Church in Mexico Growing in Faith and Numbers
Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
- Elder Christofferson spent a few days in late August visiting several cities in southern Mexico.
- Counsel to the Mexican Saints focused on the importance of developing faith in Christ.
“It was uplifting and encouraging to see and hear them and get a sense of their maturity.” —Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Elder D. Todd Christofferson is no stranger to Mexico. It’s a country he came to know and love while serving in Area Presidencies there from 1994 to 1997.
Now a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, he recently spent time revisiting the land he once called home. He said he returned uplifted “by just how much the Church has grown in strength and maturity over the course of those two decades.”
Elder Christofferson spent a few days in late August visiting several cities in southern Mexico. He presided over a variety of training conferences and devotionals attended by thousands of local priesthood leaders, missionaries, and members. He visited temples and enjoyed a rehearsal of the cultural event scheduled for the eve of the September 13 rededication of the Mexico City Mexico Temple.
In an interview with the Church News, the Apostle said he was especially impressed by the Latter-day Saint youth he encountered during his multi-city trip.
“It was uplifting and encouraging to see and hear them and get a sense of their maturity,” he said.
Elder Christofferson presided over priesthood leadership conferences in Veracruz and Mexico City and at training meetings for stake and ward councils in the cities of Coatzacoalcos and Morelia. Various Area Seventies and members of the Mexico Area Presidency—including Elder Benjamín De Hoyos, Elder Paul B. Pieper, and Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela—joined him at the gatherings.
At each gathering, the Brethren focused their counsel on the importance of developing faith in Christ.
“We talked about self-reliance, fasting and fast offerings, worship in the home and in the Church on the Sabbath day.”
Elder Christofferson said he was especially impressed by the faith and commitment of the Mexican sisters.
Local priesthood and auxiliary leaders also reviewed methods to improve their stake and ward councils.
“Through councils, we can know the mind and will of the Lord,” said Elder Christofferson. An effective stake or ward council, he added, is not concerned with merely reaching a consensus. “Councils facilitate revelation,” he said.
Key segments of each training were question-and-answer sessions that afforded Elder Christofferson and the other visiting General Authorities face-to-face opportunities to understand and address the members’ needs and concerns.
Elder Christofferson said he was also “thrilled and humbled” to spend time with scores of missionaries. He met with elders and sisters from seven missions in southern Mexico, including those receiving training at the missionary training center in Mexico City.
“The missionaries’ questions were deep and thoughtful,” he said. “They care about the right things.”
The Apostle became well acquainted with the Mexico City Missionary Training Center facility when it housed the Church-operated Benemérito De Las Americas high school. “It was always an oasis in the midst of the city, and it’s even more so now.”
More than a million Latter-day Saints call Mexico home. Many are first-generation members, while many others have LDS grandparents and even great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents.
Strength is also found across the country in the form of tens of thousands of returned missionaries. Their spiritual strength is regularly fortified while worshipping in one of Mexico’s 12 temples.
Many of the nation’s young single adults enjoyed an evening with the Apostle in special gatherings in Mexico City and Veracruz.
In Xalapa, Elder Christofferson delivered a letter of condolence from the First Presidency to the family of Elder Ricardo Alberto Cuevas. The 20-year-old missionary passed away in his sleep on July 16 while serving in the Costa Rica San Jose East Mission.
Elder Cuevas’s mother and stepfather graciously welcomed Elder Christofferson into their home. They earlier received mementos of thanks from fellow missionaries serving in Costa Rica and Xalapa, Mexico.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson and Sister Katherine Christofferson, center left, stand outside the Mexico City MTC with Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela and Sister Silvia Pilar Valenzuela, center right, and MTC leaders and their wives. Photo courtesy of the Mexico Area.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson conducts a question-and-answer session with missionaries during his August 2015 visit to southern Mexico. Photo courtesy of the Mexico Area.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson shares counsel with full-time missionaries studying at the Mexico City MTC. Photo courtesy of the Mexico Area.