hard, rugged country path with hard stones on it that make it painful to walk. The gate is so narrow that you cannot carry any bundles of worldliness or self-righteousness, or any of the popular habits of the old life with you. If we want to make it to heaven, we must make up our minds to walk this narrow road of self-denial. That is why we have decided to come together as a Christian community here in Kadesh-Naphtali. All the world is not flowing into heaven - the crowds are going somewhere else."
And hard it had been for everyone. Now we faced new challenges living in a new enviornment with new people. We knew and liked the Engströms but were ignorant about the other two families yet to arrive, though my first impressions of the elder son of the Åkerstedts, Karl, had been favourable. Maria was in no doubt that he, at least, was agreeable!
Though still without heating we nevertheless made the best of things with hot drinks, waterbottles and blankets. The temperature in the house was a tolerable 15°C thought it fell to 12° at night. That was another of my American habits I had learned to drop, that of measuring temperature in degrees Fahrenheit and adapting to the continental European Celsius or Centigrade. It always struck me as odd that the Americans and British should prefer what was a Prussian scale given our unhappy experience with them in two world wars. What was comical was the way the British had fought to defend it as something uniquely "British" - Celcius replaced Fahrenheit once Great Britain entered the European Community. Since we were living in Sweden, using the Celsius scale made alot of sense since its originator, Anders Celsius, was himself a Swede! Though I know Stan thought the Fahrenheit scale was clumsy and impractical, I think he had a secret liking for it solely on the grounds that its inventor, Gabriel Fährenheit, was a Prussian like himself, though from nearby Danzig (today Polish Gdansk). Irrespective of what I thought about the matter, all the thermometers were in Celcius and nobody else except Sarah-Jane had a clue what I was talking about when Fahrenheit was mentioned. They would think we were roastingly hot when we were barely warm.
On the Sunday Björn connected us to the oil-fired heating system and we finally began to feel warm in our own home. They used electricity. Not until the Nilssons arrived a month later did we finally switch over to the geothermal heating system and start generating our own electricity, which was more than fortunate as we discovered to our horror the astronomical cost of electricity in a country where it ought, in our opinion, to have been cheap especially as it generated so much of its own, even to exporting it to Germany.
Arranging for the bulk delivery of food in the manner which we had been accustomed to in Poland was one of our priorities but did nothing until Stan and Anna returned. On the Monday we sallied forth to a nearby farm to buy 50 young chickens and put them in a section of the garages opposite the Engströms which Björn had converted for the purpose. The kids were thrilled to bits to have animals again. Björn left for Jönköping early that morning to pack up the remainder of his house and met up with Stan and Anna there who spent the night with him. The Engström furniture and other possessions arrived in Kadesh-Naphtali on the Wednesday.
Knowing that Stan and Anna would be arriving on Tuesday afternoon we rushed about to make the house as presentable and welcoming as possible for them. Kasia managed to find the Order's flag in the cellar and made sure it was hoisted on the enormous flag-pole on the west side of the manor house. A sense of great satisfaction filled us to see the horizontal tricolour of black, white and blue, with the golden firstborn cross in the centre, fluttering above us. It symbolised not only our presence and occupation of the property but also - and this was much more important - ownership by the Lord Yah'shua (Jesus). For it meant that we would now try to start a truly millennial Christian-Israelite community, independent from the world and, we hoped, a totally self-sufficient one.
Stan and Anna arrived at precisely three thirty-three in the afternoon and parked outside the front door. We had kept a strict watch from the front windows so that we would be ready when he came. Kryztina had put out a couple of dozen small New Covenant flags along the edge of the lawn to add some colour and make everything look festive. Sarah-Jane had fixed up the Hi-Fi and managed to get a speaker outside one of the windows and Isabel had orchestrated the family so that they would neatly file outside onto the balcony as he arrived.
I could see that Stan was deeply moved both by his arrival at Kadesh-Naphtali and by the fact that he was about to be reunited with his wives and children. As he stepped out of the car the family hymn, "Our Family United by Love" which had been composed by the head of our Order, began to play. Stan stopped, spellbound, and we in our turn dared not moved. It was as though he had entered the gates of Paradise and he was looking at his family arrayed in white clothes in heaven. He was in a different dimension. He stood and looked up at us all from the bottom of the stairs, holding Anna's right hand. Tears trickled down his cheeks and our hearts seemed as though they would burst. We wanted to run down to him but we knew instinctively that we must not. There was an electric tension in the air, a seething sea of deep emotions pounding on the walls of a dam waiting to be let out of a protesting sluice. He stood there completely still until the hymn was over, as though it were a national anthem. As the last strains of the music faded away, he smiled that smile we all adored so dearly, and stretched his arms out wide.
A sea of bobbing faces, young and old, descended on him like a tidal wave as one by one, though sometimes two, or three, or more, we threw ourselves on him, and embraced and kissed him. And we embraced Anna too, like a long-lost sister.
It was not often that we saw Stan releasing deep feelings but this was one of them, and we drank it in gratefully. He was sobbing for shere happiness. And we, women that we are, were soon following suit. Children were squealing with delight to be with their Pappa again, as we adults hummed with excited chatter. Everyone had arms around someone. Sonja and Misha came out from their home too to welcome Stan and Anna. They had brought a camera with them and snapped up the happy Królewiec family. If ever that deep, deep oneless of love was manifested visibly, it was then. Nothing else seemed to matter. Several voices were praising Yahweh and thanking Him for bringing us all together again. The Królewiec family was one and reunited again, and our joy was full.
This page was first created in 2002
Last updated on 5 March 2009
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