As a young girl growing up in communist Czechoslovakia, I was always trying to discover the purpose of my life. As I looked at my parents and at other adults around me, I wondered: Is this the life I will have to live after finishing school? Will I always be tired, unhappy, without any freedom? Life seemed meaningless.

I didn’t believe in God, because nobody had ever taught me about him. In fact, the communists taught us in school that there is no God, no life after death, and no spirit. So why do I live? I wondered. Without a purpose in life, I did not have any desire to be better. I was very unhappy.

One day in 1989, while I was a student at a university, one of my schoolmates took me to a meeting where a small group of young people were listening to the words of an older man. He spoke with great authority, and I was impressed. I learned that he was Otakar Vojkuvka from Brno, Czechoslovakia, and that he was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As he spoke about God and about the purpose of our lives, I knew he was telling the truth. His words were medicine for my spirit! I was so happy.

Suddenly I knew that I was not a worthless piece of matter living just by chance—but that I was actually a child of God! I received the Book of Mormon, read it, and had no doubts about its truthfulness. And as I discovered these truths, I had the feeling that I had known these things before. It seemed to me that I was awakening, taking off dark glasses, and seeing the truth clearly.

At that time, missionaries were not allowed in Czechoslovakia. But that fall, Czechs gained freedom through the “velvet revolution,” and the Church received official recognition in the country in March 1990. I was baptized in May of that year.

My life totally changed. It became a joy to study, because now there was purpose in life. I made many friends, tried to be a better person and to do what is right, and started to realize what it means to be happy. I finally knew why I was alive.

With this new-found happiness and purpose, I had great desires to serve a mission. In May 1992, two years after my baptism, I received a call to serve a mission in my native Czechoslovakia. Soon I found myself standing with my suitcases at the bus station in my first city, which was not too far from my home. I was really happy on my mission. I learned patience and tolerance—and had the wonderful privilege of sharing with others what I had learned about the purpose and meaning of life.

Now I have completed my full-time mission and live in Prague, Czech Republic. Occasionally I see people I taught as a missionary, some of whom were baptized. We are still friends. I am happy now because I know what love, charity, and service are. I want to live in such a way that I can fulfill the meaning of my life on this earth. And that is possible only through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Photograph by Marvin K. Gardner

Show References

  • Michaela Bladová was the first young woman from the Czech Republic to serve as a full-time missionary.