During late May, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, visited with people throughout Bolivia and Peru with his wife, Sister Kathy Christofferson.
Members and missionaries of the Church and community leaders had opportunities to hear Elder Christofferson’s testimony of the Savior as he stopped in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, Bolivia, as well as Iquitos, Chiclayo and Lima, Peru.
Forgiving and being forgiven
Cochabamba, home of the first Latter-day Saint temple in Bolivia, hosted a devotional for young single adults in the area on May 20, a leadership meeting on the following day, and a multistake conference on Sunday, May 22, according to the Church’s Bolivia Newsroom.
Elder Christofferson testified of the power that comes from keeping covenants. He said faith in Jesus Christ grows only by exercising it, by serving others, striving to be obedient, repenting and studying the scriptures.
He also talked about the importance of forgiveness.
“We all have the opportunity to forgive and be forgiven, so let us do that and leave everything else in the hands of the Lord,” he said. “Let us move forward with a spirit of joy, with love for all.”
Meeting the mayor of Santa Cruz
Elder Christofferson met with the mayor of Santa Cruz, Jhonny Fernández Saucedo, on May 23. The two spoke about the coming temple and the Church’s efforts to provide humanitarian aid in the area.
Fernández thanked Elder Christofferson for the Church’s recent support of his city’s people. And Elder Christofferson said in the noteworthy meeting that he trusts that the Church’s members are among the best citizens of the community.
Elder Jorge T. Becerra, a General Authority Seventy and first counselor in the South America Northwest Area presidency, joined Elder Christofferson for that meeting in the Santa Cruz City Hall where they presented the mayor with a small replica of the Christus statue.
Family scripture study
As Elder Christofferson traveled to Peru, he met with members in Lima, Iquitos and Chiclayo.
He invited them to study the scriptures as a family and to recognize the words they study as coming from God, not man. He quoted Doctrine and Covenants 18:36, reminding members of the Church they can testify that in the scriptures they hear the voice of the Lord.
He also invited members to faithfully live the law of the tithe and read 3 Nephi 24:10-11, focusing on the promises offered by the Lord.
“We trust that He hears us and helps us,” Elder Christofferson said.
His visits to both countries were the first made by a senior Church leader since the emergence of COVID-19 more than two years ago.
In both Bolivia and Peru, Elder Christofferson reminded those in attendance of their divine nature and purpose.
“We are all of infinite importance,” he said in Chiclayo, Peru.
And repeating the teachings of President Nelson, he said to the Saints in Bolivia: “We are sons and daughters of God. We are children of the covenant. We are disciples of Jesus Christ.”
Church established by God
As he concluded his time in Peru, Elder Christofferson reinforced the divine mandate of a Church organization, according to the Church’s Peru Newsroom.
“Some people say there is no need for an organization in order to worship God and develop spirituality. They say it isn’t necessary to have a church,” he said. “But we do need the Church, we need to look beyond ourselves. This wasn’t an idea of man. God established it.”
He taught from 1 Corinthians where Paul taught of the need to work together as one body in Christ.
“We are one if we are united in lifting and helping one another,” he said.
Bishop Saúl Rivas of the Rímac 2nd Ward in Lima said, “Despite the situations that may be happening, the Lord always remembers us and communicates with us constantly.”
Sister Nicole Encinas said listening to an Apostle “is one way to strengthen our faith.”
“From this day forward, I’m going to search for ways to increase my faith in the Savior,” she said after listening to Elder Christofferson.