Spiritual Promptings Blessed Elder Adrián Ochoa’s Life
By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
A rich life has taught Elder Adrián Ochoa the power and importance of spiritual promptings. Such promptings have blessed this newly called Seventy—and allowed him to bring blessings to the lives of others.
Young Adrián Ochoa spent much of his youth divided between the sprawling city of Los Angeles, California, and the rural communities of Chihuahua, Mexico. Such diversity allowed him to learn two languages and move comfortably between two dramatically different cultures. His multicultural background would serve him well in a variety of capacities, including his most recent calling as a counselor in the Young Men general presidency.
The grandson of a faithful, Church-going woman, he was baptized when he turned 8. But he was never really involved in the Church while growing up. Adrián had a sharp mind for business and, by the age of 25, was enjoying a burgeoning corporate career when he was befriended by a pair of full-time missionaries.
He read the Book of Mormon for the first time, developed a deep love of that book, and turned his life over to the Lord. His testimony was the result of the Spirit’s gentle promptings. He would combine his love of the gospel with his business acumen as a public communications missionary in Monterrey, Mexico. He was able to preach the gospel working with the media and the government.
While serving in that industrial city in northern Mexico, he became acquainted with a recently baptized member named Nancy Villareal. The two recognized in one another similar spiritual convictions. Their friendship soon led to romance and marriage in the Mexico City Mexico Temple.
The Ochoas have raised five children, exposing them to the same cultural diversity that defined young Adrián’s upbringing.
Throughout their marriage, Elder Ochoa’s managerial skills—and his sensitivity to the needs of others—have been utilized in a variety of Church callings. As he performed his various duties, he was reminded again and again of the value of spiritual promptings. Listening to such promptings, he said, can impact the lives of countless others.
While serving as an Area Seventy in Mexico, Elder Ochoa spent a couple of days in his hometown city of Chihuahua counseling with a local stake president and others. After finishing his interviews he boarded a plane bound for home. But after taking his seat, he received a strong spiritual prompting that his work with members in Chihuahua was not finished.
The flight crew had begun making preparations for take-off. “But I knew I had to get off that plane,” he said.
He grabbed his bag and disembarked. A series of subsequent interviews yielded important information that resolved a difficult issue and permitted the spiritual progress of a family.
But the guiding influence of the Spirit still burned in his heart, and he realized his work in Chihuahua was still not done. He was led to the humble home of a cousin he had not seen in years. He found his estranged cousin—an inactive member—and her family in desperate straits. “I knew that the Church and Christ were their solution,” he said. “I begged my cousin to return to church.”
Acting on her own spiritual promptings, the cousin returned to Church activity. A precious family relationship was restored. The Lord was able to rescue several lives in Chihuahua because one man heeded the promptings of the Spirit. He would later write in his journal, “We all need to listen to the promptings.”
It is Elder Ochoa’s belief that all are entitled to such life-changing promptings. He has witnessed such promptings in the lives of countless young people. From 2004 to 2007, he presided over the Honduras San Pedro Sula Mission. Sister Ochoa served as his faithful companion.
There in the mission field they witnessed the lives of many young elders and young sisters forever changed when they invited the Spirit’s guiding influence into their lives. They rejoiced each time one of their investigators received a spiritual confirmation of the truth of the gospel and stepped into the waters of baptism.
“If a missionary trusts his Heavenly Father, and he is trustworthy himself, he can endure whenever he has a trial,” he said in a 2009 interview.
At the conclusion of their mission, Elder Ochoa would return to his business career. But his involvement with the young people of the Church was not over. In 2009 he was called to serve as the second counselor in the Young Men general presidency. That global calling offered him the opportunity to speak to young men across the world. Again, he taught the importance of seeking and following the sacred promptings of the Spirit.
Elder Ochoa said he was blessed to work with two strong mentors—Brother David L. Beck and Brother Larry M. Gibson—during his tenure in the presidency. He was again reminded of the importance of strong mentors in the lives of youth. He thinks back to the years he spent outside of Church activity and knows well the influence a gospel-grounded person can have in the life of another.
As a General Authority, Elder Ochoa works full-time in the service of the Lord.
He was recently assigned to serve as the second counselor in the Central America Area, allowing him to return to the region where he served as a mission president. As a mission president and general auxiliary leader, he has witnessed the miracle that is the Church in Latin America. Still, much is left to be done.
Once again, Elder Adrián Ochoa relishes the opportunity to encourage others to heed those sacred promptings that have influenced his own life.
Family: Born March 7, 1954, in San Francisco, California, to Eduardo and Consuelo Ochoa. Married Nancy Villareal in the Mexico City Mexico Temple. Five children: Aline Moretti (Giordano), Russell, Ingrid, Paulina, and Mariana.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in communication, Regiomontana University, Mexico; master’s degree in business and marketing, Monterrey Technical College, Mexico.
Career: Former college professor. Also worked in advertising and film production in the United States and Mexico and developed multiple marketing campaigns for some 500 companies.
Church service: Second counselor, Young Men general presidency, 2009–2013; president of the Honduras San Pedro Sula Mission, 2004–2007; high priests group leader; stake president; area public affairs director; Area Seventy.