Temple moments: 'Our souls sang'

It was a dream come true for the first group of Saints from the Russia Moscow Mission that arrived at the Stockholm Sweden Temple on Aug. 30, 1993.

More than six months of planning, under the direction of temple seminar leader Oleg Rumiantsev, had preceded the trip. Among the obstacles faced by the group were the requirements for new passports for foreign travel, visa delays and changing government regulations. Gary Browning, the former mission president, and current Pres. Richard L. Chapple helped organize the trip. A missionary couple, Elder Wayne and Sister Barbara Barker, accompanied the group.Valentina Lebedeva, the first family history consultant in the Russia Moscow Mission, worked closely with the members in helping them obtain family names for temple work.

When the airplane carrying 32 members from Moscow landed at the Stockholm airport, Pres. Reid H. and Sister Donna Johnson, president and matron of the temple, were there to welcome them. The Russian group, which included teenagers, children and two babies, were taken to the temple in nearby Vasterhaninge, where they were fed and housed in the adjacent apartments.

Members of the group received their own ordinances during their first day in the temple. For the rest of the week, they did ordinance work for their kindred dead, listed on some 50 family group sheets that had been submitted.

"From the way we were welcomed, we felt that our arrival had been anticipated," said Maya Lvovskaya, who served as the group's historian. "We felt everyone in the temple was thinking of us and glad to help us.

"The temple is marvelous," she observed. "One is immediately struck with the harmony of the temple and the ceremonies that take place there.

"Attending the temple gave us great blessings and warm feelings," Sister Lvovskaya continued. "As we received the temple ordinances for ourselves, we were deeply moved and edified. We strongly felt the invisible ties uniting Latter-day Saints all over the world."

Their last day in Sweden was Sunday, Sept. 6, and on that day they attended services at a Vasterhaninge ward.

"We bore our testimonies about the wonderful experiences in the temple," said Sister Lvovskaya. "We also sang in the choir and I was privileged to play their wonderful piano, a fine model. Everyone we met was smiling with us; our souls sang." - Information submitted by Maya Lvovskaya, translated by Irene Lyudogouskaya

(Another in a series of "Temple Moments." Illustration by Deseret News artist Reed McGregor.)

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