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In a strange place with no ticket home

Joshua Maisner, a World Racer, had this crazy experience and I love it. The moral of his story gives us a drum we need to beat – young people can change the world as they abandon themselves to God and his provision. They (and all of us) need to learn what it is to be in a strange place with no po…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Joshua Maisner, a World Racer, had this crazy experience and I love it. The moral of his story gives us a drum we need to beat – young people can change the world as they abandon themselves to God and his provision. They (and all of us) need to learn what it is to be in a strange place with no possible solutions other than God. It’s then, when there is nowhere else to turn, that he shows up.

FAST FORWARD to Arad Train Station – Middle of Nowhere, Romania
My conductor friend and I had worked out a little deal and he was supposed to
let me know when our stop to change trains was coming up.
LESSON LEARNED: Eastern European Train Conductors don’t come back after they
get their $.
So around 3 AM as I was talking with my brother Phillip, the train slows down
and I see a sign that says ‘Arad’ out the window. Commence me running through
the car waking people up and telling them to jump off the train. Other
passengers are trying to get on and I grab my bag and push through to one of 2
doors to get off. I jump off, look to the right, and there’s literally NO ONE
on the platform except a few Romanians.

Well me and my giant backpack turn around to see the train moving, and all of
my teammates standing at the windows with giant eyes. I’m pretty sure it was
comparable to that scene in Bambi where his mom gets shot. (Yup, I went there.)

They stand staring at me on the moving train.
I begin chasing said train.

I cannot run as fast as train.
Train speeds away.

It might seem like a hopeless situation, but not with my God.

After a short bout of laughter induced by the fact that my life
officially feels like a movie, I begin asking the Romanian security
officer who speaks NO English when that
train is going to get to the next stop, a Romanian man starts
translating for
me. The news I got was not good; two hours till my teams next stop, and
train that will take me to my contact will arrive any minute.

So I introduce myself to my translator and find out an incredible fact.
Him and his wife have just gotten back from visiting his brother in
Phoenix, Arizona for the past 6 months. Well thank you God for a
translator who likes me off the bat finding out I come from the same

I felt I was supposed to head on to
Timisoara, Romania to meet our contact so my new found friend ran with
me to exchange money to buy a ticket.

Problem: My train just pulled up and is about to leave.

Solution: Grabbing my money, waving goodbye, running across three sets of train tracks, and jumping on the train… without a ticket.

pushed my way through 2 cars without finding a seat and finally get to
the end of the next car, throw my bag down, and start to pray.

you’re stuck in Romania by yourself, with no cell phone, no way to
communicate with anyone, and not sure where you’re headed, you really
begin to understand what it looks like to only have faith to depend on. 

biggest hope was that the Lord would give my team peace and that they
would decide to meet me in Timisoara, not come back looking for me. My
prayers were interrupted by a conductor motioning me into a sleeper
compartment. As I walk in he asks for my ticket. Uh-oh.

I then put on my best, “I’m slightly desperate, a little sad, a lot lost, with just the right amount of confidence” face
and end up giving him 10 lei ($3.50) to let me stay, only I didn’t get a
ticket. For some reason they don’t receipt illegal purchases; weird.

few minutes later another conductor comes in and starts screaming at me
in Romanian. You see, this little compartment was an OVEN and I needed a
little breeze, my bad. He demands my ticket, I have none to give, we
play charades for a few minutes as I say I paid someone, he eventually
leaves. THANK YOU GOD!

I eventually arrived in
Timisoara, Romania around 5:45 in the morning. The Lord literally led me
straight to my contact at a very busy station, and I was finally able
to sit and relax.

We heard from my team a
few hours later and they caught a train from their next stop and were
headed down. It all worked out in the end!

So what lessons did I learn from this debacle?

I can travel from Hungary to Romania without ever purchasing a real ticket.
I LOVE the thrill of crazy adventures.
Attach leashes to each other on travel days.
God always has things under control, and provides for His children in the most incredible ways!

Comments (4)

  • Great story Joshua.

    Headed to middle of somewhere else in Romania on Friday, Medgidia, and can relate to your story. I am traveling alone and will travel by taxi and maxi taxi (small van) alone, w/O the language skills I would like:))

    The great thing about traveling with the Lord is He has got your back!

    He is waiting to move on your behalf, as you wait on him.

    Many blessings on your journey.

  • Had a similar experience on my first mission trip in Peru. We had to split up into three taxis to get all of us and our bags to the train station. The bags went in one taxi, the guys in another, and us girls in the third (probably not the smartest idea to start with).

    As the taxis pulled away, our taxi turned in the complete opposite direction that the others went. None of us spoke spanish, and we had no way of contacting our teamates.

    After driving for a while, our driver completely ignoring traffic lights and stop signs the whole way, we still had no sight of the other team. Our taxi pulls up in front of a train station and pulls our smalls bags out of the trunk and leaves us there and drives away.

    We’re at a train station, but have no idea if it’s the right one, and still don’t see our teammates anywhere. After a few minutes of praying desperately and trying to consol eachother, one of the guys walked around the corner.

    It turns out that our bags and the guys got dropped off at the back of the station where the trains are loaded, and we got dropped off at the front where you buy tickets. I don’t think I was ever as happy to see him as I was in that moment.

    You think I would have learned something about being informed and able to communicate, but I can recall a few similar experiences on the WR a few years later. It’s always a good idea to at least know where you are going in the local language, and where you came from or are staying. A few emergency phone numbers are a good idea too.

    But in the end, God is faithful and it makes for a real adventure and a fun story.

  • Yeah I once managed to lose my plane tickets somewhere between Bolivia and Peru and ended up missing the connecting flight! God provided for me in that I’d previously been working at a church 4 blocks away from the aiport and they very kindly took in the homeless gringa on their doorstep! In some ways I hated every minute of the extra 10 days I spent there, I don’t do uncertainty well! I also hated having to shell out again for another ticket. But God taught me so much in that time through the people I was with during that time, and the most important thing he taught me is that my faith is “more precious that gold” – that the lessons I learnt were eternal and priceless – worth far more than the extra $250 I paid for my ticket!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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