Lukás Kroutil of Prague, Czech Republic


Lukás Kroutil of Prague, Czech Republic

Early Saints who crossed the plains to the Salt Lake Valley aren’t the only pioneers in the Church. All members who help strengthen the Church and prepare the way for others are pioneers.

As one of only two Czech children in the Prague First Branch, Lukás Kroutil, age 7, is a pioneer. By his obedience and example, he is preparing the way for other Czech children who will eventually join the Church.

Lukás’s mother’s name is Helena Kroutilová (ová added to a name shows that it is a woman’s married name). She has been a member of the Church for a year, and Lukás is eagerly awaiting his own baptism. He says: “Being baptized means that you are a member of the Church. You make a covenant that you will keep Heavenly Father’s commandments. If you’re a kid, listening to your parents is a very important commandment.”

Lukás rides a tram with his mother to church. Meetings are held in a large house that also contains the Czech Prague Mission offices and the mission president’s home. Some of the rooms have been converted into a lovely new chapel, where the two Prague branches hold their sacrament meetings.

Primary is in English because most of the other children in Lukás’s Primary are from the United States and speak English. Missionaries translate opening exercises and Sharing Time for Lukás and Anita, the other Czech child in the branch. Lukás loves to sing. His favorite hymns are “Come, Ye Children of the Lord,” “Love One Another,” and “I Am a Child of God.” The Primary children learn songs in both English and Czech. Every fast Sunday they sing the prelude music for sacrament meeting. Most of the songs are in English, but they always sing at least one song in Czech. Whenever a song is translated into Czech and published in the Liahona, the quarterly Church magazine in Czech, all the children learn it.

When the Primary separates into classes, the Czech children have their own class taught by Sister Eva Cadová and the missionaries. Lukás loves to learn in Primary. During class he and his teachers read Book of Mormon and other scripture stories and articles from the Little Star section of the Liahona.

Sacrament meetings are in Czech. English-speaking members wear headphones, and a missionary assigned to the branch translates for them. But when it is time to sing, the headphones come off and everyone sings praises to their Heavenly Father in Czech. One of Lukás’s jobs in the branch is to hand out the hymnbooks before sacrament meeting, then put them away after the meeting. “I like to help people at church. I pray for those who are sick, and I help my mom with her calling.”

Lukás walks to school. He enjoys studying math and science, exercising and playing sports, and learning poems by heart. He likes to write but dislikes dictation (his teacher reads a sentence, and the students write it down). It isn’t that he can’t remember all the letters in the words. He can. What makes Czech words extra difficult to spell are the diacritical marks over the letters (there are two in Lukás’s name), and he has a hard time remembering where they all go.

None of the members of his branch live near him, so he is also a pioneer at his school. He tries hard to be a good example for his friends by helping them to choose the right. “Kids like to tattle and tell stories about each other. Sometimes my friends use bad language or want to tell things that aren’t true. I tell them not to do these things.”

Studying hard is important to him because he wants to become an architect and build houses when he grows up. At home after schoolwork is finished, he watches television, rides his bike, or plays hide-and-seek or computer games with his friends. Playing softball with the missionaries on their preparation day is his favorite sport. He is the goalie on his soccer team, and he plays tennis well.

Lukás cares for a sleepy little hamster named Kikina. He feeds his pet seeds, carrots, potatoes, apples, oranges, and nuts and keeps the hamster house clean so the small animal will stay healthy. When Kikina is awake, Lukás talks to him. He used to put Kikina in a toy car and pull him around the room. That was until Kikina jumped out of the car window one day. Lukás has decided the hamster doesn’t like riding in the car.

When his grandmother goes grocery shopping, Lukás carries the bags home. He helps clean the house, dry the dishes, and take out the garbage. One day he cleaned the entire house as a surprise for his mother. His favorite things to do with his mom are read the Book of Mormon and have family home evening. Treats like French fries or Tatranky (a wafer cookie covered with chocolate) make family home evening even more fun.

He loves being around the full-time missionaries. One day he was playing softball with them, and an elder accidentally hit him in the head with a big metal baseball bat. The elders wanted to take Lukás to the hospital, but he refused and said he just wanted to go home. He felt certain that if he prayed, Heavenly Father would make him better. As soon as he prayed for help, his head stopped hurting. He knew Heavenly Father had answered his prayer.

He is looking forward to becoming a full-time missionary. He knows that he may have to learn another language. However, he will happily go wherever the Lord sends him. He looks forward to telling people about Jesus Christ and the Church and teaching them how to pray.

Until then, he will continue to be a pioneer in his own country and in his own branch by being a faithful member, setting a good example, and following the prophet. And if any of his friends like to read and they believe in God, he will give them a Book of Mormon and tell them to read it. Then he will tell them his favorite scripture story—the story of Joseph Smith and the First Vision.

[photos] Photography by Julie Wardell

[photos] 1. Lukás. 2. Prazský hrad (Prague Castle). 3. Lukás at church. 4. With his mother. 5. With Elder Brian Silver translating a Sharing Time. 6. Old Town Hall.

[photos] 1 and 2. Trams provide transportation to and from church. 3. Playing a word game with Elder Wilson at the mission home.