“Hello, you look like a traveler.”
“What makes you say that?” Crystal had been traveling long enough to hope she didn’t look like a tourist.
He gestured towards the pouch which she usually tucked beneath her jumper. “The passport hanging around your neck.”
“Oh, I usually hide that better! Yes, I am, but I’m going home in three days.”
“Been away long?”
“Nearly a year”
Crystal took out her passport and showed him her stamps. “I’m quite proud of this actually” She offered him an embarrassed smile.
“You like to travel?”
“Love it. But I’m looking forward to going home.”
“Yeah. Nothing like going home.” The stranger had been watching people get on and off the bus while talking to her. But now he looked her straight in the eyes, and his stare was fascinating. “Going home will be the best experience ever. But where are you going now?”
“I’m off to see Aunt Joan. A lovely lady, but a bit of a Jesus freak.”
“Ask Aunt Joan sometime what she thinks about going home.”
”Her home’s here in London – are you from somewhere else?”
“You could say that. But I’m always ready to go home. You might say I have an eternal passport.”
“An eternal passport?” She was beginning to wonder if this guy was OK. He looked trustworthy, but looks could be deceiving.
“Your passport gives you the right to travel yeah? You are a citizen of America and you have permission to travel here and all over Europe. With a valid passport and visa, you will never be refused entry to a country right?”
“Well, I believe that after this life, I am going to Heaven. My eternal home. I’ve not been there yet, but I have a valid passport. Jesus died for me, and it says in 2 Corinthians that God has set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit. I see that deposit as my eternal passport.”
Crystal couldn’t look away from his eyes. He clearly believed what he was saying. Even though she hardly knew him, she was drawn to him and through that, what he was saying.
Suddenly he broke eye contact and his face changed. Crystal was afraid as he leaned in close, his face drawn with seriousness. “When I get off the bus, go to the driver and tell him to call the police and evacuate the bus. I am an undercover policeman and that guy just left a bag on the bus.” He flashed his id quickly as he spoke, confirming his claims, and then he was gone.
Stunned and now terrified, Crystal did as he said, running to the driver, relaying the message and being the first to get off the bus, her eyes seeking the stranger who had spoken to her.
There was a commotion to the left, and she was drawn to look, afraid of what she might see as people filed off the bus behind her. The stranger was struggling with someone, and then he fell to the ground. Unable to stop herself, Crystal ran to him. He was bleeding. It looked like he’d been stabbed in the chest. Whoever did it had run away. He looked at her intensely. “I’m Joshua” he rasped. “Get your eternal passport soon, I’ll see you there.” His eyes closed, and he stopped breathing. Crystal went into shock as someone came to help her. The next few hours were surreal to her as she and the other passengers were detained, questioned and counseled. The media were all around trying to get interviews with anyone involved. All she could think about were his last words. He was ready for death. He gave his life trying to save her and the others on the bus. He didn’t look scared when she got to him. Just ready. Resigned. Peaceful. It was the first time she had seen anyone die, and it was not what she had expected. What if he was right? What if Jesus was real? As she finally made it back to her hotel, she knew she had to find out more. If Heaven was real, then she needed an eternal passport too. That’s one place you don’t want to be turned away at the border. She picked up her phone.
“Aunt Jean? It’s Crystal. Can you come over? We need to talk.”
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