“A Burning Testimony in Iceland,” Ensign, Oct. 1997, 61
In 1966 María Rósinkarsdóttir had a dream she would never forget. Her father, who was dead, came to her and said, “You will later do something in a foreign country that will be very important for your family.” It would be many years before she would understand the meaning behind his puzzling words.
It was a remarkable day when the missionaries knocked on her door for the first time. “I had always been very open and ready to listen to everyone who wanted to talk about religion,” she says. “But I would often try to contradict and ask a lot of questions. This time, it was just like God was telling me, ‘Now, listen! Don’t interrupt them; just listen!’”
Sister Rósinkarsdóttir did listen, and after a few discussions she decided she would be baptized. When she had been a member of the Church for only six months, she was called to be the first Icelandic Relief Society president. She was given a manual and a handbook in English but could not understand the language. Each week Sveinbjörg Gudmundsdóttir, a translator for the Church, translated the lessons into Icelandic. “I loved getting those lessons, and I read them over and over again,” Sister Rósinkarsdóttir recalls.
In time she began spending many hours in the family history library, searching out family records. “I had a distant goal of someday being able to take these records to the temple,” she says, “but I was afraid I would never realize this goal because of the language barrier”; the temple ceremony was not in Icelandic.
Finally, in 1994, after Sister Rósinkarsdóttir had been working on her family history for 19 years, the temple ordinance text was translated into Icelandic. She was overjoyed when she was able to travel to London the following year to attend the temple there.
As she entered that sacred building, she suddenly understood the meaning behind her father’s words so many years earlier. “Here I was, in a foreign country, prepared to do temple ordinances for my ancestors,” she remembers. “There are not words to describe the feeling I had at this time. When I came into the celestial room after my own endowment, I felt like Simeon of old when he saw the child Jesus in the temple. I, too, felt that after this experience, I could die in peace.”
Sister Rósinkarsdóttir is a member of the Reykjavik Branch in the Iceland District, Denmark Copenhagen Mission.—DeAnne Walker, Bountiful, Utah