In my last posting I neglected to say how we loved Clinton’s bride-to-be, Tanya, the moment that we met her. Her Spirit just shined and we felt we just instantly bonded. Her mother and her brother were equally charming. They are a choice family reserved for these last days!
The limousine Clinton reserved for us all arrived at the apartment at 9:30 AM. Tanya, her mother, Lena, her brother, Valentine, his girlfriend, Ira, and the photographer were already in the limo.
Off to the local government building for the required civil wedding!
We met up with Tanya’s close friends, her Branch President and his wife, her grandmother and her mother’s friends. There were last minute details, like the boutonnière for Clinton.
Once we got to the government office, we waited for a little while for the officials to make sure everything was in order.
Tanya and Clinton designed the wedding dress. They wanted something simple yet some- what traditional. In my humble opinion, it is a classic and very beautiful!! Tanya hired a seamstress to make the dress.
Once the ceremony started, we were actually a part of it all so I did not get any pictures of that. But … Tanya sent some over that her friends took.
As part of the wedding ritual, they had to step on a special wedding cloth… which Valentine and Oksana laid down before them. Other parts of the ceremony included each was given a candle to light and then they used those candles to light a “family candle” together representing beginning their new family, tying their wrists together in this cloth and the traditional dance together.
The ceremony lasted about one-half hour. I just love this picture that one of Tanya’s friends took as they came out of the building!
I liked a couple of buildings that were across the street from this building. I was interested to see how Ukrainian architecture compared to Hungarian.
Here are two of Tanya’s favorite people – the Branch President and his wife, Victor & Sveta. Sveta went to the temple Friday, July 26, 2013 with Tanya and Lena, when they went to receive their endowments, a necessary step before the sealing ordinance. I believe Tanya and Lena had been to the temple to do baptisms for their dead ancestors before this date (1 Corinthians 15:29). The limo made back and forth trips from the yellow building to the restaurant to get everyone there..
Look at this darling loaf of bread! The mother of the groom (me) had to present this bread to the married couple – with some sage words of advice and/or encouragement. The bread was presented on a fancy traditional table-runner-sized cloth. (I was pretty weepy during this.) Then the bride’s mother had some salt and she said something about that (in was in this foreign language and no one translated it for us…). Then Tanya and Clinton took a bite of the bread. The theory is whoever took the largest bite would be the domineering person in the family (I think both were trying to take as small a piece as possible!). Then they had to take another piece of the bread and dip it into the salt and feed it to each other. (I think that represented the first trial in their marriage…)
Then we sat at our places in the restaurant and look at the beautiful food: salads, cheeses, fruit, rolls – all the healthy kinds of foods that Tanya and Clinton love. Notice the decorated goblets that were used to swallow some water after the “bread and salt ceremonies.” One of Tanya’s friends made them.
Don’t you love this colorful cake? It tasted good, too! Rolled frosting is big in this part of the world, I am thinking, after seeing one in the Hungarian wedding, too.
Tanya and Clinton worked together to take the small cake off the top. I told them of the American tradition of saving a piece of the wedding cake for a year in the freezer and eating it on the one year anniversary date. They did not think that would work! For a year??
We were running a bit late as we left the restaurant. We still had a 3 hour trip up to the Kiev Temple. But then when they were looking for the wedding certificate, they realized that the lady who married them, took it from Tanya, when they were posing for pictures. So back to the government building. They were closed for LUNCH! After some banging on windows and doors, they finally opened up the door and retrieved the certificate. Clinton and Tanya were unfazed by the whole thing…. very cute reaction! They both just knew that their wedding day would be perfect – no matter what!
No posting of Elder Felsted sleeping – not as cute as that picture!! Their photographer really loves his job. We stopped at picturesque places along the way and he posed them in the middle of a huge sunflower field, down by a stream, in a field of large round hay bales…
While others were napping, Valentine and I had some interesting discussions about the Church, about his schooling and he was wonderful to translate some conversations between us two mothers… His English was very good, as is Tanya’s.
Luckily the Temple allowed Clinton and Tanya to change their sealing time of 5 to 7 PM. We got there at 6:15 PM and the photographer took a few more pictures in front of the temple before the sealing ceremony.
Once inside the temple, Valentine and Ira and the photographer sat in the waiting room. Only LDS members in good standing are allowed inside the temple. Also, picture taking is not allowed inside the temple – in order to maintain the quiet spiritual reverence that is present there. (This temple does not have a visitor’s center and it has started to rain very slightly at 6:30.) Did I mention that the weather was gorgeous the whole time we were in the Ukraine?? Budapest was having unbearable heat (90s) when we left!
The temple workers are so wonderful – no matter which temple you attend. It was the same here in Kiev. Everyone is so loving and kind and they attended to Tanya and Clinton and her mother and us. The “sealer” is a man who has a personal calling from our Prophet to be in that position. He was an American, and on a temple mission to work in the Kiev Temple. He took the time to review the covenants that Tanya and her mother had taken the previous Friday and compared them to steps in a ladder on their path to return to Our Father In Heaven. There was a native Ukrainian woman temple worker who translated his words into Russian. We believe that the sealing ordinance is at the top of the ladder on this pathway to return to God.
Then the sealer had Tanya and Clinton kneel across the altar from each other, holding hands, and he read the ordinance in Russian and repeated it in English, as they agreed to this New and Everlasting Covenant, sealing them together for Time and All Eternity. It was a very touching moment and the Spirit was testifying that this was truly a marriage made in heaven. We knew that Tanya and Clinton felt really married in God’s eyes through this sealing ordinance.
Afterwards, the sealer showed them two mirrors which are across from each other in the sealing rooms. As they gazed at their images which seemed to go forever in one direction, the sealer told them to imagine that you are looking at all your ancestors – it goes back to Adam. Then looking in the next mirror, you see the same images, but now imagine you are looking at your posterity, which can go on forever. Pretty sobering thoughts – which are really not part of the ceremony but a reminder to take care of our ancestors (why we do temple work for them) as well as our posterity.
After the sealing, we (including the limo driver and the photographer) had very nice dinner at the hotel where Tanya and Clinton were staying. Then the limo driver, the photographer, Lena, Valentine and his friend, left for a long ride home to Cherkassy, We got a taxi to a hotel back near the Temple.
Clinton waited for many years to find Tanya. Tanya told me that she knew when she first met Clinton that he was the one – so she waited a while, too! They found a nice apartment and are living in Cherkassy at the moment. Clinton can manage most of his business dealings from there. Eventually, I imagine they might visit America – Tanya has not been able to get a visa into the USA so far; maybe as a spouse, she can. Perhaps they have a mission to accomplish in the Ukraine – at least that is what Mom and Dad Felsted think!
We also believe that this is just another blessing because of our service to God – first as temple workers and now on our mission. We are truly BLESSED!