“How Could We Go to the Temple?” Ensign, July 2005, 56–57
I was baptized on December 5, 1993, in the city of Minsk. At that time, it was the only city in Belarus with a branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I attended worship services there, but I lived in Borisov, 40 miles (70 km) away. I was 17 years old, and there was sharp opposition in my family. But because of the trials I had at that time, my faith and testimony of the truth were strengthened. I was even fortunate enough to go to the temple twice in Freiberg, Germany, to perform baptisms for the dead. I impatiently awaited the time when I could receive my endowment.
In 1996 I began dating my future husband. Igor gladly accepted the news of the Restoration and was baptized on February 23, 1997. On March 1 we were married. Having a strong testimony of temple work, I wanted more than anything to go to the temple as soon as possible.
In September 1997 we moved to St. Petersburg, Russia, where Igor studied at the university. Our daughter Nelly was born there. Even after Igor had been a member for a year and a year had passed since our marriage, we still couldn’t go to the temple because we didn’t have visas and couldn’t get exit papers.
When Nelly was six months old, I became pregnant. It seemed to me we were in a hopeless situation. Igor couldn’t find steady work because he didn’t have a visa. He was holding down three jobs, but it wasn’t enough money for us to live on. Igor’s parents helped by sending money and food from time to time, but I was practically in despair because of our financial struggles. I felt even worse because we couldn’t go to the temple. In August 1998, after the exchange rate rose sharply, we decided to return to Belarus.
Our second daughter, Yelyena, was born in Minsk on January 6, 1999. Igor had a steady job now, but we still didn’t have enough money to go to the temple. Gradually we saved, however, and at the end of August 2000, we took the children to Germany. Igor has relatives in Kaiserslautern, and we stayed with them.
Early on the morning of September 2, we began our journey to the temple in Frankfurt. Although the trip was very tiring and included two transfers, we were full of enthusiasm and joy. We are grateful to all the temple workers, the temple president, and also the sisters who watched our daughters while we went through the endowment session. That was an unforgettable day! It is difficult to put into words the feelings we experienced there, but they were very good.
After the endowment session, we went into the sealing room, where Yelyena was already crying (it was her nap time). I hardly heard any of the sealing ceremony because of the crying, but we were very happy anyway. That was the most wonderful trip of our lives because we were in the house of the Lord.
We even managed to return to the temple. In February 2001 a group of members from Minsk went to Freiberg. I wanted to participate in the ordinance of sealings for the dead, since I had heard so little during our own sealing. I was grateful when Igor and I were invited to participate.
We now have a son, Robert, and as a family we attend the Minsk Second Branch (or, as it is known in Belarus, the Second Religious Community of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Minsk). And while we have overcome several difficulties, we now have new ones. I am very grateful for all of these trials. No matter what happens to us on this journey, Heavenly Father wants only good for us. No one else can help us in our most difficult hour. If we reject Him because of some difficulties, it would be like throwing away a life preserver because it did not keep us from falling into the river.
The burden is easy and the yoke light when we are with the Lord. He will not give us trials we cannot bear.