Visitors tour Mormon Temple in Ukraine

Under hot and humid conditions, the open house for the newly constructed Kyiv Ukraine Temple got underway Thursday, Aug. 5. "Historic" and "miraculous" were words used to describe events leading to the announcement and construction of the first temple in a former Soviet Union nation, and the 11th on the European continent.

"Complex" and "challenging" might better describe the monumental task of preparing for and hosting the temple open house. Under the able direction of Elder Gvido Senkans, Area Seventy and chairman of the temple open house committee, however, the work was accomplished and Church members were fully prepared to greet visitors with, among other things, an introductory film, tours and informational materials in six languages.

Language challenges aside, it was warmth that was communicated by the smiles and handshakes of the member hosts. One of the first guests to arrive was U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John F. Tefft and his wife, Mariella. Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer of the Seventy, accompanied by his, wife Sister Jo Ann Schwitzer, led the couple on a tour of the temple. As they conversed, they exchanged memorable stories of family and particularly of Mrs. Tefft's Italian genealogical research. At one point, the ambassador indicated that he and his wife would soon celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. Offering his congratulations, Elder Schwitzer responded that he and Sister Schwitzer would soon celebrate their 40th anniversary as well. This was one of several "coincidences" noted during the tour that invited the Spirit's testifying influence.

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