Long distance bus rides are never fun, even in America. I have ridden the bus on numerous occasions in America and a couple of times in the former Soviet Union. I prefer to take the train here, but there are times when the bus does get you there faster.
I traveled to Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan on Sunday. It is about 2½ hours from Karaganda. Since the capital moved there a few years ago, the city is in a construction boom and many of the new buildings are very modern looking.
I was in Astana to attend a couple of days of a conference so that I could meet some national missionaries and hear about their work. It was a very fruitful time and I enjoyed meeting the brothers who are working all across the northern parts of K’stan.
Anyway, I had lunch with an American there and he gave me a quick tour of the city where the government is in the process of construction of their new buildings and many new apartment buildings under construction.
Soon, Brian took me to the bus station so I could get on a bus back to Karaganda. The bus is getting ready to leave so I hopped on and settled down in the back where there were only 3 seats left. I was thanking the Lord for getting on the bus when two men sat down beside me.
I quickly knew I was in for a long ride…
Tuesday was New Years here (I think according to the Muslim calendar) and people were celebrating! The two men who sat next to me had already celebrated way too much. They were wasted! It was difficult for me to understand their Russian since they were slurring so much.
I was able to sleep for about 1 hour during the trip, but after I woke up the older man wanted to talk to me. We made a stop and the younger guy went to buy something to “drink.” I knew what that meant! Sure enough, shortly after taking off, I was being offered vodka every time they took a drink.
I knew that it wouldn’t do much good to witness to them but I shared with them why I was in K’stan and what Christ meant to me. The younger one kept trying to get me to drink and the older one kept telling me that I was a missionary and shouldn’t drink.
It was a LOOONG ride home and it reminded me once more of why I don’t enjoy bus rides in K’stan or America…