From Eduardo Ayala: [We are honored to receive this submission from President Eduardo Ayala, current president of the Santiago Chile Temple. President Ayala was born May 3, 1937, in Coronel, Chile. He and his wife, Blanca Expinoza Ayala, were baptized in 1969. Before his baptism, he worked as an administrator with an electrical company in Santiago, Chile. In 1990, he became the first native Chilean called to serve as a General Authority, in the Second Quorum of Seventy. He was released after his five-year term in 1995, and called as the temple president.]

[As remembered by current Santiago Chile Temple President Eduardo Ayala Translated, annotated (in brackets) and concluded with his permission by Ted Dorff and Viviana Ayala The Spanish version of this story will be saved in the LDS-GEMS archives.]

In January of 1969 Elders Butler and Judd knocked on the Ayala family's door, where they were immediately received. For many years Blanca and Eduardo had hoped to receive a change in their lives in regards to a religion that would help them guide their children. The missionaries became great friends and taught them the missionary discussions over a six month period.

One doubt concerning the First Vision caused him to delay his baptism, but finally Elder Soto with his companion Elder Anderson were able to convey the Spirit to him and baptize him with his wife, Blanca, and eldest son Patricio on 26 June 1969 in the La Cisterna chapel.

During the time in which they were being taught, things of great transcendence occurred for the Ayalas. For example, when the Elders taught, they gave counsel from a book which they always kept covered. It seemed to him that this was a very special book because all of the answers concerning the gospel were given from this book. They never gave the name of the book until the end.

One day they asked him if he liked to read. When he answered that it was his favorite hobby, it was then that they showed him the book from which they obtained the gospel answers and asked what he would be willing to pay for a book like this. Eduardo answered with a significant figure, based on his knowledge of having bought many books of similar size and quality.

Then the missionaries asked if he would like to buy the book. Of course he wanted to because he had become extremely interested in it by this point. The missionaries gave him a pleasant surprise. They pulled the cover from the book he was so curious about, revealing that it was the Book of Mormon, and even gave it to him as a gift! Brother Ayala and his wife read it in less than two weeks, which definitely helped their conversion.

At first Brother Ayala was reluctant to attend church, which discouraged the missionaries a little. But his wife persuaded him and he began to attend regularly. Another great help was attending District Conferences in Santiago, wherein the Spirit was strong and they could better appreciate the organization of the Church.

There was great joy amongst the missionaries when the Ayalas were baptized after having worked with them for six long months to convert them. With time Brother Ayala was the Superintendent of the branch MIA, Branch President, High Councilor, District Counselor, District President and under his direction they formed the second stake of Santiago (and of Chile), La Cisterna.

[During the first ten years after baptism he enjoyed listening to General Conference on the radio, never imagining that he would be able to understand it without a translator and even less that he would be called to speak in the tabernacle twice. While serving as a stake president he gave up his respected and promising career and began to teach for the Church Educational System. He was a popular teacher at the Santiago Institute (the only one in Chile at the time) while directing seminaries throughout Chile.]

The La Cisterna Stake was divided twice while he was president. The second time he was called as the President of the El Bosque Stake. While in this capacity, the call was extended for him to be a Regional Representative of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and toward the end of the second year he was called as President of the Uruguay Montevideo Mission.

[This made him the first Chilean mission president to be called to serve inside or outside of his country.]

When he returned home in 1988 he was again called to serve as a Regional Representative. In 1990 he was called to form part of the Second Quorum of the Seventy. He served as a counselor in the South America South and South America North Area Presidencies. He was released October, 1995 and was called to serve as President of the Santiago Chile Temple [where he has been serving for the past two years].

In 1995 he met Elder Butler in Salt Lake, the missionary who knocked on his door and made the first LDS contact with him and his family. Eduardo Ayala told him that through the gospel, his life and that of his wife and three children received a change so great and special that they never could have expected it. They are happy and feel abundantly and eternally blessed by the Lord.

[Conclusion added by Ted Dorff and Viviana Ayala: Elder Ayala's life, known for his sense of humor, has been one of constant service and optimism since his conversion through the Book of Mormon. He has been given a gift of teaching and communicating with the Spirit. He has been known to carry love throughout congregations of Spanish South America and was described by President Hinckley in General Conference as a "courageous warrior" in spite of his petite frame. He is one that enjoys being alone with his family and never seeks public recognition, but is bold and unashamed when on the Lord's assignment.]