Mar 15, 2010

Rites of Passage

Last week we had one of those life experiences that will stay with us forever.  Hans, Manny and I packed up the car, left Gustav and the Ottosson family in charge of the farm and headed south for a four day trip to the beautiful LDS temple in Stockholm.  Manny had been interviewed by his local priesthood leaders and also by those who have the authority for the entire Swedish mission and was given his Temple Recommend.  That means he is worthy to go through the temple and receive the sacred ordinances that are performed there. 

 There were so many  interesting sites on the way.  As snowy and cold as it was, and as long as the drive became (about 9 hours just to the Stockholm area) it passed by so pleasantly.  We loved to see the old churches, with their unusual architecture and be reminded of the stalwart faithfulness of the Swedish people in ages past, serving each other and worshipping God with reverence and love.  When you see these buildings you know that they had immense gratitude for the Savior and Heavenly Father and were willing to expend whatever time and resources were at their command to create beautiful houses of worship.

Both Hans and Manny are familiar with this part of Sweden but I had never seen it before and I was so surprised at the difference in the geography.  It looks nothing like Norrland!  There were large expanses of relatively flat land shown in the picture on the left (where are the forests?), and the farm houses were white not red!  This one had the root cellar right out front and I wondered how in the world they got to it in the winter?  The home itself was so majestic, you might imagine that they would have made the entrance to the root cellar a little more convenient... 
And for yet another unique touch of Swedish culture - we had stopped at a McDonald's to eat (greater love hath no Papa than this....that he agrees to eat at McDonald's TWICE on this trip) - and we glanced over at the gas station that was just a few feet away, sporting these signs all over their lot.  It means "Sausage Festival!" and I felt compelled to do a visual comparison on the spot.  Believe it or not, there appeared to be as many people clamoring for the Sausage Festival offer (roughly $4.00 for the sausage, bun and drink) as there were coming and going from McDonald's right next door.  The Swedes really  love their varmkorv (warm sausage)!

We fell into bed dead tired that night at the Gästhem (Guesthome) provided by the temple.  We were so late we had to rouse the nightwatchman to let us in and, not surprisingly, we were impressed by how sweet he was, even having to come out in the cold.

I worried a little about Manny being so tired.  To go through the temple ceremony for the first time is a big experience.  But I should have saved
my concern. 
Magnify this picture on the right and that tiny person you see in the distance is MANNY!  He left us in the dust the next morning.  The only reason he even turned around was to say, 
"Are you guys COMING?"
We sure were, and we were in for a glorious day.  We were able to go through two sessions where Manny made sacred covenants with God.  Afterward the Temple President asked if Manny would like to come into the sealing room and participate in vicarious ordinances that were done for ancestors who had passed away.  It was a great opportunity for all of us. 

Here he is at the end of the day with President and Sister Oscarsson.  Do you think he looks different?  We did.

We felt proud and grateful for this good young man who is willing to do what his ancestors his love and reverence for his Heavenly Father and the Savior by following Their commandments, and expending his efforts unselfishly on behalf of Their children, his fellow men.

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man,
I put away childish things.
                                                                    I Corinthians 13:11

In our world today it is not common (and certainly not easy) to stay morally clean, to be honest, to be willing to sacrifice two years of your life to serve your brothers and sisters in another country and to accept all the responsibilities that come with such a decision.  But when you do, and you can declare yourself worthy in every way, you are also ready to be endowed with the attendant
Rites of Passage.

1 comment:

Lauralee said...

What a handsome group on such a happy occasion!