Bonine’s travels took him all across Europe, traveling via train by night, and visiting Calvary alumni serving as missionaries by day.
“I told the people I met along the way about my visits with Calvary grads, which then led to several spiritual conversations!”
At the turn of the century, Dr. Tom Bonine got the idea to backpack through Europe so he could “visit the Calvary graduates doing mission work in Europe.” Bonine wanted to assure them that the Calvary students were praying for them. When he got the idea for the trip, he “didn’t hesitate whatsoever.” In July of 2000, he bought a 30-day Eurail Pass and began his travels.
The Eurail Pass was a blessing of convenience during his travels, allowing him to get on and off the trains throughout countries. “I didn’t need to purchase tickets as I traveled throughout the Eurail Pass countries.” On top of simplifying transportation, the train also provided a place to sleep at night. “I could travel at night, sleep on the train, and then the missionaries didn’t feel like they needed to find housing for me.” However, his travels were not without their own set of challenges. Once, when Bonine couldn’t sleep on a train and all the hotels were booked up, he ended up sleeping on a park bench in Split, Croatia. Another difficulty was knowing which train he needed to take and when it would leave the station. Once, Bonine accidentally boarded a train through a Non-Eurail Pass country, and was scolded by the conductor for trying to show his Eurail Pass. “I gave him my envelope of German Marks and kept apologizing—in English, which was a mistake—but he let me stay on the train,” he recounted, “minus my envelope of German Marks.”
On a typical day during Bonine’s trip, he would meet the missionary in the morning at the train station and then he would “spend the day with the missionary visiting their ministry, then return to the train station and ride the train to my next missionary appointment.”
Bonine says that it was a joy to witness Calvary grads, even his own former students, working on the mission field. He says that he found it a “huge blessing” to be able to see the good accomplished by these alumni. He was encouraged to hear the missionaries talk about “how well Calvary had prepared them for the work they were doing,” serving Christ in a myriad of ministries and helping the Europeans grow spiritually. Another fond memory Bonine recalls from his trip is meeting Europeans while on the train, “I told the people I met along the way about my visits with Calvary grads, which then led to several spiritual conversations!”
Overall, Bonine was quite satisfied by the trip. During his time there, Bonine was able to see that “Calvary’s programs of study were successfully preparing students for effective ministries,” and found that “the missionaries appreciated having someone check up on them, and to pray for them.” He is thankful that he spent his time in Europe with the Calvary graduates rather than the stereotypical tourist travels. “As I traveled across Europe by train and saw many of the tourist sites, I thought, ‘If I had spent this money to just see tourist sites, I would be very disappointed.’ The time spent with missionaries was the highlight of the trip, and it was well worth the expense.”
Bonine currently serves as adjunct faculty, teaching courses such as General Psychology and Human Growth and Development.