Decades before D. Todd Christofferson became a General Authority, members here and in other communities in northern Argentina already knew him as “Elder Christofferson.”
Church duties in recent years have taken Elder Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, to all corners of the globe. He has learned to say a few words in several different languages and experienced a variety of cultures and climes.
But Cordoba remains a special place to the apostle. It was here he fulfilled his first foreign “assignment.” It was here he learned to speak Spanish, a skill that continues to serve him well. It was here he met Elder Richard G. Scott, a trusted mission president who would become a fellow apostle. And it was here he developed a lifelong love for the people of Argentina and Latin America.
“There are so many wonderful memories for me here — time with companions and time with the mission president and his family,” he told the Church News outside the newly dedicated Cordoba Argentina Temple. “Still, it’s hard to imagine what a transformation has happened.”
He arrived in Argentina 50 years ago, serving initially under the direction of President Ronald Stone and, later, with the future Elder Scott. Elder Christofferson has said he was blessed to learn from “two exceptional mission presidents.”
From the temple grounds, Elder Christofferson recently enjoyed a clear view of where his mission home stood. A second mission home has replaced the original, but it’s built on the identical spot that now borders Argentina’s second temple.
He served for a time in the mission office with President Scott. Another future General Authority, Robert E. Wells, lived nearby.
“I remember knocking on the doors of families just five or six blocks from here,” he said.
He never gave much thought of a future temple in Cordoba when he proselytized and taught missionary discussions. The mission had existed only a few years and there were few native Argentinians serving.
“Almost all the missionaries here were North Americans — now it’s the reverse,” he said. “The Church has truly come of age. When I served here there were no stakes and just a handful of districts.”
The Cordoba temple district includes 26 stakes.
Membership in Cordoba may have been sparse during Elder Christofferson’s mission — but even then it was defined by faith. “There were stalwart people that have remained [strong] over generations,” he recalled “Many came from right around here near the temple.”
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