“Elder Juan Pablo Villar,” Ensign, May 2018
Elder Juan Pablo Villar’s introduction to the Church came in Santiago, Chile, when his eldest brother, Ivan, announced to the family that he had been baptized without his parents’ approval and later said he planned to serve a mission. When asked why, Ivan shared his testimony and desire to serve.
“I didn’t understand all the meaning of that,” recalled Elder Villar, then age 17. “But at that moment, he put a seed in my heart.”
That seed was given a chance to grow when his brother referred him to the missionaries. During his first lesson, Elder Villar received his own testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
“For myself, it was not necessary to kneel down and pray, because the moment they shared their testimony, I knew in my heart it was true,” he said. “When I knew that, everything else had to be true.”
Ivan, serving in a neighboring mission, received permission to baptize Elder Villar in 1988. Later, their mother and other brother, Claudio, also joined the Church.
A year after his baptism, Elder Villar began serving in the Chile Viña del Mar Mission, beginning a life of service that has since included serving as a stake president, bishop, counselor in a bishopric, counselor in the Chile Santiago East Mission, and Area Seventy in the South America South Area. He was sustained on March 31, 2018, as a General Authority Seventy.
Elder Villar was born on September 11, 1969, in Valparaiso, Chile, to Sergio Villar Vera and Genoveva Saaverdra. He married Carola Cristina Barrios on March 31, 1994, in the Santiago Chile Temple. They are the parents of three children.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in social communications and public relations and a master’s degree in marketing, he worked in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry. In 2007 he added a master’s degree in business administration from Brigham Young University. Then he returned to Chile to work for Orica, a mining services company, most recently as a senior manager.