Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How Long The Road

Eighty-five degrees inside combats the sub-freezing air outside. It’s stifling and I long to crack a window, but I can’t. The swaying back and forth is both comforting and a bit nauseating. I feel the need to lessen the pressure on my bladder, but to do so means crawling down from my perch and stumbling, partly because of drowsiness, partly because of the swaying, down the hall into a gray and filthy toilet. The heat coupled with physical pressure in my lower abdomen win over my desire to just ride it out until daylight. I swing down between cots, hoping I don’t step on the two Russian women sleeping below and wonder why these rides can’t be, like in India, gender segregated. Having successfully competed my self-imposed assignment, I swing back up on my perch asking myself how many more years can I reasonably expect to perform such gymnastics?

Missions is more than merely presenting the Gospel to pagans. Paul, who slept to the sway of waves as a prisoner on his way to Rome, would understand. He, who had no place to rest his head, the One whose mission was redemption of those far away from God, certainly can relate. Skeptics of missions, those who scoff at the thought anyone should financially support someone to “see the world,” perhaps should experience the romance of sleeping on a bed of where the tailbone and hard wood is separated by a half-inch of foam or cotton mat. It wouldn’t make them a believer in the Great Commission, but it might dispel myth that this stuff is a luxurious cruise.

Back on my perch I am comforted that in just another five hours this leg of the journey will be over. Temporarily satisfied with my situation, I plug in my headphones to listen to my great uncle (not really) Clive Staples, lecture on apologetics and slowly succumb to the swaying and drift in a semi-conscious slumber. When I wake I will be in Livi, some mountain city near the border of Poland. Three days later I will make this trek again, the night train back to Kiev.

(This travel update sponsored in part by Beans4good.com)