Central Florida missionary heading home from Ukraine

19-year-old John Liu was in the country for months with the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints.

A Florida missionary is headed home after spending months in Ukraine.

Misty Liu said her 19-year-old son John Liu traveled to Ukraine in July to serve a missionary mission with the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints.

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In January, the decision was made to evacuate from the city he had been staying in.

After weeks of attempting to get home, the family is hopeful they will be reunited this weekend in Florida.

Misty Liu said her son was excited to not only serve as a missionary in the community, but also to reconnect with family in Ukraine.

With an increased likelihood of a Russian invasion, Liu was set to return home. However, he tested positive for COVID-19, which delayed his journey home.

“They closed the neighboring town for the missionaries and they moved them to Kyiv and once the state department was telling the embassy families to get out, that’s when they decided okay, we are going to evacuate,” Misty Liu said.

Misty Liu said their plan was to fly their son out of Moldova, until that was no longer an option because of airspace closures.

“Just being able to give him a big hug and see him, and feed him, you know what all moms want to do and just get him to sleep because he’s been exhausted,” Misty Liu said.

Misty Liu said despite her son traveling home, he’s still most concerned for the people he knows still in Ukraine.

“He was worried about the people he had come to love and serve,” Misty Liu said.

About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.