Kiev, Ukraine

After the wedding, we went to the Sofiia Posen Hotel, near the Kiev Temple.  We were thinking it would be close enough to walk to the temple; but we also thought the main street over to the temple was a normal street.  It was a freeway and we did not know the back ways to the temple so the hotel hired a taxi to take us over there.

We went to the temple on Friday and Saturday mornings.  It was wonderful being back in the temple after a year long absence.  Because of the scheduling of the ordinances, we did not do any family names; but it was good anyway!  (I left all my family names with our children.)

Before our trip, I had contacted the YSA couple, the Ws, in Kiev for some hotel ideas, etc. and they were so wonderful.  They arranged a LDS taxi cab driver, Yuri – who spoke English – to pick us up from the airport – and he also took us around sightseeing after our mornings at the temple.  The Ws came with us Friday and Saturday.  Very fun and educational.  Felsted Elder is always interested in the cold-war era doings, and Yuri had definite opinions about these things, so they hit it off great!

Friday afternoon we went to The National Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War (of 1941-1945) museum, that was originally built by the Soviets, to honor the Ukraine togetherness the Soviet Union had with Ukraine in their fight against The Third Reicht!  (RIGHT!)  The poor Ukrainians thought the Nazis were liberators when they first came!  One terror after the other in some of these countries…

These "motherland" stautes seem to be everywhere in these former Soviet countries.

These “motherland” stautes seem to be everywhere in these former Soviet countries.

The men liked looking at all the war stuff and discussing war issues.  Inside the museum we learned of the terrible treatment of the Ukrainian people.  An estimated 10 million died during the starvation years or being sent off to concentration camps in Siberia.  The farmers refused to participate in communal farming, so Stalin ordered all their food stores (grains and food stuffs in barns, homes, etc.) taken away by the soldiers and the farmers and their families were eliminated in that manner.  It was called the Holodomor.

Western parts of the Ukraine also fought against this evil government for years before finally being overcome.  Communism is certainly part of Satan’s plan and these types of actions by governments demonstrate man’s inhumanity to his fellow man!  For more on this subject check out Global Museum on Communism.

Massive statutes or three dimensional bas relief artwork at The National Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War (of 1941-1945)

Massive statutes or three dimensional bas relief artwork at The National Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War (of 1941-1945)

The walkways to leave the museum were pretty impressive, though.

The walkways to leave the museum were pretty impressive, though.

Beautiful Church in the background...

Beautiful Church in the background…

After this visit to the museum, we went to tour the Kiev YSA center, actually more an Institute Center.  It was in an office building on the third floor.  They had a large kitchen, two very large classrooms, a library room, restrooms.  Very nice.  Since the building is not owned by the Church, different rules apply and they are allowed the use of their kitchen.  There were eight wards with many active YSA plus BYU-Idaho had a continual presence there as many of their students came to voluntarily teach English for a semester at a time and do internships in the community.  Each YSA has their own unique set of circumstances, we are finding!  The ward had the fifth floor in that building.

The Ws have been on a few other missions – CES directors in India, for instance.  Since he was a Seminary Teacher/Supervisor for the Church as a profession, teaching has been a way of life for them…  The headquarters over the Church in this part of the world is centered in Russia.  Ours is in Germany.

The next day, Yuri picked us up after our temple work.  The Ws had come to the temple that morning also.  They had a planned outing to an Indian restaurant with some YSA members.

The restaurant is on the upper left in this picture.

The restaurant is on the upper left in this picture.

Loved the door to the Indian restaurant.

Loved the door to the Indian restaurant.

Only one of the YSA showed up but we enjoyed eating some new-to-us authentic Indian cuisine in the Ukraine.  We got several dishes and shared them.

Note the furnishings..

Note the furnishings..

Afterwards, we enjoyed walking down one of the main streets in Kiev and looking at the architecture, wide streets and all that was going on during a Saturday afternoon.

Built as a showcase building during the Stalin years.

Built as a showcase building during the Stalin years.

Next door is a more modern building.

Next door is a more modern building.

The streets seem wider than Budapest.  There seems to be more variety in the styles and heights of the buildings than Budapest.  However, since we were only there a few days, that might be a faulty assumption!

Cute double decker Merry Go Round on this street.

Cute double decker Merry Go Round on this street.  Loved this!!!

Can you tell that Brother Welty is an extrovet?

Can you tell that Brother W is an extrovert?

His wife said that he has been dying to do this for a while.  So the YSA that came to lunch with us (former BYU-I student) helped him up!  This statue was a very popular item for picture taking – we had to wait a while to get this!

