Friday, January 14, 2011

kiev temple


way back when--
many, many moons ago,
i served as a missionary
among the people of western siberia.
i saw a good handful of faithful saints
make their first trek
to get to a temple.
they would travel by bus, then by plane,
then by train, then by boat, and then another bus
until they reached their destination--
stockholm, sweden--
where the closest temple was.
they would spend a week,
though much of the time was spent
getting there, and getting home.
but they were ecstatic at the chance
to make the trip and to serve.

then in july, 1998
the planned construction of a new temple was announced--
one to serve the russian people--
in kiev, ukraine.
we were shocked, we were excited,
we were hopeful!
it wasn't russia, but oh so "close!"
i knew i wouldn't see friends leaving
during my mission to serve in that temple,
but one day. . .

and then the news of the kiev temple
faded into the background,
and i returned home.
later a temple was built in helsinki,
shaving off part of the trek
for the russian saints.
but the kiev temple plans were long silent.

and after we moved back to moscow,
the helsinki temple became "our temple,"
although we still have never made the trip
the russian saints did.
but soon we heard news of the groundbreaking
in the ukraine. . .
and finally,
12 years after its announcement,
the kiev temple broke through the red tape,
the dust, the history
and rose out of the ground
to become the first and (so far) only temple
in eastern europe and the former u.s.s.r.

i didn't have too many goals
on my 2010 list.
but a trip to the kiev temple
was one of them.

now i can't really tell you
what it was like
to drive down kiev's peripherique
glued to the taxi window
searching for that structure
i'd only seen in photos. . .
and then to see that beautiful monolith
becoming clear through the fog in the distance,
in the midst of that dreary, gray
soviet landscape,
so out of place,
so unexpected. . .
such a symbol,
such a triumph. . .
and such an experience.




5 comments:

JaneH said...

Oh Jen, how exciting for you to get to go to that beautiful Temple.

Carrie said...

Wonderful! So jealous. A friend of mine went there just before the dedication and posted pics on facebook. I cried when I saw them. Glad you got to go and have a wonderful experience.

Amy said...

I'm so glad you've made it there. What a blessing for all of those people who have travelled SO FAR!

marlamuppets said...

THAT IS SO NEAT!
love your blog!

Anonymous said...

I love the way you write about (and show with photos) beautiful things: your family, food, places, your thoughts. Some how I come away from your blog "elevated"? (Is that too cheesy?) Thanks for sharing your experiences. Kirstin in CA