Ala. missionary evacuates Ukraine amid border tensions with Russia

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 10:19 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2022 at 10:40 PM CST
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WWTUMPKA, Ala. (WSFA) - Border tensions between Ukraine and Russia have hit close to home for one Alabama family.

20-year-old Isaac Stubbs is from Wetumpka but has been in Ukraine on a mission trip over the past nine months.

He is now evacuating as tensions on the border with Russia build.

“We are glad that he is en route to the United States,” said Isaac’s father, Troy Stubbs, who is also an Elmore County commissioner.

Isaac Stubbs had been serving families in Russia on a two-year mission trip through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“They teach English, they serve people, and so it’s a great opportunity,” Troy Stubbs said. “He was having a great time learning more about the Ukraine culture and speaking the Russian language.”

That was until border tensions began to escalate, forcing Stubbs and the other 60 missionaries to move to the capitol city of Kyiv. The group spent six weeks there in the event they might need to evacuate.

“Obviously they weren’t really sure what was going to happen, but here in the last week things have gotten very tense,” Troy Stubbs said.

Things became so tense that church leaders decided to evacuate all of the missionaries. Stubbs was reassigned to Chicago, Illinois.

“For us it was just a priority to make sure that he and the other missionaries were out before either an invasion or if Russia just decided to close the airports,” Troy Stubbs said.

Fear of possibly getting trapped in Ukraine was alleviated though as Isaac and the other missionaries were successful in boarding planes for the United States.

Troy Stubbs said although his son’s trip was cut short, it wasn’t wasted.

“Our son is there doing a good thing, serving people and loving and being compassionate to those around him,” Troy Stubbs said. “He’s learning a lot about himself, and so in the end faith prevails, and we feel blessed that he is having these experiences that he’ll have for the rest of his life.”

The whole time Stubbs was trying to evacuate, his family was unsure of his exact location because of limited communication.

The good news is that Troy reports that Isaac is set to land in Chicago at midnight Wednesday.

Troy said there are Russian speaking communities in Chicago. He said Isaac and three others will spend four months there continuing their mission.

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