Fare Enough

By Kendall Crookston

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I wanted to pay a fast offering and attend sacrament meeting, but I couldn’t afford both.

I remember the day my tenth-grade English teacher announced she had some exchange-student applications. Though I had never considered applying before, it felt right. I was thrilled to learn I would spend a year in Denmark. My ancestors had emigrated to Zion from Denmark well over a century ago.

My new home was in Nakskov, on the island of Lolland. Unfortunately, the nearest ward was several hours away.

After two months in Denmark, however, I learned about a small group of Saints who met closer to my home. To get there, I would have to ride a private railway. The train fare was around 40 crowns, nearly all my spending allowance for the week. It was fast Sunday, and I scraped together all the money I had—about 43 Danish crowns. I figured it would be sufficient if I got the round-trip discount. There would not be any money left over for a fast offering, but I felt the Lord would understand why.

As the train moved away from the station, the conductor came by and said, “Two crowns.” My fledgling Danish had to be mistaken—I knew the trip cost more than two crowns. After offering him most of what I had, he took a bill and gave me change. The fare was only two crowns! I knew the Lord was watching out for me.

In a little attic apartment above a store was a tiny room containing a group of elderly women. One of them smiled, motioned me inside, and knocked on an adjoining door. I was greeted into priesthood meeting. There were about five older brethren and two young missionaries.

I couldn’t understand much of what went on, but some hymns were familiar. There were tears as testimonies were shared.

When I told the missionaries my train fare was only two crowns, they couldn’t believe it. I soon discovered the return trip was also just two crowns. I realized I could pay my fast offering after all. Later, I learned that in celebration of the centennial of the train system the fare had been reduced to two crowns for just that one day.

That was the beginning of my church experiences in Denmark. I was ordained a priest there, and the first time I ever blessed the sacrament was in Danish. As my language improved, I even spoke in church. Eventually, I was called on a mission to Denmark. I attended church with those members again, four years after my first visit. I watched as the man who ordained me a priest was sustained as president of the newly organized branch.

In Denmark I received spiritual depth, both as an exchange student and as a missionary. It began with my miraculous fast offering and a train ride to church one bright Sunday morning.

Illustrated by Sam Lawlor