“Could I Leave My Great-Grandmother?” Ensign, Jan. 2011, 66
When I turned 21, I wanted to serve a mission. My great-grandmother, Margarita Sippo de Lallana, supported my decision even though that meant she would be alone. She had reared me since I was small, and I was concerned about who would care for her while I served.
We had been baptized in 1978, when I was 11 and my great-grandmother was 73. We soon quit attending our meetings, but concerned brothers and sisters from the Church came looking for us.
I became active again, and ward members looked forward to my ordination. “We’re going to have a deacon!” they would say excitedly. At that time our ward had no Aaronic Priesthood holders. I became the president of the deacons quorum because there weren’t any other deacons. I wondered why they would give me such a calling, but I came to understand that ward leaders were training me in priesthood responsibilities. As a result, I tried to be faithful.
My grandmother, however, remained less active, attending meetings only occasionally. But she supported my decision to serve because she knew in her heart the gospel is true.
When I turned in my missionary papers in 1990, most full-time missionaries called from Córdoba served in the Argentina Buenos Aires North or South Missions. I was sure I would be called to one of those two missions and not be too far away from my great-grandmother.
Later, when my stake president called, he told me that I needed a passport because I was going to Colombia instead! Despite my ongoing concerns, my great-grandmother encouraged me to go. Just before I left, she promised that she would return to church the very next Sunday and go to the temple before I returned. This was difficult to believe but made it easier for me to leave her.
While I was on my mission, she did exactly what she had promised. Although in her 80s, she not only attended all of her meetings but also arrived on time. And she prepared for and went to the Buenos Aires Argentina Temple.
After a 12-hour, all-night bus ride returning from that first trip to the temple, my great-grandmother arrived at our ward meetinghouse on Sunday morning at 8:30, shortly before Church meetings began. Our stake president, Rúben Spitale, told her, “Let me take you home so you can rest.”
“No,” she replied. “I’m going to church.” And she did.
After I returned from my mission, we attended the temple together three times before she passed away in 2000. Because of my mission, we were both blessed. Had I stayed home, I’m confident none of these blessings would have occurred.