Elder Juan Pablo Villar: ‘Exercising Our Spiritual Gifts’

General Authority Seventy

Notable quotes:

“Just as reading and learning about muscles is not enough to build muscle, reading and learning about faith without adding actions is insufficient to build faith.”
“Let’s accept the invitation of President Russell M. Nelson and intently come unto the Savior by identifying those muscles that need more spiritual activity and starting to exercise them.”
“If we want to increase our faith, then let’s do things that require faith.”

Summary points:

  1. Faith, like muscles, need to be exercised.
  2. Heavenly Father helps His children develop spiritual gifts by providing them opportunities to exercise them.
  3. Exercise of faith is required to expand one's spiritual gifts.

Talk summary:

When Ivan, the older brother of a 16-year-old Juan Pablo Villar, came home and announced he was going to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, into which he had been baptized just a year earlier, Juan Pablo felt admiration for him.

Months later, when Juan Pablo took the opportunity to visit his missionary brother, he was surprised by how different it was from what he imagined.

Not a member of the Church himself, Juan Pablo had no idea what to expect when it came to spending the day with a missionary. But during his single-day visit, he spent 10 hours following Ivan and his companion as they walked the streets greeting people, knocking on doors and teaching people about Jesus Christ.

Although the brother and his companion never taught Juan Pablo directly, "I gained more knowledge than in all my previous conversations with [my brother]. … Looking back, I realize that my faith grew that day because my brother gave me the opportunity to put it in action. I exercised it as we read from the scriptures, looked for people to teach, bore testimony, served others and so on."

Much like the muscles of the human body, faith requires exercise in order to grow and be used. The example of his brother helped facilitate accepting the invitation to follow Christ, be baptized and serve a mission.

Exercising faith is not easy at the beginning, but through continual exercise, children of the Lord will be strengthened and expand the spiritual gifts with which they have been blessed.

About the speaker:

  • Elder Juan Pablo Villar was sustained as a General Authority Seventy on March 31, 2018.
  • Prior to his call as a General Authority, he was serving as a member of the Seventh Quorum of the Seventy in the South America South Area.
  • Elder Villar received a bachelor's degree in social communications and public relations in 1994.
  • He received a master’s degree in marketing in 2002 and a master of business degree from Brigham Young University in 2007.
  • He was born Juan Pablo Villar Saavedra in Valparaiso, Chile, on September 11, 1969.
  • He married Carola Cristina Barrios in 1994. They are parents of three children.