When we are called to serve in the Church, it doesn't mean we are good, but rather that we'll have an opportunity to serve and, especially, to learn. After being assistant matron in the Helsinki Finland Temple for three years, I think I've learned something, and how grateful I am.
I've never before felt such a big responsibility in my work, never before started the day so early, never come home so late in the evening, never worked without salary or vacation, but I've never been happier or more thankful for my work, especially for the opportunity of working with my husband.
The temple is unbelievably beautiful, the most beautiful building in all of Finland. We live about half an hour from the temple. During those three years we drove the equivalent of nearly one-and-a-half times around the globe. You can guess how many hundreds pairs of socks I knitted in the car.
The temple is located on a beautiful hill, very easy to see. At night, it is like a bright lighthouse for a world descending into ever deeper darkness.
The mayor of Espoo where the temple is located, said to us, "It's good they gave the place to the Church. Now the temple is the most impressive sight in the whole area."
It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start a new temple. Very often we were in the temple for 10-12 hours a day. We tried to do everything as well as we could. We were so tired we can't remember very much about those first weeks, but we did not complain. When you are willing to serve with all your heart, the Lord will bless you more than you can imagine.
Every day in the temple you feel how thin the veil is. Countless times I felt the almost tangible joy of those who were helped to freedom and progression through the temple ordinances.
I can truthfully say, working in the temple is the most unselfish and noble work in the world. Even though the days included many hours working in the laundry, sewing dozens of dresses and pants, helping in the office, cleaning — everything was wonderful. All work in the temple was service of equal value.
I'll forever rejoice in the great friends and relationships we developed through the gospel and the temple in the world's largest temple district.
It was really an overwhelming experience for three years, almost all the time to be out of the world, feel the Spirit so strongly, and experience the guidance of the Lord.
Sister Mari Alakoski served while her husband, Jorma, was first counselor in the Helsinki Finland Temple presidency.