While hiking to the Machu Picchu ruins in Peru as a young missionary, Elder Juan A. Uceda slipped off the narrow trail. Desperately clinging to some branches and hanging 2,000 feet (610 m) above a river, he prayed intensely for help. Earlier that day he had prayed with his lips, he said, but “when I was about to perish, I prayed from the heart.” Just as he was about to fall, another missionary pulled him to safety.
One of the many lessons he said he learned that day was “always, always pray ‘with a sincere heart, with real intent, [exercising] faith in Christ’ (Moroni 10:4).”
Elder Uceda was sustained as a General Authority Seventy on April 3, 2010. He was serving as an Assistant Executive Director in the Missionary Department and an Area Assistant in the North America Southeast Area when he was called to the Presidency of the Seventy on August 1, 2017.
From 2010 to 2013 he served as a counselor in the South America Northwest Area Presidency, and from 2013 to 2016 he served as the President of the South America Northwest Area.
Elder Uceda was educated in Peru. He enrolled at Jose Carlos Mariátegui Institute in Lima, where he studied accounting and public relations. He also studied business administration at the Centro Andino de G.E. Institute. He is a graduate of San Luis Gonzaga University, where he was awarded a bachelor’s degree in public relations.
Elder Uceda worked in the Church Educational System as area director for Peru and Bolivia. He left Peru in 2003 to move to New Jersey, USA, to assist his father with their family business.
Since joining the Church in 1972, Elder Uceda has served in numerous callings, including full-time missionary in the Lima Peru Mission, first counselor in a stake Sunday School presidency, bishop, high councilor, counselor in a stake presidency, stake president, president of the Lima Peru North Mission (1992–95), and Area Seventy.
He married Maria Isabel Bendezu in March 1979. They are the parents of five children.