Emma Lund (8) lives north of Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, with her brothers Christian (11), Marcus (10), and Axel (5 months); her mom, Ingrid; and her dad, Torbjörn. Another little brother, Robin, was stillborn three years ago.
Emma has long blond hair and blue eyes. According to Marcus, she is gentle, kind, and helpful. In fact, the only fault he can tease her about is that she quickly eats up all her sweets.
Emma laughs a little at this. Her smile is never far away, but she can also be very serious. She doesn’t answer questions quickly but frowns thoughtfully and thinks deeply first. When she is asked who Jesus Christ is and why He came to earth, she answers, “He had to come to die for us and go back to Heavenly Father so that we can be with God after we die. I know that He is very kind.”
Emma is artistic, a heritage from both her grandmothers. She enjoys painting and is learning to make ceramics from her Granny Ann. One of their creations is Santa Claus—the old Swedish Santa with gray clothing instead of a red suit.
When Emma grows up, she wants either to work with ceramics or become a farmhand. “I love to feed chickens, milk cows, and take care of all kinds of animals,” she says. “I like rabbits, squirrels, hedgehogs, guinea pigs, sheep, birds, and dogs. Cats, too,” she adds, cuddling Skrålle, the family cat.
Her largest animal friend is a golden-haired pony that she rides every Friday. Granny Ann rides often, and Emma rides with her, learning to ride both in a saddle and bareback. “I give my pony apples to eat,” she says, smiling. “I groom him, clean his hoofs, and comb his mane and tail. I like him a lot.”
Sister Lund is a licensed pilot who turned down a chance to learn to fly jet planes in order to get married and have a family.
Brother Lund is not a member of the Church, but everyone says he’s just like one. He’s a marketing manager for a global company and is kept busy traveling. After all his hard work, he likes to relax with the family.
“We enjoy simple things like hiking and picnics in God’s beautiful nature,” Sister Lund explains. “Every summer, we rent canoes and paddle together, sleep in tents, and catch fish and cook them over an open fire. Even if it is pouring rain, the children are always in a good mood.”
Emma is an excellent swimmer. She could swim two hundred meters when she was only six years old. Skiing and skating are other favorite family sports. The whole family goes on a skiing holiday to the Swedish Alps every winter. Emma is a good skier and skis slalom without ski poles.
Another family activity is picking mushrooms in the vast Swedish forest each fall. “I know what the best mushrooms look like,” Emma states proudly.
Everyone in the family enjoys music and singing. Emma plays the flute, often accompanied on the piano by her mother or one of her brothers. When Emma looks after her baby brother, she often sings to him. She always sings when she concentrates on something. On her first day of school, all her classmates suddenly got quiet. They turned around, and there was Emma, singing to herself as she painted a picture.
At family home evenings, the Lunds sing and play different instruments. Each member of the family is responsible for part of the program. After the lesson, they play games. Sometimes the children invite friends to join them.
Emma likes to read fairy tales and the scriptures. “I’m not so good at reading yet, so Mum reads the scriptures aloud to me,” she says. “The person I like most is John the Baptist because he baptized so many. And he makes me think about my own baptism.”
As Emma approached her eighth birthday, she was allowed to choose the day of her baptism. She chose her birthday. She did not know that her birthday fell on the last day of an important meeting her father was to attend in Finland. When he came home from work, Emma dashed happily down the stairs to meet him and asked, “Daddy, will you come to my baptism on my birthday?”
“Of course, I shall be at your baptism,” Brother Lund said with a smile. Emma ran away happy, and her father called his boss to say he would miss the last day of the meeting.
Emma remembers clearly her feelings when she was baptized and confirmed by her uncle, Richard Bruvik. “My heart felt so warm. When I was confirmed, I felt so peaceful.”
When asked who the present prophet is, she replies, “I’m sure it’s Gordon B. Hinckley. He says what Jesus wants us to do. Jesus tells him, and he tells us. He looks kind.”
Like her brothers, Emma has chores to do at home. “I take care of my room, take the dishes out of the dishwasher, lay the table, sing to my little brother, and entertain him. And I get up early in the mornings, although I’m very tired.”
Sweden has many fun traditions. One is to dance around the midsummer pole on Midsummer Eve. Emma’s family goes to an island where her father’s parents have a summer home. “It’s so peaceful—no cars. You can hear the birds,” Emma says.
Christmas is another traditional holiday. In Sweden, gifts are given on Christmas Eve. It is a Lund family tradition to send packets with toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, and some candy to hospitalized orphans in the Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. They send one packet from each family member. “I think that the children who get the presents are very happy,” Emma says, beaming.