News Release

Elder D. Todd Christofferson invites members in Spain to increase faith in Jesus Christ

Ministry visit to Europe includes stops in Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, and Spain

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, accompanied by his wife Sister Katherine Christofferson, started in Madrid, Spain, on February 24, 2024, a 11-day ministry tour that includes stops in six European countries. During this visit, Elder Christofferson will be meeting with Church members, missionaries, and government officials. Elder Brent H. Nielson, of the Presidency of the Seventy, accompanied by his wife Marcia Nielson, and Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, accompanied by his wife Carol Waddell, are also travelling with Elder and Sister Christofferson.

The first meetings were held in the meetinghouse of the Madrid temple complex. Elder Rubén V. Alliaud, the first counselor in the Europe Central Area Presidency, accompanied his wife Fabiana Alliaud, joined the visiting General Authorities in Madrid.

Meeting with missionaries from Barcelona, Madrid North, and Madrid South missions

On Saturday afternoon, more than four hundred missionaries from the Barcelona, Madrid North, and Madrid South missions, listened to the counsel of those visiting. Sister Waddell started out by saying that when she served with Bishop Waddell as Mission Leaders of the Barcelona Spain Mission, from 2006 to 2009, she saw miracles every day, as she observed how each missionary was able to teach different people at a different time in a unique way – the exact way that person needed to hear. She said that the “missionary work must start and end with the blessings of the gospel in sight”. Missionaries should see the real potential of those they are teaching and see how each one “can one day benefit from entering a temple and make sacred covenants with God”.

Bishop Waddell explained how missionaries can learn to make right choices. “It is not enough to just ask ‘what should I do’, but it is necessary to study, ponder and do all possible to make the right decision”, he said. “Then you have to confer the decision you’ve made with the Lord, and you will receive the answer if it is a good decision or not.”

Elder Nielson thanked the missionaries that were in attendance for having decided to heed to the Prophet’s voice. “When President Nelson mentioned the importance of gathering of Israel, you were then young man and young women. And yet you have accepted that invitation and now you are serving here in Spain. Let me tell you that there has never been a better time to serve in Spain, as more and more people are joining the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.” He then said that if the missionaries understand why they are serving, they will be able to bring the plan of happiness to all of God’s children in a more genuine way. “I hope you begin to see that you are engaged in something grand and majestic,”, he concluded.

Elder Christofferson was the last speaker and started his remarks by declaring the missionaries are the most valuable treasure of the Church in these latter days, because they share the responsibility of teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who are called as apostles. He called them “my companions” and thanked them for their efforts. He then invited them to do their best under all circumstances, regardless of the opinions of people., “especially when someone says that missionaries are too young to understand well the gospel of Christ and to teach it. You hold the authority to teach”, he said. “You should behave, speak, and do everything as real representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not give anyone any reason to stop believing about the sacred authority you have. They can decide if they want to believe or not, but you need to testify and teach in the name of the Lord, in the best possible way”.

He also invited the missionaries to use the Book of Mormon more in their efforts to invite all to know about Jesus Christ. He confirmed the Book of Mormon is the basis of his own testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. “It is a tool for our days, it is an instrument of congregation and reunion in our days”, he said, and if those interested “do not read the Book of Mormon, they cannot progress and learn about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ”.

Devotional with Young Adults

On Saturday evening, almost a thousand young adults gathered for a devotional that was broadcasted to all Spanish-speaking congregations of the Church in the Europe Central Area. After a musical number performed by an ensemble of young musicians, Bishop Waddell and Elder Nielson addressed the youth by sharing their own experiences when they were young adults and decided to start their own families.

Bishop Waddell invited the youth to always follow the living prophet and center their lives around the temples and the sacred covenants that are made inside. Elder Nielson explained that when he was starting his own family after he had completed his service as a missionary, it was a hard time in his life – as he was studying and working to support his spouse and their two young children. It was very difficult and challenging, he said, but “looking back, he said that those years were probably the best of our lives”, as they kept following the counsel of living prophets and started receiving the blessings because of their hard work. “We taught our children to follow the prophet and they’ve kept this counsel to this day”, he concluded, inviting the youth present to make the same type of sacrifice today.

