1994
The 45-Year Tithing Account
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“The 45-Year Tithing Account,” Ensign, Apr. 1994, 53

The 45-Year Tithing Account

When President Richard Winder of the Czechoslovakia Prague Mission handed me a letter addressed simply to the “Mormon Mission,” I noticed that it was postmarked in Ceska Trebova, a small Czech railroad town where I had served as a young missionary in 1948. Forty-five years later, I was again serving in Czechoslovakia, this time with my wife in Bohemia.

The name Ceska Trebova brought to my mind Sister Lukasova, the town’s sole member in earlier years. In 1948 she had requested that missionaries come to her area. My companion and I tracted in Ceska Trebova for many weeks, and Sister Lukasova helped us arrange several low-key gatherings. When the police disrupted one of our meetings and subjected us to intense questioning, the mission president called us back to Prague. Sister Lukasova’s contact with the Church was cut off.

Reflecting that she had probably passed away by now, I turned my attention to the letter. It translated as follows:

“My aunt has been a member of your church since 1930. She is now eighty-seven and is not in good health. She has had no contact with your church since two missionaries were here in 1948, an Elder Glauser and an Elder Hill. May I please ask that you send someone to see her? She would appreciate it so much.”

When I finished reading, President Winder met my gaze and said, “I thought this letter would mean something to you.”

Two young elders accompanied us to Ceska Trebova. Wearing a bright pinafore, Sister Lukasova sat with quiet dignity on an old, overstuffed chair in her modest home. Her eyebrows still showed traces of raven, and her black eyes shone with mirth, kindness, and deep understanding. In her beauty and serenity, we sensed strength that belied her age.

We exchanged hugs and then discussed ideas and memories for a long time. Sister Lukasova still had photos of me from forty-five years ago. At a certain point, she asked her niece to go get something. The niece returned with a small booklet, which Sister Lukasova handed to me, saying, “Here. Take this. It belongs to the Lord.”

I saw that the book was a savings passbook. “It is my tithe,” Sister Lukasova said.

Turning the pages, I marvelled at the columns of monthly deposits going back to 1948. This savings account represented nearly five decades of faithful obedience through illness, loneliness, and uncertainty. With nothing to sustain her but her own testimony and the Spirit, Sister Lukasova had kept her baptismal covenant to pay tithing.

We held a sacrament service for her and listened to her fervent testimony, then made plans to return soon. Recently, Sister Lukasova took out her endowments at the Freiberg Germany Temple. She continues to lay up treasures that will bless her life forever.