ON the last day of January, 1868, I left the Saints whom I was laboring among as a missionary and took a trip to the northern part of South Sjalland, to a city called Ringsted. On entering the city I found myself without a penny in my pocket, and I had only had a scanty meal for breakfast.
I had been told that a young man-a shoemaker by trade-was living close to the street that leads out to the south of the city. I found him and told him what I had come for. It was getting towards evening, and I had no place to stop for the night. I was also hungry, but as I was getting used to having only one or perhaps two meals a day, that did not trouble me so much. The young man, whose name was Petersen, I found to be in very poor circumstances. He gave me the last money he had, which consisted of about eight cents.
He could not give me lodging only by permission from the plan for whom he was working. He asked if I could remain with him over night, but he objected to having a Mormon on his premises; so Brother Petersen and I left his shop and went up and down the street for a length of time.
As I was getting hungry, I went to a bakery and bought four cents' worth of stale bread-as that was the cheapest I could get-leaving four cents in my pocket. From there we both went outside the city, hunting for a straw stack, where I might rest for the night. We were lucky in finding one, but it was a very difficult job to make a hole in it, as we found it to be an old rye stack.
I went back with Brother Petersen to his home, as it was now getting late. As I left him it began to rain, and I almost dreaded to go and sleep on the straw bed. But where could I go? I had no money, not even as much as the law of that land requires a traveler to have in his possession that he might escape being arrested, so I went to the straw stack. I soon fell asleep, as I was tired; but at the hour of half-past one in the morning I woke up shivering with cold, and wet on one side of my body. I arose and found the wind was blowing with great force and the rain pouring down very fast. I feared to remain at the stack, as it was liable to be blown over, so I started back to the city to seek shelter.
At the first house I came to, I found a large door open. I went in, and stood in a corner where the rain could not reach me. I had not been there more than ten minutes when a heavy wind blowed the door shut, making such a noise, that the dog was disturbed, and it started for me. I left in a hurry, closing the door between me and the dog.
In passing through one long street I came to the market square. Here I found some sheds that were used by the butchers. Under these I was protected from the rain, but the wind was blowing through them, making it miserable as I was cold and wet.
On leaving these sheds I was stopped by a policeman. This was the fourth time I had been stopped by the police during the night. I told him that I had started very late from home, and had been overtaken by the storm, and it being so late I could get no lodging place.
He said, “Come with me and I will get you a place.”
My heart was almost sinking in me when he uttered these words, for I had no means for lodgings, and if the policeman knew this he might arrest me as a vagrant.
After a few minutes walk we came to a large inn. Light was seen inside but the door was locked; so he took his walking cane and began to hammer on the door. While the police was doing this I secretly prayed to the Lord that the people would sleep so they could not hear him knocking. Well, they did sleep, for the man swore with an oath that he never had known such a sleepy set.
At last the police got tired, and as it was getting close to the hour of five o'clock, when he had to be on duty, he could not wait any longer, which was to my good fortune. Before he left me he kindly gave me the names of three of his friends, living close to the city, with permission to use his name. I thanked him for his kindness and we parted. I went in search of those three places. When I came to the first house, I told the people who came to the window about the weather and how I was sent to them. I was told that they kept no public house, and did not care to take any strangers in. At the other two places I was treated about the same. So I returned to the policeman who had sent me to his friends. By this time I was entirely overcome by the storm, and if the police should arrest me I was perfectly willing to go into their hands.
When the policeman saw me he exclaimed, "What' you here?' Could you not find the houses of my friends?"
I told him I had found them, but they all refused to entertain me. Not fearing arrest now. I told the policeman straight out who I was, and my mission here to this city. He seemed to be very friendly in his feelings, and as we went up and down the street I bore my testimony to him of the everlasting Gospel. He was well pleased with what I had to tell him.
At the hour of six in the morning he had to go to the city jail to look after the prisoners. If it was not for this he said he would have invited me to his home. Before parting I gave him a small tract called "Invitation to the Kingdom of God." for which he thanked me.
The storm had now stopped its wrath for awhile. A coffee house was opened and so I went to the house and spent my last four cents. I afterwards left the city, as I was not in a fit condition to present myself before the people. My clothing were nearly ruined by the rain, and my face was swollen very badly. I felt impressed to go to a weaver by the name of Frandsen, who was very friendly to our people. Here a change of clothing was provided for me. I was given a good breakfast, and when I had satisfied my appetite I went to bed and slept a few hours. I afterwards dined with the family. At the table we had a good talk about the Gospel, and they seemed to believe in our doctrines. I thought they would soon come into the Church, but they did not. I visited them again fourteen years later, and found that they were farther off than before. They were good to me, but that was all.
After thanking them for their kindness. I bade them good-by, asking the blessings of heaven to rest upon them. One hour later I was again presenting the Gospel to my fellowman, feeling well in body and in spirit.
Thus ended one of the hardest times that I have had to pass through as a missionary. But through that night's trial I got a testimony that money could not buy.
HF. F. Thorup Juvenile Instructor
I Aug 1895 pp 483-484