5 highlights from Elder Christofferson’s year to celebrate his 75th birthday

To celebrate Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles turning 75 today, the Church News is taking a look at five highlights from his 12th year as an Apostle.

Speaking with his wife, Sister Kathy Christofferson, at BYU Women’s Conference on May 3, 2019, Elder Christofferson added his testimony to her message that God works through small means to accomplish great things.

Quoting the words of Mary as recorded in Luke 1:49, “For he that is mighty hath done to me great things,” Elder Christofferson told attendees God will similarly accomplish great works “by your small things.”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shakes hands with attendees after speaking at BYU Women's Conference in Provo on Friday, May 3, 2019.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shakes hands with attendees after speaking at BYU Women’s Conference in Provo on Friday, May 3, 2019. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News, Deseret News

He taught that God helps individuals to not fear — while respecting their agency — in four ways: giving commandments, offering grace through Jesus Christ, revealing truth and providing the gift of the Holy Ghost, as well as other spiritual gifts.

From May 24 to June 2, 2019, the Christoffersons visited members of the Church in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, where Elder Christofferson said increased access to the temple is blessing families and individuals in the Africa West Area. The Accra Ghana Temple was dedicated in 2004, and the Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple is currently under construction.

On that trip, Elder Christofferson met with Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo and Cote d’Ivoire Vice President Daniel K. Duncan.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson meets with Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo on May 30, 2019.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson meets with Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo on May 30, 2019. Credit: Africa West Area, Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

“President Akufo-Addo was quite aware of the Church’s humanitarian activities over the years in Ghana — and also the kind of people that the [Ghanaian] members are, and our emphasis on strengthening families,” Elder Christofferson said. “The president agreed fully that strong marriages and strong families are essential to a strong society.”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson shakes the hands of Latter-day Saints gathered for a member devotional in Cote d'Ivoire.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson shakes the hands of Latter-day Saints gathered for a member devotional in Cote d’Ivoire.

Drawing on the Spanish-language skills he developed as a young missionary in Argentina during the 1960s, Elder Christofferson rededicated the Asuncion Paraguay Temple on Nov. 3, 2019. 

The rededication of the country’s only temple was Elder Christofferson’s first time presiding at a temple dedication or rededication.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson and Sister Kathy Christofferson arrive Nov. 3, 2019, for the rededication of the Asuncion Paraguay Temple. They are followed by Elder Kevin R. Duncan and Sister Nancy Duncan and Elder Benjamin De Hoyos and Sister Evelia De Hoyos.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson and Sister Kathy Christofferson arrive Nov. 3, 2019, for the rededication of the Asuncion Paraguay Temple. They are followed by Elder Kevin R. Duncan and Sister Nancy Duncan and Elder Benjamin De Hoyos and Sister Evelia De Hoyos. Credit: Jason Swensen

Speaking of the sacred nature of the temple, he said the Asuncion temple rededication “will lessen the influence of the adversary here and strengthen the influence of the Holy Spirit. … I believe that this nation can prosper, and the temple and the influence of the Latter-day Saints will have an effect in the country.”

Shortly after their trip to Paraguay, the Christoffersons joined President Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy Nelson on a ministry tour in Southeast Asia. They visited Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia from Nov. 15-22, 2019.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Kathy Christofferson, smile during an interview in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Nov. 21, 2019.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Kathy Christofferson, smile during an interview in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Nov. 21, 2019. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

At a devotional in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on Nov. 18, 2019, Elder Christofferson testified of the power of the Book of Mormon: “It is the instrument of conversion for all of us. If the Book of Mormon is true, we know what the Prophet Joseph Smith taught is true. And we know that Jesus is the Christ, because that is what the Book of Mormon teaches. This is the instrument the Lord has created to gather Israel.”

Elder Christofferson said “the Church is young” in Southeast Asia, “but it is vibrant,” calling the members in the area “pioneers.”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, left, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks through an interpreter during a devotional in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, left, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks through an interpreter during a devotional in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The Christoffersons capped off 2019 by speaking to missionaries in a Christmas morning devotional broadcast from the Provo Missionary Training Center to MTCs around the world.

“What greater privilege could we have than to find ourselves on Christmas in the service of the Savior whose birth we are celebrating?” he said. “There won’t be many Christmases when you are entitled to carry His name on your dress or shirt or jacket as His emissary, His ambassador. You are the companions of the Apostles in this work, and what an honor it is to be serving together at Christmas.”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles waves to missionaries following a Christmas Day devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center on Dec. 25, 2019, in Provo, Utah.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles waves to missionaries following a Christmas Day devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center on Dec. 25, 2019, in Provo, Utah. Credit: Scott Taylor

April 5 will mark 12 years since Elder Christofferson received his call to serve as a special witness of Jesus Christ.