Elder Christofferson Instructs Mission Presidents, Meets Officials in Buenos Aires
Contributed By Heather Whittle Wrigley, Church News and Events
While in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from November 6 to 10, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy attended a two-day mission presidents’ seminar and met with local government officials.
Meeting with 14 mission presidents and their wives on November 7 and 8, Elder Christofferson said, “This is the first time your missionaries have lived the celestial law of consecration. … This creates an effect we may not notice. It makes a change internally. A sanctifying change.”
Also present were the members of the South America South Area Presidency—Elder Mervyn B. Arnold, Area President; Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis, First Counselor; and Elder Bradley D. Foster, Second Counselor—and Elder Stephen Allen, an Area Seventy who is Managing Director for the Missionary Department.
At one point during the seminar, local members put on a show that included various Argentine dances and songs and ended with a traditional “asado,” or Argentine barbeque.
Elder Christofferson addressed those present on the topics of the Book of Mormon, unity, and service.
Elder Christofferson told mission presidents, stake presidents, bishops, and other Church leaders: “To achieve unity, we should submit ourselves to [God’s] will. … It’s the influence of the Holy Ghost within your councils and meetings that you must have in order to overcome competition and move ahead with the same vision.”
He continued, “One important way to overcome our desire to be better than others is to focus on serving others. We naturally lose our desire to excel above others as we focus on helping others grow.”
Following his remarks, Elder Christofferson answered direct questions from those in attendance about building testimony, perseverance, and balancing authority.
“A leader in a ward shouldn’t say, ‘This is what I think we should do, and this is how. What do you think?’” he said. “What are they going to say? He already decided. Instead, without sharing his opinion, he should ask others their thoughts, including the sisters. This is working in councils, and we are teaching bit by bit throughout the world this counsel.”
He mentioned that the same principle applies in marriage, in callings, and in missionary companionships—the right of the priesthood is the right to suggest, he said.
Elder Christofferson ended by thanking the missionaries for their work: “If you remember nothing else, remember this sincere gratitude for accepting this difficult calling and entering in with faith.”
The following day, Wednesday, November 9, Elder Christofferson, accompanied by Elder Arnold; Elder Daniel A. Moreno, Area Seventy; and Carlos E. Agüero, area public affairs director, met with Mauricio Macri, the chief of government of Buenos Aires City, as well as with the minister of health, the director of religious affairs, and other government officials.
Elder Christofferson summarized what the Church does to serve the community through its different programs, including the Employment Resource Service, the Perpetual Education Fund, Humanitarian Services, and Mormon Helping Hands projects. Church leaders were presented with books celebrating Argentina’s bicentennial celebration of freedom from Spain, and government officials also received gifts of appreciation.