I will never forget this day. It was my first - ever trip to England. I arrived in London at 9am but my main destination was Humberside to visit my 13-year old nephew Kenneth. I have NOT SEEN him for four (4) years, his last visit was when he was 9 years old. I had hoped for a happy reunion with him now that he is a teen-ager. Never did it occur to me that this trip from London to Humberside, England will test and strengthen my FAITH!
|"...FAITH is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; |
therefore if ye have faith ye HOPE for things
which are NOT SEEN, which are true." (Alma 32:21, Book of Mormon).
Whenever I travel solo to unfamiliar places, I carry with me the concept of HOPE and my FAITH. But this solo trip in England was a bit daunting. I was traveling to unknown destination, at night, without a cellphone. My only solace are my pounds (not the "weight" but UK currency), credit card & debit card (which my bf made sure I have), contact details of my host Steve & Juris, my netbook and a sense of adventure! Also I have a Couch Surfing host/friend Cath to accompany me to Kingscross Tube station in London to buy train ticket bound for "Barnetby".
Kingscross.3:00pm. The lowest ticket for Barnetby was a super off-peak Return Ticket costing 82.50 pounds (Php 5,609.00), which for a 3 1/2 -hour train ride was not cheap in my vocab. The off-peak ticks are available only on weekends (so I was lucky!) since a regular economy ticket is more than 200 pounds (Php 10,000 plus). With the sure ticks, Cath and I did some sightseeing around London.
Kingscross. 6:45pm. Back alone (since I gave Cath away to her date! lol). I checked Barnetby on the screen, there was none. The guy at ticket counter said I should get on the Leeds-bound train departing at 7:05pm, then transfer to another train in Doncaster. That was no sweat, I thought.
Kingscross. 7:05pm.The train was long and has several sections, I counted maybe five sections to be "first class" seats and two more sections with reserved seating. I had to walk all the way down to get to the "economy" sections. Inside the train, I was filled with excitement. Wow, it has a wifi and a place to put my laptop! I turned the laptop on and sent my host a message - "arriving around 10:30pm".
Doncaster. 8:20pm. I inquired which platform to take the train to Barnetby. The guy said, there wasn't any train service to my destination, but there is a bus. He pointed the direction fo the "bus" stop. I saw a Bus Interchange and checked the screen for departures. No Barnetby. I then went from platforms A-1 to A-24 and then B-1 to B12 looking for the bus, but to no avail. So I went back to the train platform and asked the same staff. I was told that I should look for Clayton and not Barnetby. I headed back, still hopeful I could find my ride.
Bus Interchange.9:20pm. I looked for Clayton at the screen, there was none. The bus schedule posted on the wall, however, indicated that Clayton bus departs from platform C-7 which is in another building. I hurriedly went there and found it a bit creepy since no one was there. When I got at C-7, I noticed that the monitor didn't show any bus departure. But there was brochure containing time schedule of Bus No. 203 to Clayton. To my chagrin, it says "No service on Sunday"! I was dumbfounded. My HOPE started to be displaced by despair.
I went back to the A and B sections and searched for Clayton was again. As tears started to drop, my begging for help became more fervent. I knew I needed to have FAITH that Heavenly Father was mindful of my situation and will send help.I felt a sense of peace, a feeling of assurance that things would work out. Then an idea came - to go back to the train waiting room and take the train back to London.
Doncaster Train Platform. 10:20pm. There were 5 people in the waiting room, but except for one, they seem to have no phone that I could borrow to inform family I weren't coming. About 10 minutes later, I saw two policemen. I immediately went to them for help, but found they were arresting someone so it wasn't a good timing. A guy, however, noticed me and offered to help.I told him of my predicament. He looked at the train monitor screen and he said that there was a bus leaving in 2 minutes from the parking lot outside of the train station (and not at the Bus Interchange). Apparently, the bus was a special service since the Barnetby tracks was being repaired.
I ran as fast as I could and made it to the Barnetby bus. There were two buses and I chose the one leaving firs and arriving in Barnetby at 12:05am. There were ten (10) passengers, but eight (8) got off at the first stop and only me and another female were left. I prayed that I get off first since it would scare me if I were last. But, yes, I remembered that to
Midnight. The driver announced it was Barnetby. It was very dark, in the middle of nowhere and no people in sight. Worse, it was freezing cold! I felt so alone with nowhere and no one to turn to for help. I started to cry and managed to flag the two cars for help. I remembered that Heavenly Father is just a prayer away.I talked to Him and plead to touch the heart of the driver of the next vehicle that would passed by. I saw a beacon of light in a dark moment. I felt peace.
Barnetby. 12:20pm. A bus came, the same Barnetby bus that was parked in Doncaster. Without hesitation I signaled for help. The bus didn't stop but I knew deep inside he was the "angel" sent by a loving Heavenly Father to help me. Minutes later the bus turned back and I found myself inside the bus with the driver calling the phone number I gave him. I thanked the 3 passengers in the bus for letting the driver stopped for me. Finally, I was able to talk to my family and Steve and Juris arrived at the bus stop!
Now as I reflect on this experience, I felt gratitude that God has used my travel to teach me how FAITH works. As I get into more and more difficulties, I was forced to turn to God for help and learned in practical way how I can reach my journey. And so it is in our spiritual journeys. We need the HOPE and FAITH to reach our eternal destination.
This is an entry for the March PTB Blog Carnival with the theme "Leap of Faith: When Travelling Changed My Life" being hosted by Reiza Dejito of Wander-If-You-Must! For previous Blog Carnival topics please visit Estan Cabigas' Langyaw.