Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Burundi Opening to Missionary Work In September

Missionaries serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo Lubumbashi Mission report that the country of Burundi will open for formal missionary work in September. Several exploratory trips have occurred in the past 18 months to assess conditions and locate members and prospective converts. On some of these trips, mission leaders reported hundreds meeting in the name of the LDS Church both in the capital Bujumbura and in remote areas of the country. These prospective Latter-day Saint converts have learned about the Church from members living in the country and from pastors who have obtained copies of the Book of Mormon and have begun teaching from LDS scripture. In late 2009, there were as many as a dozen unofficial congregations. The most recent exploratory trip occurred in the past few weeks in which mission leaders met with some members who have been waiting for years for the Church's official reestablishment.

In the early 1990s, Burundi opened to missionary work and had a branch established in Bujumbura in 1993. Due to ethnic conflict and political instability, the Church withdrew missionaries (who were assigned from the Ivory Coast Abijdan Mission) shortly thereafter and stopped reporting membership totals in 2001.

In September, eight young, full-time proselytizing missionaries and two senior missionary couples from the DR Congo Lubumbashi Mission will be assigned to Burundi and reside in Bujumbura. Few if any countries have opened to formal missionary activity in the past decade, let alone with so many missionaries. Neighboring Rwanda has had an official Church presence for about two years, yet only one senior missionary couple was assigned just in the past year. Other African nations which have received their first proselytizing missionaries in the past decade include Angola, Benin, Cameroon, and Togo. Formal missionary activity may begin soon in the Central African Republic.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Very exciting. Thanks for the update!