“Area Authority in Chile,” Ensign, Mar. 1999, 68–69
“The gospel has had the strongest influence in every aspect of my life and that of my family. In every decision we make, we have looked for the guidance of the Lord in order to ensure we are making the right choice,” says Elder Jorge F. Zeballos, Area Authority Seventy in the South America South Area.
One important decision came when he and his wife, Carmen Gloria, decided to marry. At the time, Chile was struggling under serious economic recession, and the temple in Santiago would not be completed for over a year. “Despite our short savings,” he says, “Carmen Gloria and I decided to travel to São Paulo, Brazil, to be sealed in the house of the Lord even though our economic resources only allowed us to fly from Santiago to São Paulo and then return by bus in a three-day trip.”
As a 12-year-old growing up in Ovalle, Chile, Jorge Zeballos saw four young Americans playing basketball on a team called “The Mormon Five” at a local tournament. He says, “I was really surprised when I found out they all had the same first name: Elder.” A few days later he asked an LDS friend at school to invite him to church. “From the very first time I went to church, I felt I belonged,” he remembers. He attended all the Church meetings for about seven months before a missionary learned he was not a member and invited him to hear the discussions; he was baptized a short time later.
Elder Zeballos says that serving a mission has been one of the best experiences of his life, one that greatly strengthened his testimony. “Even though I was the only member of the Church in my family, I received my parents’ support during my mission, including their financial aid,” he adds.
As manager of corporate affairs for Minera Escondida Limitada, the world’s largest copper mine in terms of production, Elder Zeballos has the opportunity to interact with many government authorities and visitors. He says, “This situation has provided me with a valuable opportunity to share the gospel with many people who are not always open to religious subjects.” As a result of gospel standards, he is recognized by his associates as a reliable and credible manager.
“I enjoy doing activities with my wife and our five children, such as traveling, playing sports and other games, and any other activities that keep us together,” Elder Zeballos says. “In our family, we have concluded that it is not important what country we live in; the important thing is that we are together. The only thing that gives me as much satisfaction as my family is being in the service of the Lord.”