We started heading down more than up which meant we had reached the top of the mountain pass. We noticed a pattern as we entered dangerous sections. The driver would stroke the cross as he was about to hit an area with questionable conditions. Occasionally, he would light a cigarette as well. When we knew conditions were the most dangerous though was when the driver would put on his seat belt. He did all three as we started down the pass. This meant it was time to pray!
Because of the altitude, the temperature in the car was cold even with the 6 warm bodies and as a courtesy, the driver would blast the heat for 10 seconds and then turn it off.
The Lord was definitely testing our trust in him. We had felt the Lord lead us to Bosnia. We miraculously had housing open up on our way. God was in this. I prayed that this fear that I was experiencing would be filled with the peace of the Holy Spirit.
About 3/4 of the way through the trip, we approached the border between Montenegro and Bosnia. This would be another test, because we knew our driver wasn’t suppose to take us across the border as a taxi. It was suspicious enough that we were 5 Americans with an Albanian and it was about 11pm at night.
We approached the border and handed in our passports. The guard looked around the car and immediately started having a heated conversation with our driver. The guard must have requested taxi license papers because our driver forfeited a envelope to the guard. All of us in the car had one thought, “The last thing we want to do is drive back through that mountain pass.”
There was more heated argument, a cigarette break and then more discussion. All of us in the car were on edge and praying for the situation to work out. Our driver looked very nervous and was losing hope. Suddenly, for really no reason, the guard hands back everything stamped and approved and we go on through. Was this the nature of border crossings in Eastern Europe? If so, I was not at all used to it. Just as I was relaxing we pulled up to the bosnia entry point.
All of us in the car had one thought, “The last thing we want to do is drive back through that mountain pass.”
“Oh, great another crossing, here we go again!” I thought as we pulled up. To my surprise, it was a breeze to cross in to Bosnia and we were on our way border-free to Sarajevo.
As we pulled into the city, we were excited, but realized we needed to meet up with a man we didn’t know at 2 am in this foreign city in Eastern Europe. We gave our driver a number and he talked to a man for five minutes and hung up. We all looked at him like he would say something in English forgetting that he didn’t know any at all, but then he actually did say something we understood! One word “motorcycle”.
It was a little cryptic but at least we had a plan. Our contact was Frank—a missionary in Bosnia for 10 years. As we pulled into a parking lot Frank was on a black motorcycle. We all were so excited, that we just all started yelling his name, “FRANK FRANK FRANK!” It was a moment of relief to finally arrive after all the travel. We praised God for safely in travel and coming through with this great contact that would pick us up in the middle of the night!
Photo graciously provided by Calvin Hanson. The names in this true story were changed for privacy.