President Thomas S. Monson offered this wise and timeless counsel to any Latter-day Saint feeling a bit overwhelmed with a Church calling or assignment: “Remember that whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies.”
Elder Rubén V. Alliaud knows President Monson was speaking the truth.
When the newly called General Authority Seventy was just 15 or 16 years old — and a fledgling Church convert — he was called to fulfill several demanding callings in his branch.
Looking back, he realizes those assignments were likely beyond his capacity. But he also was never alone in Church service. He knew he was called by the Lord through his local priesthood leader.
Meanwhile, young Rubén’s desire to serve qualified him for the calling.
“My branch president gave me callings that you typically wouldn’t give to a teenager,” he said. “But that meant I could never miss Church. I think I only missed Church once from the time that I was baptized until the time I went on my mission.”
Elder Alliaud is certain that the Lord knows his children and wants all of them to enjoy the full blessings of the restored gospel
He was 14 when he left home to spend a year with his Uncle Manuel in the United States. Elder Alliaud said during those teenage years he had been developing a “rebellious spirit.” His father, Rubén Reynaldo Alliaud, had died a short time earlier.
So his mother, Maria Beatriz Bustos Alliaud, accepted her brother’s invitation and sent her son to Houston to be with him and his family.
She had one condition of her younger brother: Do not share his Latter-day Saint beliefs with her Catholic son. Uncle Manuel agreed.
But the spirit of the gospel communicated with the struggling teenager in other ways. He observed the many ways that the Church united the Bustos family.
The shelves in Rubén’s guest bedroom held hundreds of copies of the Book of Mormon. Curious, he pulled out a Spanish copy and discovered Moroni’s promise located at the front of the book. Through his words, the ancient prophet assured the young man that he could know the Book of Mormon was true through prayer.
“That promise touched me in a strange way — I wanted to read the book,” he said.
Rubén took Moroni’s promise to heart and prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true. He received an affirmative answer before telling his surprised uncle that he wanted to be baptized.
Honoring his agreement, Uncle Manuel didn’t discuss the gospel. Instead, he immediately sent Rubén back to Argentina where he could receive his mother’s permission to join the Church. He was soon baptized — but only after a thorough “baptismal interview” with his mother. She wanted to be certain that her son was “all in” in his commitment to the restored gospel.
With the Lord’s help, he began fulfilling a number of challenging Church callings. But he also longed to belong to a branch with more young people his own age.
“So I knocked on my branch president’s door and said, ‘President, I’m here by myself, there are no youth here.’”
The branch president offered a simple solution before closing the door: “Well, go find them.”
So he set out to find youth to join him at Church by first reaching out to his friends. He also secured a list of the less active youth in his ward and made contact with them, inviting them to return to the Church.
Young Rubén learned early that blessings often follow hard work and personal effort. He also came to value loving leaders who ministered to him and helped him grow as a man and a priesthood holder. Those teachings would serve him well when he left Argentina in 1986 to serve a full-time mission in Uruguay.
“The mission was like a school that set the pattern for my life; it was everything for me,” he said.
A young Uruguayan woman named Fabiana Bennett Lamas belonged to one of the wards assigned to Elder Alliaud. She admired him from a distance, even writing in her journal about the principles he had taught during sacrament meeting talks. She invited her non-member friends to Sunday School classes that were being taught by the young elder.
“He was an excellent missionary,” she remembered. “Everybody loved him — the children, the adults, the older folks. … I knew that this was the sort of person I hoped to marry one day.”
Still, she never figured to see the Argentine again after he completed his mission.
Three years later, Rubén returned to Montevideo. Fabiana was pleasantly surprised when he showed up at her ward one Sunday.
“I couldn’t believe it — and he remembered me,” she said, laughing.
Elder Alliaud was dating several young women at the time. He was busy establishing his legal career and remembers hoping to find the right person and start a family of his own. But he had not made it a matter of prayer. So, just as he had years earlier when studying the Book of Mormon, he asked the Lord for guidance.
The image of the young Uruguayan woman entered his mind.
He organized a family trip to return to his mission country where he formally — and somewhat nervously — re-introduced himself to Fabiana. They spent time together and realized that they were a good fit. During a visit to the beach he gave her a kiss and asked her to be his wife.
Rubén and Fabiana were married on Dec. 17, 1992, in the Buenos Aires Argentina Temple. The Alliauds raised six children in the capital city where Elder Alliaud practiced law and, together, served in the Church. The two served as missionary companions when he presided over the Argentina Cordoba Mission.
The Alliauds are both humbled and excited to now serve alongside Latter-day Saints in all parts of the world.
They plan to share tried-and-true counsel with all they meet.
“Pay attention to what the prophet is saying,” said Elder Alliaud. “There is no more important message than to look to the prophet and the First Presidency for direction. We live in a complicated world — and the prophets are receiving revelations from the Lord to guide us.”
Peace and joy, added Sister Alliaud, are found “by looking to the Savior and following His words in whatever ways possible.