“All of This Blesses Me”09684_000_011
If it’s Saturday, you’ll find Elvira Guagliarello busily working in the kitchen of her home in Puerto Madryn, located on the shores of Argentina’s Nuevo Gulf in the southern province of Chubut.
She measures out flour and water and then reaches for other ingredients. She says little as she works, her actions speaking louder than her words. After all, she’s on the Lord’s errand.
“I feel good because I know I am doing something good,” says Sister Guagliarello as she mixes the ingredients. She thinks of the Savior as she works, happy with the thought that the product of her service will help other members of the Church remember Him.
Sister Guagliarello, age 82, enjoys serving as a visiting teacher, helps direct the music in her ward, and makes bread for use in the ordinance of the sacrament—a calling she has magnified for nearly 10 years. She prepares a loaf of bread for herself earlier in the week, but on Saturdays she sets aside time to make bread “especially for the Church,” she says. “I say to myself, ‘I have to make bread, and I have to go to church.’ I don’t want to fail.”
Health permitting, she also attends the temple—making an annual 20-hour bus trip north to the Buenos Aires Argentina Temple.
“Sister Guagliarello is always happy to serve in every way she can,” says her bishop, Jesús Santos Gumiel. “Ward members know they can count on her. Despite her age, she is faithful in preparing the bread every Saturday and in coming to church every Sunday. She’s a good example.”
Sister Guagliarello met the full-time missionaries in 1962 in Mar del Plata, south of Buenos Aires, while working in a boarding house where they lived. When she recognized them knocking on doors 15 years later, after she had moved to Puerto Madryn, she took the discussions, was baptized, and began her life of service in the Church.
Today she lives by herself, but she doesn’t feel alone. She has her scriptures and her ward family, and she communes frequently with her Heavenly Father through prayer. In addition, she enjoys the companionship of the Spirit, which the Lord has promised to those who serve Him by serving others. 1
“All of this blesses me,” Sister Guagliarello says with a smile. “The Church puts us to work, and that makes me happy. I have always found joy in serving our Father in Heaven.”
Making the Most of Senior Years
The key to feeling useful and overcoming loneliness is to look for ways to help others who are in need. President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) suggested that senior members of the Church consider serving in the following ways:
Working in the temple and attending often.
Collecting and writing family histories.
Becoming involved in missionary service.
Building family togetherness.
Accepting and fulfilling Church callings.
Rendering Christlike service.
Staying physically fit, healthy, and active.
From Ezra Taft Benson, “To the Elderly in the Church,” Ensign, Nov. 1989, 4–6.
Top: photograph by Michael R. Morris