by Sharon Wilson.
Thomas Crowley, of Huntersville, a 2010 Hopewell High graduate, returned on Aug. 21, from L’viv, Ukraine, after serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At 19, Thomas found himself taking a message of hope to a people emerging from decades of Communism that had fostered atheism.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is young in this country, but in August, 2010, one year prior to Thomas’ arrival, the church dedicated the Kyiv Ukraine Temple.
While in the Ukraine, Thomas felt the harsh life the people had endured for centuries.
“I once was told that Ukrainians are encased in ice. On the outside, they can be cold and blunt. Yet, once I got to know them, I found friends for life and very kind, loving people,” Thomas said. “I feel a great love for the Ukrainian people, especially in the Kyiv and L’viv Missions where I served as, Elder Crowley,” he said.
He discovered that his heart had softened, as well.
When Thomas was asked his most memorable experience or life lesson learned from his mission, he expressed, “I have countless wonderful memories.”
“I would highlight our service (himself and other Mormon missionaries) in Kodima, Odessa Oblast (a subdivision in southwestern Ukraine, along the northern coast of the Black Sea), because of how closely we worked with the people there and the mighty change in them,” he said. “The greatest life lesson I learned was how to have charity for others and myself. I learned how to work, to love, and to be a blessing to others.”
Missionary service is a vital part of the Crowley family.
Thomas’s sister, Sarah, a 2012 graduate of Lake Norman Charter School, left Sept. 11, to serve 18 months in the California Rancho Cucamonga Mission. Their older brother and father served full-time missions, as well. Thomas and Sarah are the son and daughter of Steve and Leslie Crowley, of Huntersville.
Thomas resumed his university studies this fall at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he completed two semesters prior to his mission.
He is majoring in business and pre-med, and planning a career as a heart surgeon.
Sharon Wilson is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.