Faith and obedience—these two gospel principles have been paramount in the
life of Elder Ulisses Soares of the Presidency of the Seventy. Single-minded in their service to
the Lord, Elder Soares and his wife, Rosana, spent their lives transforming obstacles into
Elder Soares, at the age of 46, was called April 2, 2005 to the First Quorum
of the Seventy. His is an unruffled attitude with an eye to detail honed by many years of Church
responsibility in which he served for 10 years as director of temporal affairs for all of Brazil,
as a stake president, and as a mission president in Portugal.
He has a full partner in his wife who "walked by her own light." As a
converted young woman, she unfailingly attended early-morning seminary during her high school years,
Born to Apparecido and Mercedes Carecho Soares on October 2, 1958, in São
Paulo, Brazil, Elder Soares learned from them the importance of obeying the Lord’s commandments. But
it was an aunt who sent missionaries to his family in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in about 1963. His parents
began attending branch services with a few others on the upper floor of a bakery. Even years later,
Elder Soares remembered the warmth of the members, mingling with the smell of fresh bread baking at
mid-meeting. "I still have great memories of that time," he said. His parents were baptized after
a few months and he followed when he turned 8.
Neighbors invited the 9-year-old Rosana Carecho and her older sister to Church
meetings. Though her parents allowed her to attend, they did not allow her to be baptized, year
after year, despite her pleadings. Finally, when she was 17, her father gave her the birthday
present of permission. Her mother would not speak to her as she walked from the house into a rainy
day of penetrating cold on her way to be baptized.
"I was very happy anyway," she said of her baptism. After her baptism, she
served in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission. After a year or so, she briefly encountered Elder
Ulisses Soares, serving as a traveling trainer.
He completed his mission and returned home and became engaged to someone else.
Seven months later, she completed her mission and these two, casual acquaintances, met at a dance.
"When we saw each other, something changed in our hearts," said Elder Soares.
Not long after, he turned to his fiancee and said, "This is not right," ending the engagement. He
and Rosana eventually began dating and after two years were married in the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple
on October 30, 1982, and they were blessed to raise three children.
They were very happy and looked forward to having a family. But children did
not come. In fact, doctor after doctor told them she would never have children.
"We have learned how to develop faith and obey the commandments," he said.
She underwent surgeries, all with the same disappointing results. "We both
felt so strong that we would be able to bring souls into this world," he said.
"We were praying and fasting, but doctors all were saying the same thing and
we were getting discouraged." One day they met a member with similar problems who referred them to
yet another doctor. This doctor was optimistic and after more expensive surgeries, she became
expectant and delivered a son.
Later, two more children were lost in pregnancy. "We felt we should be faithful
to deserve to live with (them) again," he said.
More surgeries were experienced. Then two more children, daughters, were born.
"We were tremendously blessed," he said. Today, the family enjoys "just being
together, telling stories and jokes," said Elder Soares. They enjoy vacations as well. Once, while
vacationing in Paris, France, they were waiting in a crowded subway for a train. When it stopped,
it was so crowded they decided to wait for the next one and stepped back, except for their
14-year-old daughter, who boarded the train.
As the train zipped off, the parents became frantic, surrounded by the crowds,
speaking another language. They considered a taxi, but "we didn't even know where the next stop was."
They waited for the next train, trying to fight off panic. They boarded in a
rush and when they climbed off, there was their daughter, calmly looking around.
"We jumped off the train and we ran to her and hugged her, crying. She turned
to us and said, 'Why are you so upset? Everything is fine.' "
In their early marriage he received two bachelor's degrees in business and
accounting, and economics and an MBA. Then, while their son was a baby, it was her turn to attend
the university. At night, he stayed home with the baby while she attended school, graduating in
Portuguese and literature.
"The only time she could go to school was when I was home taking care of the
baby," he said. "We made a covenant with the Lord that we would take care of our children when
were finally blessed with them. When she became pregnant, she left her employment. She never went
back to work."
He was working for Pirelli Tire Co. when Donald L. Clark, director of
temporal affairs, phoned and offered him a job with the Church, for not as much money but a good
future, said Brother Clark. Although at first reluctant to leave a situation in which he felt he
could be a good example for the Church, Brother Soares accepted a job as senior auditor.
Two years later, "I promoted him to be my assistant, and when I was called
to a mission, he became the DTA at 31, one of the youngest ever in the Church," said Brother
Clark, who is now retired and living in Atlanta, Ga.
"He always had a level head and kept his emotions in control and thought
through his decisions. He always tried to stay in policy and was completely loyal."
A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Elder Soares and his wife, Rosana Fernanda
Morgado Soares, traveled occasionally to the United States for training as director of temporal
affairs for the Brazil South Area. Committed to attending church wherever they traveled, the
Soareses remember one Sunday a good Samaritan friendshipped them at church. Grateful for this
instant friendship, Elder and Sister Soares realized an additional blessing later that night when
they needed his help again. An expectant mother, Sister Soares miscarried.
Elder Soares tearfully recalls: “I didn’t know anybody; I didn’t know the
medical system. But the Lord protected us.” Their newfound friend proved to be the Lord’s answer
to their prayers, helping them to obtain much-needed medical care. “We were protected,” Elder
Soares testifies, “because we went to church that day.”
During his service, the office handled an estimated 600 building projects,
and supported the Church as its membership in Brazil grew from about 208,000 to 548,000 members.
"He is very loved by the Brazilian people," said Marta Pessoa, who was
his secretary. "He was not my chief, he was my teacher. Everything I know about this work I
learned from him." She said working with his family was "very marvelous."
During this time, he also served as stake president, said Elder
Adhemar Damiani of the Seventy, who served as president of the Campinas
Brazil Temple. "He was a good teacher. He would teach the leaders and members, especially about
the doctrine. As a stake president, he was a wonderful leader."
His service as DTA ended with a phone call from President
James E. Faust of the First Presidency, who called him to be president of the Portugal Porto
Mission. Seven weeks later, with visas in hand that usually take six months, the family landed in
Portugal where they remained for three years and three months. In addition to missionary work,
President and Sister Soares each located and took to the temple many thousands of family names
from Portugal, the homeland of their forebears. Once, Sister Soares visited a small town where
nearly all the residents were distant relatives. She was warmly welcomed.
"It was amazing to see how the Lord prepared all things just because of our
faith to do what the Lord commanded," he said. "We fell in love with Portugal. That was the
highlight of our lives up to that moment."
Elder Soares is ever grateful for the blessings he has received through
obedience and faith in our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. “It’s just a wonder to see
how much we can progress through the Atonement. If we apply it with faith,” he added, “we will
have a happy life—forever.”
He served in a variety of capacities, including mission president, stake
president, high councilor, and missionary in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission.
On April 6, 2013, was called into the Presidency of the Seventy. He, however
continues to serve in the First Quorum of Seventy at this writing.