Church History
“Going Where There Is No Church”

“‘Going Where There Is No Church,’” Global Histories: Ukraine (2018)

“‘Going Where There Is No Church,’” Global Histories: Ukraine

“Going Where There Is No Church”

Though missionaries arrived in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 1990, it was members who carried the Church to many other parts of the country. In 1994, a few years after joining the Church in Germany, Anatoliy Malonos felt prompted to return home to Lviv to help establish the Church in Ukraine. In Lviv, he shared the gospel, and in time a small group of Saints took form. The group provided a gathering point for others: after the Chemezov family, who lived in nearby Chervonohrad, learned about the gospel from relatives in Kyiv, they were able to gather with the Lviv Saints. Within a year of returning to Lviv, Anatoliy was called on a mission, but the group carried on without him and was organized into the first branch in Western Ukraine in 1995, even before missionaries were assigned to the region. Oleksiy Chemezov was called as the first branch president.

members and missionaries in Lviv

Anatoliy Malonos with missionaries and members in Lviv, 1996.

In 1996, 15-year-old Natalia Yereskovska returned home to Cherkasy from a trip to the United States. As an exchange student there, she’d been impressed with the lifestyle and faith of her Latter-day Saint host family and joined the Church. But there was no branch of the Church in Cherkasy. “I was scared,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine going where there is no church.” After a few weeks, however, she went to a youth conference in Kyiv and met Ukraine Kyiv Mission president Wilfried Voge. The two worked together to arrange for missionaries to begin visiting Cherkasy in September 1996. In time, Natalia found company in a growing group of Church members that met on Sundays at the Regional History Museum, and in 1997 she saw a branch organized in Cherkasy.