Friday, May 29, 2009

First Stake In The Marshall Islands!

Missionaries serving in the Marshall Islands Majuro Mission report that the first stake in the country will be organized sometime in June. The new stake will be created from the Majuro District, which comprises seven branches as of right now. Missionaries and Church leadership have been preparing the district for stakehood for several years. The Church News reported that while serving as missionaries in what was then the Micronesia Guam Mission, Max and Annette Martin were assigned in 2004 to serve on Majuro with the specific task of teaching the members how to function as a stake (link to Church News article). The Marshall Islands Majuro Mission was created in 2006 from the Fiji Suva and Micronesia Guam Missions and primarily administers to the Marshall Islands and Kiribati.

The Marshall Islands became independent from the United States in 1979 and maintains close ties with the United States today. The population of the islands is estimated to be only around 60,000, with the vast majority of people living in the islands of Majuro (where the capital is) and Ebeye. Another district of the Church with four branches currently functions on Ebeye in the Kwajalein Atoll, named the Kwajalein Micronesia District. The Marshall Islands are well known for nuclear tests conducted after World War II.

There are about 4,500 members of the Church in the Marshall Islands as of the end of 2008. There are also four Marshallese speaking branches of the Church in the United States located in Arkansas, Hawaii, Oklahoma, and Washington.

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