“And Mary said, “Behold the bondservant of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:38 (NASB)
After I moved to Switzerland in 1988, I received a call from a friend who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor that was breast cancer metastasized. She and her husband were making a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, Yugoslavia to visit the site where teenagers were seeing a vision of Mother Mary daily. It was called Our Lady of Medjugorje. I decided to meet them in Dubrovnik. I flew to Zagreb and then to Dubrovnik from Zurich. It was my first trip to a true third world country and ten years before the Bosnian War began.
At the airport, I was waiting for their flight that never came from Chicago. They were with a group and the airline had forgotten to send a plane to get them. When I met with their tour director, she arranged for me to have transportation to Medjugorje by car. Hopefully, I could find them the next day when they arrived. I was on my own. Remember – no cell phones, no Internet, no available phones and only a piece of paper that gave me a room reservation in Medjugorje as there were no hotels. Medjugorje is a small town located in the Herzegovina around 15 miles southwest of Mostar.
The tour director came to get me and told me “I have a driver for you and another person who was also waiting for the plane”. I climbed into the back seat of a Yugo (remember those little cars with reputation of being the worst car in the world?) with a driver who smoked constantly, and a priest from the Philippines and off we went. I would never have done that in America.
We traveled three hours into the country and I opened the back window to breathe. We spoke in as much English as we could all speak together and rode in silence with a radio for distraction. Crazy and prayer-filled trip. I prayed to not disappear into Yugoslavia with two strange men. We arrived at my little house where the babushka with her hair tied in a kerchief showed me my room and held up fingers to tell me what time supper was.
Have you ever done something truly crazy in a foreign country? What was the outcome? What did you learn?