This past week a lady asked me if she could come to my home and learn more about the trips I take to China. From her accent, I knew that she was not born in the USA. When she came, I asked her to tell me her story.

She was born in the forties in a country that was in the communist block. After being educated at the university she married. In 1968 Russia invaded Czechoslovakia. Before the invasion, she and her husband had purchased tickets to go to Vienna. After the invasion people were still allowed to take the trips that they already had tickets for, but only if the government thought that they would return. Before they left on the trip, her husband informed her that he was not going to come back to Czechoslovakia. He said that she could go with him if she wanted. “I do not see a future for us in this country.”

She decided to go with her husband. Only their parents knew that they were going to defect. They left everything but what they had on their backs, and in a small suitcase. Once in Vienna, they contacted an organization sponsored by America to help people coming out of Czechoslovakia to relocate. They decided that they wanted to go to the United States but it took them four months to get a visa.

With much excitement and fear they soon found themselves on a plane on their way to New York. Their next challenge was to find a job and learn English. With the help of friends and the support of the American relocation program, they soon had a job and were on their way to learning English.

For the next eight years they worked, camped across America, and had two children. When they visited Utah they fell in love with Salt Lake City. After she had her second baby and she was on maternity leave they decided that she should fly to Utah and see if she could find a job. To her amazement, in only six days she found work with a big benefit: they would pay for her to move. They soon relocated to Salt Lake enjoying skiing, great family life, and beautiful mountains.

She then told me that she still has many friends in Czechoslovakia. Now that she is retired she often goes back for two to three months at a time.

I asked her what her friends thought of her now. She said, “They think that I am very rich because I live in the United States.”

Then she shared with me some words that touched my heart very deeply. She said that whenever she comes back from a trip and lands in New York or Chicago she wants to kneel down and kiss the ground and say, “God Bless America. People here just do not realize what a blessing it is to live in this country.”