Saturday, April 11, 2009

Recent Church Growth News

North American Missionaries Called to Russia

Last Summer the Church announced that it would no longer call North American missionaries to serve in Russia. That decision has been reversed recently, with many missionaries from the United States receiving their calls to serve in Russia. One of the problems contributing to this original announcement was new legislation in Russia requiring foreigners to leave the country periodically. It does not appear that the number of missionaries called currently will be enough to return to the number of elders and sisters serving in Russia before this decision was made. To illustrate the drastic drop in missionaries serving in Russia, the Russia Rostov Mission will have fewer than 40 missionaries serving within its boundaries in a couple months. Most missions have between 100-200 missionaries serving.

New Branch in Cambodia

I have long awaited the day the sole branch in Battambang, Cambodia would be split. It was recently divided into at least two congregations, making Battambang the third city in Cambodia to have more than one congregation. The Church News published articles four years ago highlighting the impressive growth in the area, yet the branch has not been strong enough to split until recently. There are currently 23 branches in Cambodia. Two cities were recently opened to missionary work in the past couple years in Siem Reap and Kampong Thom. Still no word on how close the north or south districts in Phnom Penh are to becoming stakes.

Burundi Now Part of The Uganda Kampala Mission

A fifth country has been added to the boundaries of the Uganda Kampala Mission. Burundi was recently added to the mission's jurisdiction. Originally organized in July of 2005, the Uganda Kampala Mission only included Uganda and Ethiopia initially. Since then Rwanda and the southern portion of Sudan had been added. The branch in Kigali, Rwanda has grown substantially from a dozen members a year ago when it was organized to 45 today. There are still no proselyting missionaries in Rwanda, Sudan or Burundi. A strong branch functioned in Burundi in the early 90s, but was dissolved once the government was overthrown a few years later. I have not heard if a branch has been re-established in the country yet, but I imagine that there are members who have been waiting for years for the Church to come back to Burundi.

Book of Mormon Translation Into Malaysian Approved

The Church has just given the approval for the Book of Mormon to be translated into Malaysian. There are likely over 5,500 members in Malaysia today, the vast majority of which live in East Malaysia and are not Malays, but other ethnicities or from the Iban tribe.

Manaus Brazil Temple Construction Temporarily Halted

Missionaries serving in the Brazil Manaus Mission report that construction of the temple in Manaus has been delayed following the excavation for the foundation. Church leadership in the city have set a goal of establishing four new stakes in the city before the temple dedication. Considering almost all the stakes in the city have been divided since 2005, this is a very ambitious goal to undertake. If four more stakes were created, there would be a total of 12 in the city. Manaus is a very high baptizing area of Brazil, with some stakes baptizing hundreds in one month. The first stake was created in Manaus in 1988. No word has been given for how long the construction of the temple will be set back.

More Potential New Temple Sites Added

I made a post a little over a month ago providing two maps with various cities in which future temples could be likely announced. I have added several more cities to the prediction map for the year 2020 in the United States because I neglected to do so beforehand.

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