“The Price for Good Things,” New Era, Jan. 2006, 30–32
Personal experience has taught me that the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves and that we can trust in the promises made by priesthood leaders, knowing they come from the Lord through His Spirit. That Spirit will confirm to us that those promises will come to pass if we are faithful to the commandments.
When I was 14, I met two American missionaries. I was interested in hearing about the Book of Mormon, so we set an appointment for them to visit me. My entire family listened to the first discussion, but none of them were interested in continuing. I had felt something and sensed the message was true, so I asked my parents for permission to continue receiving the missionary discussions. They agreed, and when I was almost 15 years old, I entered the waters of baptism in the Godoy Cruz Branch, Mendoza Argentina District.
The next year I faced a great trial in my life: my parents separated. Thankfully, I had the Church during that difficult time and the support of excellent teachers, leaders, and friends. At about that same time, after being ordained a priest in the Aaronic Priesthood, I baptized my 11-year-old sister.
I worked full-time for the next few years, attending school in the evenings. When I was 19, I sent in my mission papers. I will always remember the day I received my call to the France Paris Mission. It was signed by President Joseph Fielding Smith, dated June 16, 1972, just weeks before he passed away.
After going through endless formalities to obtain a passport (I was underage, my parents were separated, and I was of military age), I was finally able to leave for my mission, a year and a half after completing my papers. I flew to Paris, France, with only my five years of high school French and without knowing any English. The zone conferences in my mission were in English. And I hadn’t been endowed yet because there were no temples in South America at that time.
One month after I began my service, President Willis D. Waite sent me with a young Frenchman, Jean Collin, to receive my endowment in the Swiss Temple. We traveled all night by train and spent three emotional and spiritual days there.
Six months into my mission, I had a special interview with my mission president during one of our mission conferences. In essence President Waite told me, “Elder Agüero, I’m going to give you an assignment. You have to learn English because when you return home you will be a member of a stake presidency, a mission president, and a leader in the Church. You will need English to communicate with the General Authorities.”
I laughed, perhaps because at the age of 20 I couldn’t see myself in these positions and because I came from a new stake in Argentina that was among only three that had been organized in the country.
He said, “Don’t laugh, Elder Agüero. I’m being serious.”
I felt the Spirit very strongly through this man, my leader, who then explained to me the way in which I was to fulfill this assignment.
He said, “From now on, you will speak only in English, every day, for half the day, with your companion.”
My companion received the same instructions in his interview, and we started doing so. It was extremely difficult for me at first, but later after much effort, I began to understand basic ideas. I prayed at night, crying many times out of frustration and helplessness because I wanted to be obedient to the task I had been given.
After some months and a few companions later, the miracle came. While a missionary was giving a beautiful talk in English during a zone conference, I suddenly began to understand every word. The miracle did not end there. Over time I came to serve as the mission’s financial secretary, which helped me read and write English. I tried to understand the language by reading Church News, the Ensign, and other English materials. Through these I was able to get a feeling for the English language, which is still with me today.
Shortly after I returned from my mission, my stake president asked me to interpret for Elder Hartman Rector Jr., then of the Seventy, who had come to Mendoza, Argentina, to preside over a stake conference. These marvelous opportunities have continued over the years. I interpreted for President Thomas S. Monson and other General Authorities during the 11 dedicatory sessions of the Buenos Aires Argentina Temple.
During four of those sessions, I read the dedicatory prayer in Spanish from the pulpit in the celestial room. My voice broke up several times because of my emotions; tears filled my eyes and flowed down my face. I was reading the inspired prayers and promises for my country from Heavenly Father, who lives and reveals His will, just as He did 12 years earlier through my mission president when I accepted the challenge to learn English.
I also interpreted for the prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, during the four dedicatory sessions of the Montevideo Uruguay Temple and the four dedicatory sessions of the Asunción Paraguay Temple.
It’s difficult for me to explain how sacred those moments were for me when I stood alongside prophets, seers, and revelators in the Lord’s house. I felt somewhat like Peter, James, and John when they had the amazing experience of seeing Jesus transfigured. Peter expressed my feelings when he told Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here” (Matt. 17:4).
From these and other experiences, I learned how the Lord works in our lives. The price for good things is paid in advance by our patience, humility, and obedience, especially during trials. If you don’t give up during your trials or let frustration and discouragement overcome you, trials will refine you spiritually and prepare you for better things. You will see the fulfillment of beautiful miracles in your life.