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Traveling by train…

Train travel is extremely popular in Europe.  In my almost 10 years in the former Soviet Union, I have spent a fair amount of time on the train.  Unlike trains in western Europe, most trains in fSU travel at night to their destination.

I don’t enjoy overnight travel on the train.  I have a difficult time sleeping.  I have tried sleep aids like melatonin and Tylenol PM to no avail.  I traveled to Kyiv last Saturday, then on Sunday drove to Warsaw with several colleagues for a couple of days of respite, shopping and eating comfort food!  Wednesday we traveled back to Kyiv.

Thursday evening I got on the train, found my room and bed and settled in for the night.  Soon, the room was full with 4 people (2 guys and 2 ladies).  After talking with them in Russian, I learned that the guy, Bogdan (sounds like Bog-Don) spoke English and we spent the next 2 hours talking about a variety of things.

Everyone went to sleep (well everyone except me!).  I watched some tv show on my computer and then tried to sleep.  I may have slept a couple of hours during the course of the next 7 hours.  I woke up at 5 am and never went back to sleep.

I came home and then went to get my car from the parking lot.  I had arranged to get some things done and on my return trip back to my apartment, I saw Bogdan near my apartment.  We spoke and he had lots of free time so I invited him back to my apt.

During the next 3 1/2 hours, we talked about many things.  I learned that he is Greek Orthodox and actually attends church frequently.  He is a young professional trying his best to make ends meet in this incredibly difficult market.  I cannot believe how open he was about his life, considering we just met less than 24 hours earlier!

Each time I have an encounter like this, I come away with even more insight into the make up of Ukrainians, how they think, etc.  This time was no different.  I shared with Bodgan that I don’t believe in coincidences and believe that God brought our paths together for a reason.

It was a great afternoon spending time getting to know him.  He will be back in Donetsk in last September and I hope we get the chance to meet again.  While I don’t believe in coincidences, I do believe in God-incidences!  Today was such an experience!!!


  1. Train travel is filled with opportunities. I’m glad you had a positive encounter!

  2. I really don’t like overnight trains, but God taught me to have a new outlook about it! Thanks Shannon!

  3. I love to read about your experiences, Joe. God is amazing with his crossing our paths with just whom he wants us to share. You will see Bogdan again.

  4. Jo,
    You are so right. God-incidences! I am trusting God that I will have such an opportunity.

  5. I always pray before I get on the trains in Ukraine that the Lord will place the people he wants me to be a witness to in my cabin. He hasn’t failed me yet.

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