About 10 years before I joined the Church in 1976, I had a dream. In my dream I saw my father, who had been dead for some time. He called me by my nickname, “Mya, you will later do something in a foreign country that will be very important for your family.” It was a dream I could never forget—what did my father mean?
It was a remarkable day when the missionaries knocked on my door for the first time. I had always been very open and ready to listen to everyone who wanted to talk about religion, but I would often try to contradict and ask a lot of questions. But this time, it was like God was telling me: “Now listen! Don’t interrupt them, just listen!” I wanted to find the right place, the right church, so I listened.
After they left, I paced the floor and kept saying, “Truly, these are the servants of the Lord! I can feel it.” I listened to them and learned from them. Many things I hadn’t understood before started opening up for me, but nothing had as much effect on me as did their teaching about baptism for the dead.
I decided, after a few lessons, that I would be baptized. But it was not easy—I stayed awake many nights and prayed. Whenever I prayed I found peace and felt as if the arms of the Lord were holding me.
My five children were positive and supportive of my decision to be baptized, but my husband was very much against it. He gave his permission, but it became very obvious how much he was against it after I was baptized. Even my friends criticized me for turning against my husband, but somehow I always received the strength I needed.
When I had been a member of the Church for only six months, I was called to be the first Icelandic Relief Society president. It was a difficult time, but I knew I was serving the Lord. There was no one to teach me what to do—we were all so new. We had a manual and a handbook in English, but they were of no use to me because I could not speak or understand that language. Sister Sveinbjörg Gudmundsdóttir translated the lessons each week for the teachers. That was the first Church material I had ever seen in Icelandic! I loved getting those lessons, and I read them over and over again. As I look back, I think that perhaps the best times were when it was most difficult—it was then that I had to get on my knees and seek the Lord.
Throughout my life, I had always been very interested in my family history. After I became a member of the Church, I had another dream. In this dream, I was receiving some guests—very distinguished people. I had prepared a salmon, but I needed to put some plates on the table for the guests. There was always some interruption when I tried to add more plates, but I knew there should be many more. I awoke for a time after the dream but still felt very sleepy. I went to sleep again—and the dream was repeated. I felt I was being told that I had the salmon (which I understood represented the gospel)—I just needed to make it ready for others. I knew that I needed to get names to the temple!
That was the beginning of many hours in the family history library, searching out family records. Time did not exist while I was working there. I had a distant goal of some day being able to take these records to the temple, but I was afraid I would never realize this goal because of the language barrier.
I was so excited when I heard that the temple ceremony had been translated into Icelandic! For 19 years I had worked on my genealogy but never dared to dream that I would be able to go to the temple. And now—somehow—I had the feeling that I was not worthy, and I was afraid my husband would never allow me to go. I watched as members of the branch planned for the trip and went for their temple recommend interviews.
When President Ólafur called me into his office one Sunday and asked why I hadn’t asked for a temple recommend, I told him of my fears and misgivings. He said, “Why do you judge yourself so harshly? Will you believe you are worthy if I, as a servant of the Lord, tell you that you can go?” President Ólafur also told me he would visit with my husband to ask him permission for me to go. I was so happy when I left his office, I embraced everyone I saw. I was still happy when I got home, but the fear came back. I told my husband what had happened, and he said, “Of course you will go!”
When I finally entered the temple in London, my father’s words in that dream 29 years earlier suddenly became clear to me. Here I was, in a foreign country, prepared to do temple ordinances for my ancestors. There are not words to describe the feeling I had at that 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 (see Luke 2:29–30). I, too, felt that after this experience, I could die in peace.
Truly, this was a dream come true!