Members of the Church in Angola report that a counselor to the Mission President in the Mozambique Maputo Mission was called to administer to the Church's needs in Angola. This will make it more likely for groups to be established in larger cities throughout the Church where enough members of the Church can meet to have Sunday Church meetings. Currently there are two branches in Luanda. Missionaries appear to have returned to the country after problems with visas were resolved. Unofficial reports for membership in Angola indicate that there are over 800 members in the country.
Two new branches were recently created in Kenya in Busia and Kisumu. Missionaries report that four months after the creation of the Kisumu Branch, over 120 are now attending Church meetings. The Busia Branch is located on the border with Uganda.
Two new branches were created in Zimbabwe. The new branches were created in the Bulawayo area and in Bindura. Few new congregations have been created in Zimbabwe over the past few years, which may be a result of difficult political and social conditions in the country.
Convert Baptisms Up 18% in the United States
A senior couple serving in the Dominican Republic reported that convert baptisms are on the rise in the United States. If increase of children on record remains constant from last year for the United States, we will likely see membership increase by over 100,000 in the United States for 2009 to a total of nearly 6.1 million. Elder Hinckley reported to a group of missionaries in Santo Domingo that one of the likely reasons for the increase is bishops and branch presidents taking a stronger role in coordinating missionary efforts in their congregations. The down economy also seems like a factor which may have made some Americans more receptive to the Gospel.
According to my count, the increase in congregations in the United States in 2009 has now reached over 100, which is lower than the typically increase for congregations in the United States. This lower increase in congregations in 2009 is typical of what the Church has seen in some recessions in the United States.
Swine Flu in Mongolia Results in Government Banning Public Meetings
Missionaries serving in Mongolia report that for the past several weeks Church meetings have not been held in Mongolia due to the Mongolian government's concern about the spread of swine flu. Meetings will likely continue not to be held for an additional two weeks. The Church has followed rules and regulations put forth by the government due to the flu. Missionaries report that the sacrament is administered to many Mongolian members in their homes for the time being. Convert baptisms have also been on hold, with as many as 40-50 waiting to receive baptism. The Church in Mongolia has also encountered difficulties with missionaries obtaining visas and is still awaiting news on whether pending visas have been approved.