President Nelson said the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is an ongoing process.
Sometimes, there is a tendency to think that the major works of the Lord have already happened with so many miracles happening in the 1800’s. Studying about the Kyiv Temple and the lives of the Ukrainian people has opened my eyes to what President Nelson was talking about when he said:
“We’re witnesses to a process of restoration,” … “If you think the Church has been fully restored, you’re just seeing the beginning. There is much more to come. … Wait till next year. And then the next year. Eat your vitamin pills. Get your rest. It’s going to be exciting.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints worked hard to have the Church be recognized in Eastern Europe. Elder Nelson remembered President Benson giving him the charge for those nations whose doors had been closed to the gospel because of communism — a task, he said, that was too large for him, but not for the Lord.
During the next years, after several visits to the former Soviet Union, Elder Nelson reported to the First Presidency that the new Russian Federation allowed the Church to be recognized in Russia in 1991. The Lord was able to do His own work, Elder Nelson said. "The Lord had accomplished the miracle."
Almost every year from the time the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was introduced to Ukraine there were huge milestone, and accomplishments from the people there! So much happened in a short period of time.
In the year 1990, two elders Elders Ivan Stratov and Brian Bradbury from Finland Helsinki Mission were asked to go look up some referrals in Ukraine. These young men were the first missionaries in Ukraine since the fall of the USSR. These two missionaries entered Ukraine a year before Boyd K. Packer and Elder Oaks opened Ukraine for missionary work(read more here).
These young elders had made enough contacts to gather a group of 17 people for a fireside.
A year later, in 1991 Ukraine was dedicated for missionary there were 91 members in the country.
The first branch in Kiev was organized in June 1991. A second mission, the Ukraine Donetsk Mission, was organized in July 1993. Membership was 1,700 in 1993 and 3,100 in 1995. By 1999, membership was 6,369.
For the most part all the leadership was new in Ukraine, they are first generation members. In 1995 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints started “The School of the Prophets.” Weekly training for branch and district priesthood leaders.
It was not until 1997 that the Book of Mormon was published in Ukrainian.
In 1998, 7 years after the dedication of the country, the prophet, President Hinckley, had announced a temple in Kyiv.
2005, The Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants was published in the Ukrainian Language. They also put out a revised translation for the Book of Mormon in Ukrainian.
2010, the Kyiv Ukraine temple was dedicated!
2014, missionaries were relocated from Eastern Ukraine, because of civil unrest.
2022, missionaries were relocated out of an abundance of caution.
This timeline can offer much hope in a time of uncertainty. The story of the Ukrainian Saints is not over, this is the beginning. The Lord has much more in store for His people.
According to this timeline there was much accomplished in the progressing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in such a short period of time. The wonderful people of Ukraine were ready to hear and live the gospel of Jesus Christ, and many accepted the gospel quickly. The Ukrainian Temple was announced quickly. When President Nelson said ”The Lord has accomplished the miracle.” it is evident that the Lord knows and loves His children of Eastern Europe. The Lord will not abandon them, but strengthen them, so they can go on and help others.