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News Release

Elder Christofferson Witnesses the Growth of the Church of Jesus Christ in Southern Africa 

During his 10-day ministry in South Africa, Madagascar, Angola and Mozambique, Elder Christofferson spends time with thousands of Latter-day Saints

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Kathy, concluded a 10-day ministry to countries in southern Africa on Monday, May 27, 2024. They visited and spoke with Latter-day Saints and missionaries in South Africa, Madagascar, Angola and Mozambique.

Elder Christofferson noted the dramatic growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Africa.

“The Church has been expanding worldwide, and it seems like there’s no particular corner of the world now that it’s not present and progressing — and that’s no more true than Africa,” he said. “The people are naturally spiritually inclined. They respond to things spiritual. They expect to have those feelings and to talk about Jesus Christ and to relate to their Heavenly Father. And so, they run to it, not from it, and we find that when we can teach them something in addition to what they already have, they respond to it with great enthusiasm, great joy.”

While Elder Christofferson was in South Africa and Mozambique, he held devotionals for the youth and young adults, which were broadcast to other countries.

The Apostle was impressed by the young people’s thoughtfulness and spirituality.

“They are focused. They’re moving ahead. They have goals. They have dreams. It’s exciting to see the enthusiasm, the vitality of the young generations.”

Dinalda Goçalves attended the meetings in Mozambique (where Church membership has increased 380% since 2010 to now nearly 25,000 Latter-day Saints) and learned how she could be an influence for good in her community.

“I learned how important [it is] to let our light shine so others can see through us what Jesus Christ [has] done for us and others can follow Jesus Christ too,” said Goçalves.

During his stop in Madagascar, Elder Christofferson spoke at a meeting for Latter-day Saints in Antananarivo, Madagascar, with attendance exceeding 3,000. He encouraged the members to be good citizens and promised they would be a blessing to their country. The Apostle also stopped by the site which will be the location of the country’s first house of the Lord.

He visited the Ratovonony family, who were some of the earliest members of the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar. Their home was used as a gathering place to worship before the Church constructed a meetinghouse on the island.

Returning to Angola for the first time in 14 years, the Christoffersons were pleased to be back in the country Elder Christofferson dedicated for the preaching of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in 2010.

In those 14 years, the Church of Jesus Christ has formed two regional groups of members (stakes), created a mission in Angola and announced a temple. Church membership has also grown from less than 1,000 to almost 6,000.

“I can’t say I’ve been everywhere in Africa, but each time it’s a spiritually rewarding experience,” Elder Christofferson said. “We teach Jesus Christ. They resound and respond to that. They are close to the Savior, and they bless all of us with that kind of feeling and the life they lead. They’re an example.” 

Isidro Bautista attended the devotional in Luanda, Angola’s capital. He was present 14 years ago when Elder Christofferson dedicated the country.  

“[It] was one moment very special because we never see one Apostle,” Bautista said. “So, when you see Elder Christofferson, [my testimony] grew because we [saw] an Apostle of the Lord.”  

While he ministered in Angola and Mozambique, Elder Christofferson was interviewed by local TV stations.  

During those interviews, he encouraged Latter-day Saints to build up their communities.

“We hope that the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be among the very best citizens of the country,” Elder Christofferson told one reporter.  

At the conclusion of his ministry in southern Africa Elder Christofferson and his wife, Kathy, visited Tambo Memorial Hospital, where he announced a significant donation from the Church of Jesus Christ to help the hospital care for and save premature babies. While in the hospital, Elder Christofferson felt strongly that every baby there is a child of God.

“We felt as we visited the very tiny children and some of the older, pediatric care children, patients and mothers that each life truly matters. Everyone is sacred. Each one is a child of God,” said Elder Christofferson. “There was, for me at least, a very deep feeling of how real that is when you see the life hanging in the balance and the tender child and the tender care given. It becomes more real, more evident.”

Zukiswa Mjamekuana, a pediatrician at Tambo Memorial Hospital, said the donation empowers her.

“One death is too many. We don’t want any child dying,” she said. “The donation makes us feel that we can do what we are supposed to do as doctors.”

Elder Christofferson was grateful for the efforts of the hospital staff to do all they can to tend to these babies.

“This is faith in action — and the most beautiful kind of example of faith in action that I can imagine,” he said.

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