Number of Branches in Suriname triples in the past year
At the end of 2006, there were two branches in the country of Suriname (Paramaribo and Wanica). One branch was organized around the Spring of 2007, the Blauwgrond Branch, and another two where organized a few months later, the Nickerie and Tamenga Branches. Finally, towards the end of 2007, the Uitkijk Branch was organized for a grand total of six in the country. I have not been able to find information regarding baptisms in Suriname for 2007, but in 2006 there was a noticable increase in membership. The second branch in Suriname, the Wanica Branch, was organized in the Fall of 2002.
New Branches in Cambodia
Less than a week ago, I was going through Church unit listings on www.mormon.org/worshipwithus and I noticed two new branches were created recently in Cambodia. What is so exciting about these branches is that they are in cities which have never had branches before, Siemreap and Kampong Thom. There is only one other city which has a branch in it that is a considerable distance from the capital city of Phnom Penh which is Battambang. Hopefully this indicates an increase in convert baptisms and activity among members, since the number of new branches created in Cambodia has declined in recent years along with baptisms.
47 New Stakes Organized in 2007 and Counting
From information provided by http://www.lds.org/ on temple district listings, I have found at least 47 new stakes created in 2007 and five stakes which were dissolved (three in California, one in Louisiana and one in Liberia). In 2007, 13 stakes were organized in Brazil, which is the highest number of new stakes organized in that country since 1998. Furthermore, in Peru, four new stakes were organized (all from mission districts) which is the largest number of stakes created in that country since 1997. Two-thirds of the stakes created were outside of the United States and Canada and the net increase for stakes in the United States and Brazil was almost the same (Brazil had two more).
Recently Organized Mission Districts
Something I have noticed over the past year or two is that the number of new mission districts being created has declined. Over the past year, the only new mission districts I know of that have been organized where in Oldenburg Germany, Nkawkaw Ghana, Monrovia Liberia and Monrovia Liberia Bushrod (both from the dissolved stake), Monte Plata Dominican Republic, and Nicosia Cyprus. Furthermore, 12 of the organized stakes in 2007 were created from mission districts, which indicates that the trend of declining mission districts which began in 2005 will continue. Of course it is a positive thing to have districts maturing into stakes (which require a lot of active, devoted LDS Church members) but the creation of new mission districts signifies the Church moving into areas of the world (or nations which it is already in) which it has not had a strong presence in before. The majority of districts are created in countries where there is a strong LDS presence, and decisions to form districts is made up to local, regional and global Church leadership.
I do have a list of potential districts to be organized, which I will save for a later date.
The New Delhi India Mission
The First Presidency organized the second mission in India last November which not only covers the northern half of India, but also Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. There are several reasons for why this new mission was organized.
- This very populated area of the world has very few LDS members; all of India has 7,000 and is the country in the region with the most LDS members. This mission will allow for more emphasis on training current Church leadership in New Delhi and Pakistan which have a small but active LDS membership. The mission president will also not have to travel as far as before to train and meet with missionaries and members.
- The growth of the Church in Sri Lanka and Malaysia has been impressive. Church membership in Malaysia jumped from 2,917 in 2005 to 3,633 in 2006 and Sri Lanka's membership has increased from 963 to 1,108 during that same time period. The new mission in India administers to several of the countries originally covered by the Singapore Mission such as Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Now the Singapore Mission is responsible only for Singapore and Malaysia. The India Bangalore Mission is now only responsible for Southern India along with Sri Lanka. This allows for more missionaries to be focused in this region along with more access for the mission president with missionaries and members.
- The two original missions covered very large regions of Asia; now the only mission which covers a very large area is the India New Delhi Mission and this mission has very few members in it (almost all of whom reside in the city of New Delhi or in Pakistan).