By Mary Vee
Gladys Aylward's thoughts...
Well, this wasn't a problem I expected to deal with at all.
The conductor didn't escort me off the train, as a lady should be treated. Oh, no no no. He nearly pushed me down the stairs while jabbering something in Russian with a blasting voice. I think his message could have been translated, "What kind of a crazy person are you? Women can't ride on a train with Russian soldiers." Well, perhaps his message might have been a teensey-bit meaner.
A ghost town would have had more people.
A cow mooed from somewhere off to my right. A few chickens clucked from the barn on the other side of the tracks. I tried to open the station door, but it was locked.
My only choice: drag my belongings back to the last train station to board another train, this time without Russian soldiers. I might have walked the 30 miles in 8 hours, but carrying my kettle, bedroll, cans of food, and the few pounds I had left, made it difficult. I heard sounds of war not far away. God will protect me. My kettle and the few cans of food clanked loud enough to wake a dead animal. At least it seemed like it. I kept a sharp eye for soldiers.
I didn't want to sleep on the side of the road. Perhaps a thief or soldier might come to harm me., Instead I continued trudging through the snow and cold back toward the last train station. After walking quite a ways, the freezing wind wouldn't let me take another step. I used my things to protect me until the wind calmed then continued walking.
Perhaps I should have studied a few Russian phrases before leaving England. It seemed wise at the time to spend every free moment studying Chinese and the culture. But how could I have known I'd be thrown off a train in the middle of Russia? I remained confident God would take care of me.
To pass the time and keep my mind off the cold, I hummed a few church tunes, and said few Bible verses to the beat of my steps.
I arrived at the train station in the middle of the night and was thankful to find a bench for sleeping. The next morning I boarded another Trans Siberian train to China.
photo courtesy by verbaska Morguefile.com
He must not understand the English words, I thought. "No, I'm a missionary."
He pulled my passport further away from me. "No you will be machinist in Russia."
I realized he planned to keep my passport. If he did, I might never get it back. The inspector stood alone at the door. I snatched my passport from his hand, push past him, and ran as fast as I could out of the hotel.
There I stood, a block away wondering what to do. The train station would be guarded. China stood only a short distance away, but the guards wouldn't let me walk across the border. Would I be trapped in Russia?
I'll tell you more next week.