Part of the European Square.  It has had several names down through the years.

Part of the European Square, or Freedom Square. It has had several names down through the years.

Some important people in the foundation of the Ukraine (can't remember, though..)

Some important people in the foundation of the Ukraine (can’t remember exactly how, though..)

On Sunday we got a taxi over to the temple grounds and attended the Kiev International Branch.  This is composed of mostly missionaries – temple missionaries, the other senior missionaries, the Mission President and his family, and some BYU-I students.  It was Fast and Testimony Meeting day!  And I bore my testimony and told why we were in town. It is so wonderful to see how the Church all over the world is the same! The Mission President had a journal entry about meeting with Clinton and Tanya, which he showed me.  Two of his children are leaving for BYU this semester.  Also, one of the Assistants to the President (young missionaries) had been involved in teaching Tanya in Cherkassy before his calling to be an AP.

Kiev International Branch Relief Society members

Kiev International Branch Relief Society members

Group picture because some of the BYU-I students were leaving to go back to school.  The tall black girl had been here on a some kind of medical internship.  She wants to become a doctor.  Sister W is sitting on the far right.  Pretty great to have a ward building on the temple grounds!  There are two congregations that meet in this building.  After our meeting, one of the largest Ukrainian wards meet.

This was our dinner that evening…. supposed to be shish kabobs?  We love trying to figure out what to eat in foreign countries… ??

We shared - mine was supposed to be chicken and his beef...

We shared – mine was supposed to be chicken and his beef…

Monday was our departure day.  Yuri picked us up about 10 AM and we had some time for another quick tour before our fight out at 2:30 PM.  He took us to another part of Kiev to see some of the beautiful old Orthodox Churches.

Overlooking the Dniper River, which divides Kiev.

Overlooking the Dniper River, which divides Kiev.

The Dniper River divides Kiev into two parts, much like the Danube divides Budapest.  The small airport is on the side with the old downtown and many of the attractions.  This is the side we stayed on.  It is the left side of this picture.  Actually the right side is an island in the middle of the river and is like a reserve or protected area.

This picture of St Michael's as found on Wikipedia is much better than mine!

This picture of St Michael’s, as found on Wikipedia, is much better than mine!

Evidently, some of the Ukrainians have their own version of the Russian Orthodox Church, called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Kiev Patriarchate.  There is another branch called the Russian Patriarchate.  St Michael’s is of the Kiev branch and this church has been recently restored and was outstandingly beautiful.  We did not go inside, as I did not have any head covering and I did not want to be disrespectful of their traditions.

On St. Michael’s grounds there was a display of the genealogy of the founder of Christianity in the Ukraine, which I found interesting…  Love this graphic display of the family…  The founder is dead center of this display.

Love any genealogical information... doesn't matter whose..

Love any genealogical information… doesn’t matter whose..

In the square outside St. Michael’s was this display of “A Chornical of the Communist Inquisition” during the 1930s.  We copied this to read this as time permits.  We must never forget the terrible times of the past… You can read about them here.

We took pictures of the individual frames so we could read them later.

We took pictures of the individual frames so we could read them later.

Nearby was another church – St. Andrew’s, considered the mother church of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.  I took this picture from Wikipedia, also.

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

The architecture is similar yet different than what we see here in Budapest.

IMG_2438After our brief tour, we went to a local Pizza place that Yuri recommended.  We ordered pizza and I had a traditional salad that people used to prize during the Christmas season under the Soviet rule.  Canned vegetables were hard to get and were saved for this salad.  It was tasty – although very different from what we would consider a salad in America. But anything with mayonnaise is good to me!

Traditional Ukrainian salad from the Soviet era.

Traditional Ukrainian salad from the Soviet era.

The pizza was good, too!  But the most hysterical moment came when we ordered some juices to drink.  Yuri picked orange and we picked lemon!  We love the fresh lemonade here in Hungary!  However, this was 100% lemon JUICE!  WOW!  puckersville… then we asked for sugar, then water to add to it… we left before we got it right…  Think I already said that we love ordering food in foreign countries..

Notice the cyrillic writing but there was English, too.

Notice the Cyrillic writing but there was English, too.

We had this cherry dessert – like cherry filling in a pancake.  Probably prefer an American cherry pie!  But it is always fun to try new things…

After lunch, Yuri dropped us off at the airport and we boarded our WIZZ airlines for Budapest.  When the stewardesses started speaking Hungarian and we recognized some of the words, we knew we were on our way home!  Cyrillic was completely unintelligible to us!

IMG_2489

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