Kyiv Ukraine Temple: Through Missionary Eyes

  • 2 September 2010

Elder Chevrier in front of the Kyiv Ukraine Temple before its completion.

Article Highlights

  • The temple has caused people in Ukraine to be curious about the Church.
  • Many people who have gone through the temple open house want to learn more about the Church.
  • The peace of the temple is felt by members and nonmembers alike.

“It's pretty amazing to be a missionary in Kyiv right now, especially if you happen to be at the mission office when the temple builders come looking for extra help.”

One missionary in the Ukraine Kyiv Mission, Elder Joshua Chevrier, shares the excitement felt by missionaries as they await the dedication of the Kyiv Ukraine Temple. Elder Chevrier’s comments are taken from recent e-mails to his family in the United States.

June 7, 2010

We had the opportunity to see the temple. It is so cool. It’s almost ready. Please pray for the temple: that everything will work out, that it will open according to schedule, and that lots of people will come to the open house and want to learn more about the restored gospel.

June 22, 2010

I got to go inside the Kyiv Temple after zone conference. One of the temple workers wanted the missionaries to help carry chairs into the temple because the shipment had just come in. We carried chairs to the third floor of the temple. It is beautiful. Even though it’s not dedicated yet, you can feel the Spirit there.

June 27, 2010

We had been stopping by the houses of less-active members without much luck. In between the drop-bys, we were inviting people to the open house. At one point, everyone was rejecting the temple invitations, and I was trying to figure out what was up. I had a feeling to just keep walking. We got to a part where the bushes on either side of the sidewalk were very thick and we couldn’t see anything to either side. Then, suddenly, a space opened up on the right and we saw a man sitting on a staircase.

At first we just kept walking, but I thought about how the Lord places people in our path. I went back and asked, “Could I invite you to the open house?” He said “Sure!” I explained it a little, then he thanked us and we left. Further down the road was a dead end, so we walked back. As we passed him the second time, he was reading the invitation. I said, “I have some friends that live in your area. Do you want them to come and tell you about the temple?” He said, “Yeah!” So he gave me his number, and I passed it to the missionaries that live in his area.

July 12, 2010

The temple is so close! I’ve seen ads in the metro and on billboards. Half the people I talk to have seen the temple. Everyone wants to know what that amazing building is, and we are more than happy to tell them.

I want to work in the open house, so I hope I don’t get transferred, but if I am transferred, I know the Lord wants me wherever I’m sent.

July 19, 2010

On the bus, a guy standing by me was very obviously reading my name tag. I ended up talking to him about the Kyiv Temple and gave him an invitation to the open house. He sounded pretty excited about the temple. He had seen it before and wanted to know what it was. The temple is such a good contacting subject.

I love the temple. I know it’s going to be a huge blessing. I’m glad I’ll still have six months in Ukraine after the temple is dedicated.

July 26, 2010

Every single missionary in the mission will be brought into Kyiv for at least a week to take part in the open house. It’s pretty amazing to be a missionary in Kyiv right now, especially if you happen to be at the mission office when the temple builders come looking for extra help. Elder Dobry and a few elders had the opportunity to hang crystal on the chandelier, I got to help carry chairs in, and some other elders had been in to help move furniture.

The whole mission is excited for the open house; this is an event that we all have been waiting for.

August 1, 2010

We met an American, Alex*, who works here in Kyiv. He’s been pretty accepting to every gospel truth that we’ve told him. He also accepted our invitation to the temple open house. When we invited him, he said, “Well . . . I’ll tell you straight, guys.” At this point we were waiting for a rejection. He said, “I can speak for myself, I can’t speak for my fiancé, but I’ll be in Kyiv and I’d love to come.” We were so happy to hear that!

This week, we want to use the rest of our temple open house invitations. We have 300 left, so we figured 25 a day per companionship. With each invitation, we want to talk to the recipients and invite them to learn more. We have a goal to talk to at least 25 families this week. The other 125 invitations can go to whoever we come in contact with—the hair cutter, people at the grocery store, whoever we can talk to.

