Three a.m. in a Romanian train depot. People wander or sit hunched in their coats.
We walk in. There are five of us and we’re certainly not of their descent. Heads turn and stares begin. Warnings from seasoned travelers control my hand as it clutches tightly to our Visas. “Train and bus stations are where you need to be careful. Someone will cause a distraction, and while you look over there, another hand will be here, and your valuables will be lost.”
The nightlife of the train depot is compliments of Abby. She’s catching a train to return to Hungary. It turns out there is little catching involved. The train is late. Another cold forty minutes to wait.
As we seek specifics about the train I notice half a man. His wheelchair holds two stumps, and his mouth holds 4 teeth. He looks at me. “Do you speak English?”
“Yes,” I reply quickly. I was approached by a beggar five days ago, and I, with an utterly non-Christian heart, aim to head off another.
“Are you from America?”
“No,” I say, “we live here.” My voice is quick and bothered.
He fumbles with his words, and pries for more information. I barely speak, and blame the hardness of my response to lack of sleep and the foreign world around me. In reality, my sin nature is wide awake, and it seems as if nothing in me has warmth.
“Are you from California? Texas?” He goes on.
“We live here,” I say again. “Potcoava, Scornicesti, Bircii.”
“Here? For how long?”
“We’ve been here eight months, but before that we lived in Iowa.”
“I know someone from Iowa,” he states.
His one sided conversation continues while I’m lost in thought. His hands are grimy and calloused.
“Abraham, David, Daniel.” The names dance out of his mouth. He goes on, and I focus on his words. His grammar circles and his pronunciation doesn’t fit, but, from what I hear… could this man be a believer? Does he know Truth?
“Heaven,” he says, and his huge grin explodes. “Jesus wants us all to be in heaven. Would you like to have Him in your heart?”
I’m back on track with his words, and finally, I smile. Though tonight my actions haven’t shown it, I know Truth, too.
“He is,” I reply. “That’s why I’m here… He’s why I’m here.”
He gives me a grin, and his grimy, calloused hand shakes mine. Joy and hope bounce from him, ricocheting off the walls. “Heaven,” he states in parting, and one true missionary rolls away.