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Elder Christofferson Invites Madagascar Saints to Testify of Jesus Christ

Elder D. Todd Christofferson expounds upon Christ’s teachings to missionaries, Church members and their friends in island African nation

This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.

By Mary Richards, Church News

Before entering the chapel, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles walked through overflow rooms and a large tent on the grounds of the Antananarivo Madagascar Ivandry Stake Center to greet the approximately 3,000 Latter-day Saints and their friends who had gathered to hear him speak.

People started arriving several hours early for the meeting on Sunday, May 19, which included three stakes and was broadcast throughout this island nation off the eastern coast of southern Africa.

Elder Christofferson said that as an Apostle, he is called to go throughout the world to bear witness of the name of Jesus Christ — and he told the congregation that the Holy Ghost can bear that same witness to them.

“You know who He is, you are now His disciples, the Holy Ghost has told you,” Elder Christofferson said. “And you need to teach it to your children. You bear that same testimony to your family and to any friends or others who will listen to you. You tell them: ‘I know Jesus is the Son of God, I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His Church. It is His instrument to bring salvation to the whole world.’”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson speaks to members of three stakes and their friends in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on Sunday, May 19, 2024. 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Hery Rakotoarivelo of the Antananarivo Madagascar Manakambahiny Stake said having Elder Christofferson come to Madagascar meant a lot to the people.

“He brings many blessings to the country, and we felt closer to Jesus Christ, the Savior Himself, when we met him,” Rakotoarivelo said.

This is the first time Elder Christofferson has been to Madagascar; this week he is on a multicountry ministry in the Africa South Area, starting with leadership training and a youth devotional in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Accompanying him to Madagascar were his wife, Sister Kathy Christofferson, and Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis, General Authority Seventy and First Counselor in the Africa South Area Presidency, and his wife, Sister Luisa Aidukaitis.

In his remarks, Elder Aidukaitis bore testimony that “Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God, He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. He is the head of this Church, He is the Master that you and I serve.”

Sister Christofferson said she and Elder Christofferson had been looking forward to the visit for a long time. “We love the spirit that you have. We love your enthusiasm, and we know that you love the Lord.”

Members of three stakes fill the chapel and several overflow areas to listen to Elder D. Todd Christofferson in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on Sunday, May 19, 2024.2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Meeting a Pioneer Member in Madagascar

After making their way through narrow streets with honking motorcycles and masses of people maneuvering through endless tables of fruits, vegetables, rice and meats, the Christoffersons arrived at the home of Mamy Ramarosandratana as the moon rose on Sunday evening.

When Ramarosandratana was baptized in 1989, the Church was young in the nation. Church members gathered in his home for meetings in those early days.

“So here we are in one of the early chapels,” Elder Christofferson said. “I’m honored to be in this chapel.”

Mamy Ramarosandratana, left, visits in his home with Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Kathy Christofferson in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on Sunday, May 19, 2024.2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Ramarosandratana shared that the first time he encountered the Church was when he found a copy of the Pearl of Great Price. No other church had that kind of revelation, he realized.

Now his granddaughter is preparing to serve a mission. One member of the extended family who had gathered for the ministering visit said he planned to return to Church after — as he put it — he had been “taking a break.”

A smile lighted Elder Christofferson’s face as he gently teased, “I am glad you are no longer broken.”

Through an interpreter, Ramarosandratana told the Christoffersons: “There is something I see on your faces — both of you — there is that brightness, that holiness I can feel. So that is something that I can feel like I can bring into our home.”

Meeting With Missionaries

The next day, Monday, May 20, Elder Christofferson expounded to the missionaries of the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission how Jesus Christ has the power to forgive, to cleanse and to make whole.

“Repentance is the way we say ‘yes’ to the gift of grace, forgiveness and sanctification,” Elder Christofferson said. “So when we are saying to teach repentance, we are really saying, ‘Teach Jesus Christ — teach that we have a Savior and a Redeemer.’”

The meeting at the Ivandry Stake Center in Antananarivo was broadcast to missionaries serving on Mauritius and Réunion Island. One of the missionaries asked Elder Christofferson how Jesus Christ leads the Church.

Elder Christofferson shared, “The Lord of the vineyard is working with us … giving us constant direction, constant inspiration, constant revelation.”

Missionaries in the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission take a picture with Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, front row center, at the Antananarivo Madagascar Ivandry Stake Center on Monday, May 20, 2024. Photo by Mary Richards, courtesy of Church News.Copyright 2024 Deseret News Publishing Company.
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After the meeting, Elder Cole Norris from Mesa, Arizona, said he knows being on a mission is such a blessing — even when it is difficult. “You feel the Holy Ghost leading you,” he explained. He said he had never thought about being companions in the work with the Apostles until Elder Christofferson talked about it in that way.

Elder Taaroa Fong-Royer, from Tahiti, said something he took away from the meeting is that his mission is an extension of the temple and the covenants he made in the house of the Lord as he lives laws such as obedience, sacrifice and consecration.

A new house of the Lord is coming to Madagascar — having been announced by President Russell M. Nelson in the October 2021 general conference, with the site location released in December 2023.

The temple site is adjacent to the Ivandry Stake Center, and the Christoffersons and Aidukaitises walked to it through a large field after meeting the missionaries.

The temple will be the first for the country, which has more than 15,000 members of the Church. In July 2023, the Church marked 30 years of legal recognition in Madagascar.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson speaks with the help of an interpreter to a tri-stake meeting at the Antananarivo Madagascar Ivandry Stake Center on Sunday, May 19, 2024.2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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