Ukraine Donetsk Mission Info
Weather in Ukraine Donetsk Mission:
What the Book Says
climatic zone and is influenced by moderately warm, humid air from the Atlantic Ocean and the Black Sea. Winters in the west are considerably milder than those in the east. In summer, on the other hand, the east often experiences higher temperatures than the west. Average annual temperatures range from 42-45 F (5.5-7 C) in the north to 52-55 F (11-13 C) in the south. The average temperature in January, the coldest month, is 26 F (-3 C) in the southwest and 18 F (-8 C) in the northeast (Kharkov). The average in July, the hottest month, is 73 F (23 C) in the southeast (Donetsk) and 64 F (18 C) in the northwest.
Precipitation is uneven, with two to three times as much falling in the warmer seasons as in the cold. Maximum precipitation generally occurs in June and July, while the minimum falls in February. Snow falls mainly in late November and early December, varying in depth from a few inches in the Steppe region to several feet in the Carpathians. Western Ukraine, notably the Carpathian Mountains area, receives the
highest annual precipitation–more than 47 inches (1,200 millimetres). The lowlands along the Black Sea and in the Crimea, by contrast, receive less than 16 inches annually. The remaining areas of Ukraine receive 16 to 24 inches of precipitation.
The southern shore of the Crimea has a warm, gentle, Mediterranean-type climate. Winters are mild and rainy, with little snow, and the average January temperature is 39 F (4 C). Summers are dry and hot, with an average July temperature of 75 F (24 C).
Observations from Experience
The information above can be found in any encyclopedia. I don’t think it does the weather justice. Averages are always going to skew reality. For example the average annual temperature quoted above is useless. Therefore, I’m going to try and flesh out the picture a little from my own experience.
First, a word about seasons. Most of us are use to having four fairly distinct seasons a year. I remember two in Ukraine. Winter and Summer. Spring and Fall were 3-4 week transistional periods. It is basically cold from October to the middle of April. May is Spring, then it’s hot from June through the middle of September. Mid-September to mid-October is Autumn. There is a fair amount of seasonal variation in the amount of daylight. In Summer, the sun is up from about 5:00 AM til 9:30 PM, and in Winter from 7:30 AM til 4:30 PM
The Donetsk Mission is actually one of the warmest of the Russian speaking missions. Its proximity to the sea helps moderate the weather. However, “warm” here is a relative term. Donetsk is at about the same latitude as the U.S.-Canadian border, and the temperatures are correspondingly cool. The two winters I was there (94-95, and 95-96) were similar. On average it was around -8 to -10 C. (+14 to +18 F), but cold snaps of -20 to -30 C (-4 to -22 F) weren’t uncommon (The year before I got there I’m told it reached -40 C (-40 F) for about three weeks). Nights were about 5-8 C colder. That can feel very cold after 6 hours of street contacting. Some areas of the mission are also windy, which adds an additional chill factor. It didn’t snow excessively. 3-4 inches every 2 weeks or so. One weird thing: both Januarys I was there we had a thaw, it would get up to 5 C (40 F) for a week or so, and it rained very cold rain. I don’t know if that’s the norm or not. Needless to say, good boots, coats and gloves are essential. Also a neck warmer or scarf. Dressing in layers in highly recommended, as apartments aren’t generally well heated.
Summers are quite pleasant. Temperatures are generally in the 70’s or 80’s. Occasionally there will be a mini-heat wave, it even reached 40 C (104 F) several times while I was there. The air is not excessively humid but, frequently, thunderstorms will build up in the late afternoons leading to sudden intense cloudbursts which are gone by evening, which can be muggy. This weather leads to the growth of large, fast, surprisingly intelligent mosquitos (they learn from the mistakes of their comrades), especially in Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhye (on the Dnepr river). I highly recommend bringing repellant.
New Mission Presidents:
Vladimir Jesus Campero, 65, and Elsa Cardozo Montero Campero, five children, Ukraine Donetsk Mission; Hamacas Ward, Santa Cruz Bolivia Equipetrol Stake. He serves as an Area Seventy in the South America Northwest Area and is a former stake president, counselor in a stake presidency, high councilor, bishop and counselor in a branch presidency. Self-employed, home construction. Born in Oruro, Bolivia, to Elias Manuel Campero Arteaga and Maria Concepcion Negrete Quiros.
Sister Campero serves as a stake Primary president and is a former counselor in a stake Primary presidency, stake family history center director and Relief Society president. Born in Tarija, Bolivia, to Armando Cardozo and Irene Montero.
History of Ukraine Donetsk Mission
The Ukraine Donetsk Mission covers eastern Ukraine and serves a population of approximately 20 million people. It was formed from the Ukraine Kiev mission in July, 1993. The mission headquarters are in Donetsk (pop 1.5 million). Missionaries are currently working in ten cities. For more information on the cities see our Cities page
Eastern Ukraine, and the “Donbass” (Donetsk Basin) in particular, has a large ethnic Russian minority. In many areas, especially the cities, Russians are a majority of the population. Government policy under the Soviets also promoted the use of Russian as the official language of all republics. Since Ukraine gained independence in 1991, the government has begun to promote Ukrainian as the official language, but the transformation is a slow process.
The Donbass, especially the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, have resisted the change. They are the only two regions where Russian is a second official language. The first cities opened for missionary work were in the Donbass, therefore, for the first 3-4 years, all missionaries called to serve in the Donetsk Mission learned Russian. Now that missionaries are working in cities outside the Donbass, the need for Ukrainian speaking missionaries has increased. The MTC in Provo, Utah began teaching Ukrainian in 1996.
With the opening of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to missionary work in 1990, the prophesies concerning this area of the world are being fulfilled before our eyes. A few of these prophesies are listed on our mission timeline page. Today, the people of the former Soviet Union are, for the first time in history, experiencing the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. After over 1000 years of government dictated worship, they are finally free to choose. Many people have joined various Protestant churches, and the LDS church as well.
In the early years of the mission, the church grew very rapidly. 16 branches of the church, all led by faithful Ukrainian priesthood holders were formed between 1993 and 1995. Also in 1995 two district were organized with local leadership, one in Donetsk, and one in Kharkov. The Donetsk Mission was consistently among to top three baptizing missions in Europe, as was the Kiev Mission. Street contacting was the primary proselyting tool used through about 1995. Lately, member referrals as well as English classes have proven more effective, and generated many 1st discussions.
As the Ukrainian economy worsened, baptisms fell of a bit from1994-1996. The situation was aggravated by persistent visa problems which did not allow new missionaries to be sent, sometimes for months at a time. The problems seemed to subside under President Manzhos, but lately missionaries are being delayed again. In the last few years, interest in the church has been on the increase, and growth is as high now as it ever has been.