Cover story: New foliage amid medieval grandeur

Krejcirs typify vitality of Czech members

PRAGUE, Czech Republic — Tomas and Gabriela Krejcir, like new foliage in the spring, are examples of the growing Church in the Czech Republic.

They are talented, educated parents of a young family who typify a new generation finding spiritual answers in the Church in this country of medieval grandeur.

Brother Krejcir is a national television commentator who hosts morning and evening programs dealing with the issues and interests of the day. He serves in the mission presidency with President C. Richard Chidester of the Czech Republic Prague Mission.

Sister Krejcir is a homemaker and mother of two children, Dora, 5, and Adam, 2, and serves as branch Primary president.

They were baptized in April 1991, less than year after missionaries were re-admitted into the country after the fall of communism.

Gabriela was the first to consider the Church. She was 9 years old when her mother died and, since then, she has sought answers to a lingering feeling that they would be together again.

She was 18 years old when her sister introduced her to the missionaries. Her sister was attending the university and after the discussions, invited Gabriela to attend her baptism. Tomas and Gabriela were dating at the time, but Tomas was not interested in religion, though his grandfather had given him a spiritual base by teaching him about Christ and how to pray.

Gabriela attended her sister's baptism and, in time, met the missionaries and President Richard W. Winder, the first mission president to serve in what was then Czechoslovakia after communism's fall. Tomas, during this time, was assessing his own spiritual situation. He noticed when he and Gabriela were around missionaries or members that a dark influence disappeared. They were happy around members.

"We became friends with the missionaries and met them in the park where we would walk and talk," Sister Krejcir said. "We were invited to the mission home where we met President Winder and ate cookies before he left to attend a baptism."

Tomas and Gabriela were eager to be baptized and realized that living the lifestyle of the world would keep them from the temple. They could have been married civilly, they thought, but they wanted their new lives to be right before the Lord, so they split up. A year after their baptism, they were married in the temple, the first Czech couple to be married in the Freiberg Germany Temple.

Since then, said Brother Krejcir, "I've felt the hand of Lord in my career." After being baptized, he suddenly found himself out of his radio job where he had worked seven years. "With a small baby, this was a challenging time," he said. He found solace in the promises of the scriptures.

He soon received offers from two radio stations, but, to his surprise, he also received an invitation to interview with a television station. His experience was with radio, but he decided to interview with the television station at which he was hired after the second interview.

He was soon given two shows to host, which is unusual in his market.

"God supports me," he said. "I don't think I'm that good."

Yet, his smile and genuine goodness attract audiences.

"You are like sunshine," his television producer told him. "Keep it up."

"It's not from me," he said. "I don't think people see me as a great commentator. But they like what they feel."

Now, his favorite thing is being together as a family, he said.

"I like that Tomas plays with the kids," said Sister Krejcir. "I'm so happy that he can play with them for hours."

His high profile smile has earned recognition and credibility for the Church. In one instance, a young lady was investigating the Church. Her parents were unfamiliar with the Church and didn't approve of her attending meetings. She told them that Tomas was a member of the Church.

Even though they didn't know him personally, they trusted his image and allowed their daughter to attend.

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