Fifty Years of Faith

“Fifty Years of Faith,” New Era, Jan. 1997, 38

Fifty Years of Faith

The police took most of her books, but not her testimony.

It was a cloudy day at the end of the summer. My friend Iveta and I were going to the older part of our city. We had been doing missionary work for quite a long time, finding members of the Church who had been converted before World War II. During the Communist rule in our small country of Czechoslovakia (now the Czech and Slovak republics), many of the Church members had died. But we had a list of names and went in search of the few remaining members of the Church.

We met a woman who told us her parents had been LDS before they passed away. We decided to visit her and ask what she knew about the Church—we thought she might be interested in the gospel, or would perhaps be able to refer us to others who had been related to Church members. When we got to her home we discovered that her grandmother was still living. She was so happy to see us—she was a Church member! She told us lots of stories about the Church before the war. Then she showed us an old picture of the Salt Lake Temple.

“I’m 93 years old,” she said. “For almost 50 years, I have been waiting for the missionaries to come back to our country again. I knew they would come before I died. Once, I thought they were at my door, but I quickly realized they were not from our Church. I didn’t feel the same spirit from them that I had felt with our missionaries 50 years ago. I sent them away.”

Her words gave me reason to think about my own life. Would I be able to distinguish the Spirit so easily after 50 years without contact with the Lord’s church? My heart was full of gratitude to Heavenly Father for leading us to this wonderful woman.

On our most recent visit, I brought her some Church magazines and we talked for a while.

“After the Church wasn’t allowed to meet any more, the police came to our house very often and took all the gospel teaching materials we had,” she said. “But I was able to preserve one book. I have been reading it all these years, and it has helped me in my life. It tells how the world should be.”

Then she took a book from her table and showed it to me. It was the Articles of Faith by James E. Talmage. I was amazed. I had never read the book, but I had a strong testimony of the good it had done in this woman’s life.

Doing missionary work in my spare time that summer taught me many great lessons. I now understand that the Lord will never forsake those who believe in him.

Photography by Welden Andersen