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Hi I'm Milena.

I grew up in Czechoslovakia. I wanted to be an archaeologist, but now I work with children with disabilities. I am a Mormon.

About Me

After leaving communist Czechoslovakia illegally when I was 20, I lived in several countries before I came to United States, got married to a Californian and had four children. I went back to school the day our youngest child started kindergarten, got my first teaching job at the age of 44 and have been teaching special education preschool since then. I love reading, opera, milk chocolate and the outdoors. I have been known to vote for Ralph Nader, pick up trash in public places and get involved in social justice causes.

Why I am a Mormon

I grew up in a society that considered religion a crutch, something for old women and the feebleminded. Several generations of my family had no religious affiliation. We owned many books but not the Bible. I borrowed one at 15 out of curiosity and found it really hard to read and rather boring.  I left my native country in 1969 and lived in the Netherlands where I encountered the missionaries one day standing on a corner of the main street in Amsterdam and felt sorry for them as the passers-by totally ignored them. I had no idea who they were and stopped to talk to them which eventually led to about 5 year long investigation of the church. After I got to the point I believed there is God, I had lots of questions about the doctrine. I was struck by the fairness of a plan that provides a chance for everybody, regardless of where and when they lived, to learn the gospel and choose if to accept it or not. I found the idea of being a literal daughter of God empowering and validating. My questions about what's the point of being alive and about our place in the world were answered. Along the way I changed my lifestyle, my life goals and even the country of residence and eventually got baptized while living in Montana. My longsuffering parents assumed it was just another phase I was going through, soon to be replaced by another interest. Then they became alarmed I was brainwashing their grandchildren by taking them to church and teaching them all that nonsense I believed. By now my family and those who know me realize that being a Mormon is an integral part of who I am. I have never regretted my decision to be baptized even though it has not always been easy.

How I live my faith

What I believe influences my everyday behavior toward my family, friends and people in general. I am far more patient now than I thought I'd ever be. I feel very strongly about being "my brother's keeper"- about looking out for the welfare of those who do not have the same opportunities as I have had. I do not particularly care what others think of me- with the exception of my Heavenly Father. I have been always involved in volunteer work and tried to teach our children to do the same. We did not bake cookies together, but we did clean up local parks and visited elderly shut-ins. I really enjoy teaching those who are investigating the church or who are new members- I want to share with others those things that made such a difference in my own life.