“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”
– ‘Oceans’ by Hillsong
There is a saying to describe a Russian man, and that is that ‘He cannot do without problems, and even when there are none, he’ll do his best to make some.’ I found it very true in my life to be always searching for new challenges. So this summer I packed my backpack again and hit the road with no money and with just some food to survive for a couple days. In this way I’m collecting experiences of how God provides and what His way of dealing is in times of peril.
This trip began with me having quite a struggle on the idea of taking my younger brother along with me. In my opinion he was not yet ready to dive into such an adventure. We eventually got all organized and he took some money along with him, which was a good thing because it helped us to have more food on the road. My peanut butter was enough for me, but bread was a thing that would vanish quickly.
We hitchhiked all the way to the Serbian boundary, and I was hoping to go through without my passport but I had to find out that it was not possible. So be went hitchhiking back through the countryside of Hungary, meanwhile I was trying to make new plans of where to go because the main mission was to go to Bulgaria and have some driving lessons over there. I prayed that God would close doors and open those that where possible to realize in this trip, and that actually happened because all the people of Help Exchange turned down my requests of staying at their place and work for a few days. Same thing with the people from Couchsurfing, so I had to trust God in providing places to stay.
So after a few days of camping outside it was getting too much for my brother and he decided to go home. We still managed to visit the Balaton lake in Hungary and after that we went back through Vienna. In that time we did not had any money left anymore and I prayed for the Lord to specifically provide about thirty euros in order for me to survive until I got my salary the next week, because my brother would leave to go home by himself.
When we reached Vienna two people (Gunther and Oscar) had brought us to a youth hostel and bought a place to sleep for us, which was a great blessing to both of us. We could see the city at night and have a good talk with each other while doing so. The most interesting part to me is that they also gave me exactly thirty euros! This was a very strong encouragement for me to continue my travel and collect more of such experiences.
So while in Vienna, the next day my mission was to visit a church (it was Sunday already) and afterwards to guide my brother to get his first ride back home to the Netherlands. After the first service of that church which is called the ‘International Christian Fellowship’ I met a young lady named Lisa and she could host me for two days! That night I slept at her place and the next day I went into Vienna to prepare for my next trip on the day following. That night we had a Bible study and I was with Thomas, another man staying there, in the middle of about 10 sisters. After the study we prayed for Thomas because he had a ministry of a psychotherapist and also one of the sisters got healed after praying for her back. It was a great evening and one of them also blessed me with some money to go on.
The next day I left to Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia, which really is a beautiful country with wonderful mountains and forests. Maybe on some occasion in the future I will go back there. While in Ljubljana I could stay at a friend’s place and meet with Clemen, a man who wrote a book with my testimony in it. The book’s name is ‘Life without enthusiasm is like sex without orgasm.’ It was a nice experience to meet that writer because he loves to talk about different philosophic themes and we had some great time talking with each other.
So after spending time in that beautiful city I choose to go to Italy, with no plans or without any particular reason to visit somebody. After a very long hitchhiking trip, wherein on some occasions I was waiting for about six hours on gas stations, I managed to come into Rome. I was quite nervous because I had booked no hostel, neither knew any people who lived in the city. The day turned into night very quickly and after having a long conversation with God, reading psalms and almost being robbed by lurking immigrants from Syria, my prayers were answered when I met a man on the streets whose name was Murat and who came from Morocco. He invited me over to sleep at his place and I could spend my night in a warm house on a soft mattress!
The following day I visited a church service in the evening, it was Saturday and there again I could find somebody at whose place I could spend some nights. This brother whose name is Maxwell inspired me very much because of his testimony, and I could spend some nice time talking with him and we eventually got together with a group of his friends to evangelise that Sunday. It was a great time with a lot to think about, and of course a beautiful city, nature and weather all the time to praise God for!
After Rome I hitchhiked to a small touristic city in Italy to visit the sea, it was beautiful and I met Andy there, a Baptist who experienced much of Gods favor in getting a job. It was encouraging to hear his testimony and have a talk with him. The hitchhiking itself was great, it was super warm and almost no cars on the roads so I had to prove my patience and perseverance once again. Meanwhile I could meet dozens of wonderful people.
While passing through Switzerland on my way back home a man named Bean invited me to sleep at his place. I found it funny that he already called his wife Verona before asking me if I wanted to and they settled with the fact that I would come. It was funny that there was a storm that night so if I would sleep in my tent I probably could have a hard time, so God was merciful and showed me His great protection and care! Also, I had a chance to evangelize to Mark, the son of that man who seemed to me like he was struggling in pursuing his dreams.
On my way back I also met a couple who were Pentecostals and I had a very good prayer time with them, it was super encouraging to meet them and I hope of doing so once again someday before going to heaven! When I almost reached home, a Dutch couple dropped me off at the train station on my own request. I felt led that I needed to continue hitchhiking, but because I thought of having my student card with me, I could take the train instead and it would be for free anyway. After reaching for my wallet to check-in, I found out of having not taken my student card with me and that was a moment of great discouragement and a awful moment of dealing with my own stupidity. So with that experience as the last one I could end my little adventure by acknowledging God’s grace and wisdom higher than my ability to obey and accomplish.
When I started the trip I asked the Lord to reveal me more of what His grace is, and to learn me thoroughly just to believe and receive that grace. There are a lot of things which happened and made me look differently at myself, my life, and others as well. When hitchhiking I get to show much interest in the lives of others and this gives me a boost in having an altruistic attitude towards the people I meet and in my conversations with them. I have learned very much from this two-week adventure through Europe, and it made me stronger to face a new set of troubles in the next year of study in Almere! All for the Glory of God who hears and answers our requests and provides for all our needs in His wonderful and unique way!
“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” – Hebrews 11