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Bus Rides

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  • Bus rides. And rides…and rides…and rides. It’s about a 90-minute commute from where Ilive to most anywhere. On my language class days, I walk 15 minutes to the bus stop, ride the bus about 75 minutes, and then walk 10 minutes to class. It’s a wonderful time to pray for the ‘regulars’ on the bus, do homework or review vocabulary and grammar, eavesdrop on conversations to see what I can understand and still need to learn, start making sense of the road signs that were so foreign two months ago, and learn a bit about the honking protocol and signals of the bus drivers.

    Each day, I pray for an opportunity to connect with someone in some way. Each day, God is faithful. Whether it’s merely saying “good morning” or someone asking me a question about the bus schedule or talking to me (both well beyond my capabilities yet to respond). This past week, an older lady waiting for the same bus invited me to sit with her on the ride, and was oh so patient as I painfully pulled out words in my new language. Praise God, we were able to communicate about family, our countries, and the weather. As they say here frequently, “slowly, slowly.” On another occasion, God gave me a lesson in humility and generosity.

    I had heard about the option to ask another passenger to use their bus card and then pay them back with cash, if you don’t have enough on your card. I was hoping this day would never come – but no such luck. When the red screen and loud buzzer came up, indicating I was out of funds, I looked around helplessly, not knowing what to do. Eventually, an older woman in the front, turned and yelled back to her daughter or granddaughter to let me use her card. The daughter/granddaughter didn’t seem too inclined, but the woman insisted. After returning the card I tried to give her money, but she declined, and I was able to get home. Proof that even the smallest act of kindness can go a long way. God gave me the opportunity to pass on the favour a week later. A man, who appeared to be working-class, got on the bus but didn’t have enough on his card. He asked to use someone else’s, but no one volunteered. Once I figured out what was happening, I offered to use my guard. It was a reminder that we should always be paying attention for opportunities to share God’s love, even in the smallest way.

    As I continue to develop my language and cultural skills, I pray that soon I can respond to the people who speak to me, and even share the gospel. Because I know God will continue to be faithful and send someone my way every day. 

    On Track – West Asia 

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