Once Upon a Summer: The Long Journey (Part 2)

Click here to read Part 1 – “Once Upon a Summer: Chasing Dreams”

I sat on the floor in the attic, surrounded by boxes and memories, and cradled the tattered journal in my hands. I had forgotten how difficult traveling had been. I had been lost in Heathrow Airport for hours that day, trying to find my connecting flight. And then there were other incidents as well.

But God always comes through . . .


July 10, 1999
3:00 p.m. CET
Nyugati Train Station
Budapest, Hungary

The payphone was not working.

Again and again, my money tumbled back into the coin return slot. If I couldn’t get through to the mission, there would be no one to meet my train when it reached Szeged and I would be stranded.

“Lord, help me!”

I will never leave you nor forsake you.

An old man shuffled over and began jabbering at me in Hungarian. He was dirty, his clothes were ragged, and he desperately needed a shower. A tramp. It was obvious that the train station was his home.

I hugged my bright yellow traveler’s backpack tightly to my chest and watched dumbly as he took my money, inserted it into the slot, and showed me how to find the correct city code to dial. When I lifted the receiver to my ear, I could hear the glorious sound of a telephone ringing on the other end. I was saved!

How does that song go again? There are saints on every corner…

Sometimes God uses the most unlikely people.


July 10, 1999
3:30 p.m. CET
Nyugati Train Station
Budapest, Hungary

“I’d like a one-way ticket to Szeged, please.”

The woman at the ticket window stared at me blankly.

“Szeged. I need a ticket. But just one way,” I said again.

The woman furrowed her brow said something in Hungarian.

I turned around. There was a long line of people behind me. “Can someone translate? Does anyone speak English?” I called. No response.

I took a deep breath and tried again, this time in broken French: “Est-ce que c’est un personne qui parle francais?”

A young woman stepped forward. “Oui?” she said.

The foreign words felt awkward in my mouth as I attempted explain what I needed. The woman turned to the ticket agent and spoke rapidly in Hungarian. Within seconds, I held my ticket in my hand.

“Merci beaucoup!” I said to the woman with a smile of blatant relief.

But when I finally boarded my train, frustration and exhaustion caught up with me and the tears began to flow.

What am I doing here? I wondered. I’ve only been away from home for two days and I’m so discouraged! Are You here with me, Lord? The language barriers are too great. Am I really doing Your will?

My heart begged for a sign. Please. Send me someone who speaks English.

I averted my head as a large group of people boarded my train car. They were chattering and laughing noisily together. And then it dawned on me. I can understand them.

“Where are you going?” I asked a young man, my face still wet with tears.

“To a school in Szeged for missions training,” he answered in the most beautiful and proper British accent I have ever heard.

God had not sent me one person who spoke English. He had sent me 19. And they were going to the exact same place that I was.

We were about to embark on the biggest adventure of our lives.

(To be continued…)


Click here to read Part 3 – “Once Upon a Summer: Unplanned Lessons”


8 thoughts on “Once Upon a Summer: The Long Journey (Part 2)

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