“Help Me!” Ensign, June 2010, 66
On my second night of study abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia, I met with my friends downtown to play American football. After the game I decided to experiment with taking the bus home. I had never taken the bus in Russia, but my host mother had told me that bus 7 or bus 1 would take me home. So when bus 7 arrived, I climbed aboard.
As we drove along, I looked at the shops and watched the people mingling on the sidewalk. Slowly, the area began to grow unfamiliar. I checked my watch and realized that I had been riding for 30 minutes.
Suddenly the bus stopped, the lights went out, and everyone got off. Trying not to panic, I looked around for assistance. I knew that if I could locate the metro, I could arrive home safely. I spotted a young couple down the street and walked toward them.
“I am lost,” I said. “Do you know where the metro is?”
“The metro is very far from here,” the man said. “But there is a bus stop over there. Get on bus 5, and it will take you to the metro.”
I thanked him and walked quickly down the street. When a bus approached the stop, however, it was not a number 5 but a number 1. I thought back to my host mother’s words: “Get on bus 7 or bus 1, and it will take you home.”
I reluctantly got on, but once again we drove and drove. The passengers exited one by one until I was the only one left.
Finally, the bus pulled to the side of the road.
“You must get off,” the driver said. “This is the last stop.”
My whole body shook as I struggled to breathe and hold back tears. It was getting late, and if I couldn’t find the metro before it closed, I would have to spend the night on the streets of St. Petersburg.
“Help me, Father in Heaven,” I prayed quietly and began walking. Then, breaking into a run, I started waving at passing taxis. None stopped.
I soon came to another bus stop, which was crowded with people. The lights of an approaching bus—a number 7—shone down on us. I hesitated. Buses had only gotten me lost, but a strong force from behind pushed me up the steps and into the bus. I sat down heavily in a seat, glancing at my watch. It was 11:50 p.m. The metro would close in 10 minutes.
I closed my eyes, whispering again, “Help me.” When I opened my eyes, I saw the bright lights of a metro station as the bus came to a stop. I ran off the bus and into the metro to catch the last train of the night.
As I sat down, I thought of how our Father in Heaven numbers His sparrows (see Matthew 10:29–31), and I silently thanked Him. I knew on that dark night in that vast city, He had led me home.