Church History
The Dnipro Deaf Branch

“The Dnipro Deaf Branch,” Global Histories: Ukraine (2018)

“The Dnipro Deaf Branch,” Global Histories: Ukraine

The Dnipro Deaf Branch

“Faith cometh by hearing” the word of God, wrote Paul (Romans 10:17), but not everyone hears the same way. In 1992 Nina Marchyshak began attending services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and meeting with missionaries. Nina was deaf and had to rely on an interpreter to communicate with the missionaries and members. She gained a testimony of the restored gospel and was baptized in November. Her son Pavlo followed her example the next year. Soon, they were but two of a number of deaf Saints in Kyiv. In 1994 they and six other deaf Saints traveled to the Freiberg Germany Temple for the first time.

In 1999 the Dnipro Deaf Branch was organized for Nina and the other deaf Saints in Kyiv. Oleksandr and Iryna Kondratsky, who were baptized in late 1998, were surprised when Oleksandr was called as branch president. As a recent convert with no prior Church leadership experience, Oleksandr felt inadequate. He soon learned how to lead his congregation, though, from other Church leaders and missionaries, including some who learned sign language to better communicate with the Saints of this branch. For two years the deaf Saints worshipped together and helped each other grow in the gospel.

Dnipro Deaf Branch

Members of the Dnipro Deaf Branch, about 2000.

In 2001 the branch was discontinued. The Kondratsky family, Marchyshak family, and others began attending separate branches in Kyiv. The change was difficult for some, even with interpreters called or hired to help them in their new branches. Still, they held to the faith they had found through the restored gospel.