Elder Christofferson also bore testimony of the value of sacrifice, and how it helps God’s children to become closer to Jesus Christ and be happier. He mentioned the mission and the sacrifice Jesus Christ made, so all could have the possibility to repent and one day live with God again. He said that “Christ has our names written in His hands. No one is forsaken, no one is left alone. Jesus carries those marks in his hands, the marks of the nails, so He can remember us, always, and take us back to His heavenly home”, he said. Concluding his remarks to youth gathered in Madrid and across Europe, he extended an invitation to have them focus on the needs of others, whether we know them or not. This is a good way to not feel so miserable”, he said.

Conference with members from the Madrid, Madrid East, and Madrid South stakes

On Sunday, Elder Christofferson presided over a tri-stake conference that included the Madrid, Madrid East, and Madrid South stakes. More than one thousand members physically gathered in the Madrid stake center, with an estimated four thousand members watching it via the internet.

Reflecting on the growth of the Church in Spain, Bishop Waddell invited the members to go and rescue all those that have lost their faith in Jesus Christ. He mentioned the parable of the Good Samaritan and the ministering of Jesus Christ to the people in America, after His resurrection, as examples we can all try to follow. “For some reason, some get lost in this journey. It is our responsibility to rescue them. If we do this, we will stay in the covenant path ourselves. And this is possible by the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

He then said that person in the parable is like his own father. After his father was baptized in the Church, he became less active and stopped attending Church. But there were two great ministering brothers that never gave up. “For more than 10 years, they never abandoned our family. They invited my dad to attend basketball games with the Lakers. Over time they became really good friends and finally my dad returned into full Church activity, and we were then sealed as a family in the Los Angeles temple.” He then cautioned the members to be patient in their efforts. “Some of those that got lost will return quickly, but some will take years to come back, just like it happened with my own family. But everything is possible because of Jesus Christ, He is the one that makes it possible.”

In her remarks, Sister Katherine Christofferson said that she was very thrilled to be in Spain and to have the opportunity to speak to members assembled in Madrid. She stated the importance of always doing the right thing, and not being afraid if there is no ‘Plan B’ when one follows God’s commandments. She shared the experience she once had, where she attended a premiere of a film, where she was told to stay for the entire duration of the movie, including when the movie credits would be shown. At end of the premiere, everyone applauded enthusiastically. They were obviously very happy about it. She was a bit surprised by that reaction, but then she quickly realized that most of those who were in the audience had participated in the making of the movie, playing many different roles. Without them, there would be no movie to celebrate.

She then compared that experience with the work that each person does in in the Church, even if it seems insignificant. “Without all others, the actors of the movie could not have been successful. It is the same in Christ’s Church. I see many working in the background to support the Church. It is very inspiring. Like those that stand up on the first Sunday of the month and share their testimony of the gospel with everybody”.

Elder Christofferson concluded the meeting by explaining how faith in Jesus Christ can be developed. In the book of Romans, in the Holy Bible, one can read that those that invoke the name of Christ will be saved. “Invoking means believing in Him and doing all the things that He has commanded us to do, like all the ordinances that are associated with the faith in Jesus Christ”, he said. He then gave three simple ways to increase faith in Jesus Christ. First, study the words of the prophets, both living and dead. Then, it is necessary to pray always to get to know God better and receive His spiritual orientation. Finally, it is essential to be willing to sacrifice, and by doing it, we will better understand what Jesus Christ did for all mankind.

“It is because of this principle of sacrifice that the Church today has enough resources to build temples in all parts of the world. President Nelson keeps announcing new temples for all the world in each general conference. The Church keeps building temples throughout the world, and we are opening new missions and new congregations because of the sacrifice you all decided to do”, he concluded.

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