At 6:30 AM I joined my friend yet again for my fifth attempt at buying train tickets. When we arrived at the train station, we couldn't even find the end of the line to buy tickets! We walked for fifteen minutes, and still the line of people snaked around corners and down streets for block after block. The smart ones had brought small stools to sit on, and many looked like they had waited in line all night. Policemen patrolled up and down the sidewalks to make sure no one tried to sneak ahead of someone in line. Clever street vendors had set up food carts next to the line to feed eager customers who could not leave their spot to go get breakfast. Ironically enough, I realized this was about the only line I've ever seen here. There is no concept of a queue; usually crowds just gather and then elbow and shove to force their way onto a bus, to a cash register, or into a restaurant.
Apparently, scenes like this one were taking place in cities all over the country. Millions of people wanted to travel for the New Year, yet were facing great difficulty. I heard rumors of tens of thousands of travelers stranded as trains and buses were cancelled due to severe snow storms in the southeast region.
I quickly prayed for my friend Mandy, who lives in a southeast province most heavily hit by the storm. She hadn't answered any of my phone calls or emails. Was she all right? Did she even make it home?
I never did get a train ticket, but it didn't matter. When Mandy came back, I was overjoyed to hear from her! She told me that she had been worried at first when she heard about the bad weather affecting her province. Then she remembered how Ellei and I have prayed for her and told her how much God cares about her life, down to the smallest detail. So she prayed to God and asked Him to help her get home safely. He answered her prayer, and she had a wonderful holiday with her family, with absolutely no travel problems!
I can really see Mandy's heart start to open up towards God! She still professes to believe in “nothing,” but it seems like she is more open to what we share about God. Pray that every seed we plant will find soft, fertile soil in her heart!