Eduardo Ayala expected that the March 29 interview with President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, might mean a call for him and his wife to serve as missionaries somewhere. It came as a shock when President Hinckley called him to be a member of the Seventy.
Elder Ayala, a regional coordinator for the Church Educational System in Santiago, Chile, has made it a practice since his baptism twenty-one years ago never to withhold his service from the Lord in any way. He accepted the new call; only later, when he had time to think about it, did he begin to be awed by the spiritual responsibility that would be his.
He was sustained as a member of the Seventy, along with nine other men, during the afternoon session of general conference on March 31.
Afterward, the Ayalas shared their joy in the calling with their three children. Eldest son Patricio Eduardo, a photographer by profession, is their bishop in Santiago; he was eager to give the news to their ward the next day. Their daughter, Viviana Ester, lives in Japan, where her husband, a computer expert, is employed. Younger son Ricardo Antonio is a computer science major at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
Now fifty-two, Eduardo Ayala was born 3 May 1937 in Coronel, Chile, to Magdonio and Maria Aburto Ayala. He married Blanca Ester Espinoza, a native of Rinconada de Laja, Chile, on 7 February 1959.
Elder Ayala says that he owes his Church membership and activity to the patience and support of his wife. Missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first came to their door in 1969. Ester was soon ready to be baptized, but Eduardo was not enthusiastic about the missionaries’ message at first. She waited patiently, and when she agreed to a baptismal date six months after the missionaries began teaching them, he was prepared. Eduardo, Ester, and Patricio were baptized on 21 June 1969. Viviana and Ricardo were baptized later when they reached the age of eight.
Sister Ayala “has been my architect,” Elder Ayala says. “I am what you see because of the help of my wife.” He credits her not only with helping him find the gospel but also with helping him shape his own character in ways that make it possible for him to serve the Lord effectively. He notes that the challenges given to him by General Authorities during his years of Church service have been helpful, too; he has always taken pains to meet those challenges, and growth has always been the result.
Eduardo Ayala’s outstanding work in industrial planning for a mining company in Coronel won him a position in Santiago as a planner for three of Chile’s largest enterprises in the early 1970s. It was in Santiago, in 1974, that Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve called him to be a stake president and on the same day issued him the invitation to work in the Church Educational System in Chile. Since then, Elder Ayala has accepted successive calls as president of another stake, as a regional representative, as a temple sealer, as a mission president (in Uruguay), and as a regional representative again.
Sister Ayala says her husband has his own innate qualities that make him an effective leader and servant of the Lord. He communicates well with people and lets them feel his love. “He loves to help them better their lives,” Sister Ayala says. “He doesn’t put any limits on the time it takes him to serve.”
Elder Ayala expresses gratitude for his wife’s constant support and acknowledges the need in handling his new responsibilities to rely on the Lord. He and his wife are eager to serve the Church. “I have no fear in facing this calling, with the Lord for my guide and my wife to help me,” he says.