Wilson Di Paula—San José, Uruguay
October 2019

“Wilson Di Paula—San José, Uruguay,” Liahona, October 2019

Portraits of Faith

Wilson Di Paula

San José, Uruguay

Wilson and his daughter sitting at home

A motorcycle accident left Wilson paralyzed. A year later his wife passed away. As a widower with two little girls, Wilson did not know what to do. He didn’t know if there was a purpose in life. Wilson could have become bitter. Instead, he began searching for truth.

Cody Bell, photographer

After my motorcycle accident and the loss of my wife, I was left with two little girls to raise. I really didn’t know how I was going to raise my daughters in a wheelchair. This accident completely changed my life.

I had many questions. Why do bad things happen? I was going along trying to do the right things, and my wife was taken from me and I was left in a wheelchair. Then doctors had to operate on my daughter’s head to remove a tumor. I began to think that there was no purpose in life.

I realized that I needed to find the truth. I investigated various religions and found The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I felt that it was the truth.

I learned that there is a life after this one, and when we die, it is possible to be with the ones we love. This brought me joy because of the 10 beautiful years that I had had with my wife.

Finding the gospel changed my life in every sense. I began to have peace of mind and peace of conscience. Happiness entered my family as we went to church every Sunday. We came home strengthened. We were baptized and eventually sealed for all eternity in the temple in Argentina.

Now I keep moving forward in the Church. I’ve served as a counselor in the bishopric, and I try to learn from all of my experiences, from all of life’s tests. This gives me strength. As I’ve been sitting in a wheelchair for more than 20 years, I’ve learned that happiness comes from inside. One learns more every day. For that I feel grateful.

I now know that there is a purpose for being on earth. We are here as part of Heavenly Father’s eternal plan. We have a Savior who overcame death and was resurrected. Knowing this gives me strength. Now, I strive to persevere and continue forward. I have a purpose and I know that as I try to live a worthy life, I can have an eternal family.

Wilson next to a window while Sofia looks on

Despite the challenges Wilson and his daughter Sofia face, the gospel brings them peace, happiness, and strength. Sofia has lived with her father since her surgery. Wilson finds joy serving in the Church.

Wilson in the kitchen

Cooking as he maneuvers a wheelchair around the kitchen is one of many skills Wilson has developed since an accident left him paraplegic.

Wilson studying the scriptures

Wilson finds hope and strength from the Savior as he studies the scriptures.

missionaries praying with Wilson and his daughter at the table

Missionaries join the Di Paula family for dinner. Wilson’s love of the gospel is a strength in his family and to the Church.

Wilson looking out a window

After a serious accident and the death of his wife, Wilson questioned the purpose of life. He found purpose when found the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Wilson at the doorway while his daughter walks outside holding dogs

Wilson and Sofia find hope in the gospel. Spending more than 20 years in a wheelchair hasn’t stopped Wilson from serving in meaningful ways.

Wilson smiling while daughter stands nearby

Wilson’s smile gives evidence of the spiritual abundance in his life. “Happiness comes from inside,” Wilson says. “One learns more every day.”

missionaries eating dinner with Wilson and his daughter

As they eat together, the Di Paula family shares more than food with the missionaries, they also share their love and gratitude for the gospel.