Tag Archives: testimony

Opening Mouths and Opening Doors: Assistant Teaching Professor Petr Ruda Interviewed on National Czech News Channel


Ruda and a well-known Czech journalist discuss city celebrations.

By Quincey Taylor

The Czech Republic might be one of the last places you would expect to be adorned in American flags. However, annually the streets are covered in these flags during a nationwide celebration. Each year in the Czech Republic, the citizens, as well as national leaders, commemorate the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.

This year, on May 8, 2019, celebrations broke out remembering the 74th anniversary. American flags hang on street corners, and a parade of recreated war vehicles roll down the main street. Participants have the chance to travel back in time, having the opportunity to climb inside a tank or old fashioned jeep.

There are only a handful of veterans from that time period that are still alive, but these days their sons and grandsons and granddaughters dress the part and participate in the parade. They represent the American, Belgian, and French military that liberated that particular area.

For years during the communist reign of the Czech Republic, citizens were not permitted to know that Americans helped liberate a portion of the country. That changed, however, after the Velvet Revolution in 1989, which was a non-violent transition of power ending the one party rule in Czechoslovakia. Now the country celebrates those brave individuals that freed them from oppression.

In the middle of these festivities, a small group of American students, members of the Czech Republic section of the clinical practicum for the public and global health nursing course, marvel at the sight. Nursing students from Brigham Young University watch the manifestation of this people’s love and respect for America. It was then that assistant teaching professor Petr Ruda, who was born in the Czech Republic, was approached by a reporter for the national evening news channel.

This woman came up to Ruda, intrigued by their group, and asked if she could have a short interview with him. He was nervous when he found out what a big platform she reported for. She asked him about his group, why they were in the Czech Republic, and his general thoughts on the celebration. It was a wonderful opportunity for Ruda to share information about the university and build trust with the Czech people.

When asked how it was being on national television, Ruda says, “The students were just so excited…I was getting phone calls from all my family. I got phone calls from all the clinical instructors in the hospital where we were at, not to mention we were invited to deliver newborn kits to this public hospital.”

This was not the first time BYU students have gained attention in the Czech Republic, however. Two years ago, Ruda was interviewed by a journalist for a local newspaper about the organization he worked for. He never found out what happened with the interview, until a woman told them she remembered them from the article.

In the end, the experience ended up opening doors to Ruda and his students. Their house keeper prepared them a special breakfast in honor of the occasion and everyone recognized the name Brigham Young University.

The best outcome occurred when the students were participating in a health fair in a village with little Austrian-style cottages. They were openly welcomed to participate in the health fair after the officer remembered them from TV. He said, “I saw you on TV and I read about you in a newspaper! I know quite a bit about you. We will be so honored to do the health fair with you. Tell us what you need, and I will arrange it for you.”

Ruda remarks, “Everything fell into place. We were super blessed.”

Planting a Seed: Sharing the Gospel at NSNA Convention

a;dsklfjasdfBYU nursing students gather to showcase our university.

By Quincey Taylor

Opportunities to share the gospel sometimes come when you least expect them. Such was the case with third semester students Lela Hill and Izzy Bernal who were attending the National Student Nurses’ Association Annual Convention on April 3-6, 2019.


Praying for an Opportunity

It all started when Hill was impressed during church to pray for more missionary opportunities. She felt an earnest desire to share her testimony of the Book of Mormon, which is sometimes a difficult experience to find in a place like Provo, Utah.

Hill was planning on going to the nursing conference in Salt Lake City and knew she would be mingling with people from all over the country, many of which would not be members of Christ’s church. She prayed for the opportunity to show Temple Square to other nursing students she might meet. Full of hope, she packed her mini travel-sized Book of Mormon in her bag and left for the conference.


Assistant professor Dr. Deborah Himes presenting at the conference.


Recognizing Impressions

At the conference, various schools and organizations set up booths to raise awareness and find applicants for their programs. BYU set up a booth with a fun “Spin to Win” wheel that provided conference participants with the chance to win nursing stickers and BYU truffles. Hill remembers being at the booth when two Pennsylvania students approached. They were excited to see that the BYU students were from Utah and asked what they could do here in their free time.


BYU’s booth captured audience excitement with a prize wheel!

When talking about the people of Utah, the church naturally came up in the conversation. One of the girls was very interested and asked, “So Mormonism is a branch of Christianity?” Bernal and Hill nodded yes, to which she continued, “I’m Catholic, what’s the difference?” Hill remarks, “Smiles spread over our faces as we glanced at each other eager for the opportunity to teach more.”


Faith to Act

Bernal and Hill began to teach the individuals about the restoration of the church. They had never heard of Joseph Smith and wanted to know the meaning of the word “Mormon.” That was when Hill remembered she had packed a copy of the Book of Mormon in her bag.

Hill says, “The girls were super interested and asked amazing questions about the Book of Mormon. It was neat, because having been a missionary before, I could tell these girls were prepared to hear the word of God. I noticed that the one girl understood her own religion very well, therefore allowing her to note the key differences of our religions.”

Hill and Bernal marked 3 Nephi 11 and invited the two students to read with open hearts and minds. Their new friends seemed enthralled to hear that Christ had not only visited the Americas in ancient times, but had also performed many miracles. They gave them the Book of Mormon, swapped phone numbers, and parted ways with plans to meet up later and tour the temple grounds.


Watching General Conference

Unfortunately, plans fell through and the four students didn’t have the time to see Temple Square together. The girls were so interested, however, that they went on a tour  with the sister missionaries on their own time. They loved the experience and wanted to know more.

Bernal texted a link to LDS.org to one of them and invited her to watch general conference. She ended up watching the sessions and even asked “How often do new prophets arise and how do you know they are prophets?”

All have become Facebook friends and plan on staying in touch in the future, perhaps even meeting with the missionaries this summer to hear the lessons.


Being Willing to Bear Testimony

Opportunities to share the gospel come when you least expect them. Hill says, “I knew that there was no coincidence that God put them in our path and inspired me to pack the Book of Mormon and keep it in my bag for easy access. I have so much hope that this girl will return to Pennsylvania and continue to learn about the church. I know that we were able to be instruments in the Lord’s hands and strengthen our own testimonies by planting a few seeds in someone else’s heart.”