The open house starts this Saturday, and we find out on Thursday who will be going up which weeks. I love the temple; I’m so excited that we’ll have a temple here soon.

August 9, 2010

I’ve been assigned to work at the open house this week. Today I helped in the chapel, showing a short film about temples and why they are important. I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of people from different areas that I’ve served in, which has been nice. It’s always great to see people with whom have you served and whom you have grown to love. 

Tanya*, one of our investigators in Chernigov, made the three-hour trip to Kyiv to see the temple. She didn’t just sacrifice a three-hour one-way trip; she called every single person she knew, trying to get someone to go with her. Her parents had said she could go, but only if someone could go with her. So Tanya started calling people. She said she cried because so many people were unable to go, and she really wanted to go with someone.

Finally, she called a friend who came with her, and now that friend wants to come to church this Sunday! Tanya came out of the tour beaming and jumping up and down, saying over and over, “It’s so amazing! I can’t even explain it. It’s a feeling I can’t describe.”

I might not be able to describe the feeling she had, but I can tell you what it was. That feeling was the Holy Ghost bearing witness to her that the temple is a house of the Lord.

We’ve had people asking to be baptized after going through the open house. A couple that is members of the Church invited relatives to the temple. The next day, those relatives went to church and asked the missionaries if they could be baptized as soon as possible.

People are saying, “Wow! If I had known you had such a beautiful building, I would have invited ALL of my family and friends to see it!” Some have said they plan to make a second trip to do so.

Miracles are happening, and it’s only day two of the public open house.

August 16, 2010

Well, it’s been a crazy week. I woke up at 3:50 a.m. last Monday morning to make it on time to Kyiv at 8:30 a.m. When I wasn’t at the temple, I was bouncing all around Kyiv, serving with different elders, inviting people to see the temple.

This week, I opened doors for people, sat at the gate with security, sat next to the fountain and made sure people didn’t play in it, and sat in the refreshment room after the tour and answered questions and asked people what they thought of the temple. Sitting on the temple grounds was an amazing experience; it was like sitting in the Garden of Eden. It was just plain, simple beauty, with the temple standing in the midst of green grass, flowers, and “paradise apple” trees. I had been seeing the picture of what the temple would look like since before I left for my mission, but actually sitting there on the grounds was amazing.

Everyone I asked enjoyed their visit. Most answers were short and simple. I would ask, “How was the temple?” and they would say, “Wonderful,” “Miraculous,” “It’s a place of peace, of love, a place of the Lord,” “I took my son with me and the feeling of peace in that building completely calmed him,” “Honestly, what I liked the most was the sense of pure faith that I felt while I was there.”

People came up to us and asked about the open house. As we walked up to the temple, someone stopped me and asked, “Hey, is this an open house?” We said yes and gave him an invitation. Thirty minutes later I saw him in one of the tour groups. People want to know what the temple is, and it’s a joy to let them know.

I also had the opportunity to go on a tour, and it was stunning. I love how temples around the world have touches that make them match the culture. For example, the windows on the Kyiv temple are made to look like wheat is growing through the center. On the ceilings inside, there is Ukrainian-inspired artwork. It’s like Ukrainian embroidery patterns on the ceiling. It’s hard to explain, but it adds a touch of Ukraine to the temple, and it’s awesome. The whole building has been masterfully built. It’s amazing how perfect the workmanship is there. I guess that makes sense, because this house will be dedicated to the Lord.

I love the temple. I know it is the house of the Lord. I know that, thanks to temples, families can be together forever. Thanks to temples, our ancestors who didn’t have a chance to know the gospel while they were on the earth now have a chance to receive the ordinances of salvation. Thanks to temples, we learn more about who we are, why we’re here, and what we are working toward.

*Name has been changed.