Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Last Train

I love history. I could spend hours in a museum, soaking in every detail. My family is never slow enough for me when we visit one! :)
The history that is my favorite though is mine. In particular, the story of how my great-grandpa came over to Canada from Russia.

He was born to a Mennonite family in Russia in 1897, and married at age 23.
In 1929, because of the revolution, many Mennonite families were traveling from their villages to Moscow to get their passports so they could leave Russia and emigrate to Canada.
In my great-grandfather's testimony, he writes that he was under conviction to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior, but had doubts and didn't feel ready to commit his life to Him.
But he was still a praying man, and he prayed that God would lead him to leave Russia if it was His will.
It was on a Saturday that his wife went to visit her parents, who she found had packed everything and were ready to leave for Moscow in two day's time.
On Sunday both they both went to visit her parents and agreed to send someone to Moscow to get the Emigration papers they would need to leave the country.

That night, my great-grandfather could not sleep. The thought kept going through his mind that if he did not leave that night, he wouldn't go at all. So, at three o'clock Monday morning, he made the decision to pack up his family and leave that day with his wife's parents.

They packed everything into one wooden box, and boarded a train on November 11, 1929 for Moscow. After arriving, they found a house to rent, and the next day, my great-grandfather went back to the train station to retrieve their luggage.
When he arrived, the station was full of Mennonite families that were being sent back home. Upon inquiry, he found out that theirs had been the last train accepted into Moscow. They were no longer allowing families to leave Russia.

They then traveled to Hamerstein, Germany where they waited six months in army barracks before they received permission to go to Canada. One day before Christmas, a measle epidemic claimed their one year old daughter Eva, my grandpa's sister.
They finally arrived home in June of 1930.

One year later, my great-grandfather found peace. He asked God to forgive him, and accepted Christ as His Savior.

I think about this story a lot.
It floors me to think that even though my great-grandfather hadn't fully committed his life to Christ, God still loved him enough to answer his prayer and give him the nudge he needed to leave his village and travel on the last train out.
I am grateful for his faith. Because, I wouldn't be here without it.

It makes me want to pray more, and listen harder to what God might be saying to me.
It also makes me trust Him more. God's got our future in His hands, and He will lead us to exactly where He wants us to be.

Anyway, just thought I'd share that will you all. :)

1 comment:

Aunt Ruth said...

What a heritage we have! Thanks for sharing this post. It brought back a memory of Grampa...I think it was for his last earthly birthday. I had the following Steve Green song translated into German as a gift.

We're pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road
and those who've gone before us line the way
cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
but as those who've gone before us
let the heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives.

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
may the fire of our devotion light their way
may the footprints that we leave lead us to believe
and the lives we live inspire them to obey
oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
and our children sift through all we've left behind.
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
become the light that leads them to the road we each must find.

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.