City opens for missionary work in Mozambique
Missionaries serving in Mozambique report that for the first time ever, four full-time missionaries will be assigned to work in the city of Inhambane, located on the Indian Ocean coast halfway between Maputo and Beira. Missionaries will reside in the neighboring city of Maxixe and work in both cities, which have a combined population of 170,000. There is no branch in the area, but a group will be established for Sunday meetings, if one is not already functioning, under the Mozambique Maputo Mission Branch.
There has been a substantial increase in national outreach with full-time missionaries over the past two years in Mozambique. Earlier this year, missionaries were first assigned to Chimoio (the fifth most populous Mozambican city) where a group meets for Sunday meetings. In the past two years, full-time missionaries were assigned for the first time to the cities of Nampula (the third most populous ) and Tete (eighth most populous). Four of the 10 most populated cities remain without an official church presence, however (Nacala, Quelimane, Lichinga, and Pemba).
New Stake Created in Brazil
A new stake has been created in the northern Brazilian state of Pará. Santarém Brazil Pará Stake was created from the Santarém Brazil Pará District, with most if not all the six branches becoming wards. News of the creation of the new stake was reported by missionaries at the end of March. Additional stakes may be organized in the Belem area from existing stakes or districts. There are now four stakes and two districts in Pará State and 231 stakes and 50 districts in Brazil.
New branches in Africa
Missionaries report that new branches will soon be organized in Monrovia, Liberia; Nairobi, Kenya; and the Kilunga Hills, Kenya. More details will be provided when these units are officially organized.
Growth in Portugal
Missionary work has recently taken off in the Portugal Lisbon Mission, and missionaries report that the mission is currently the highest baptizing mission in Europe, ranking number three for convert retention. Missionaries have been baptizing 50 new converts a month consistently over the past nine months. A large portion of the new converts are youth and immigrants, which often require special attention from local members to keep active. Youth offer significant strength for long-term growth if kept active, such as serving full-time missions and establishing full-member families. Whether or not this growth is sustained and meaningful will hinge on whether the number of congregations in Portugal increases - instead of decreases like in most years over the past decade - in the coming months and years. Portugal is the country with the second most members without a temple and has suffered from high member inactivity in many areas.