Sunday, September 26, 2010

Recent Church Growth News

Continued growth in Nicaragua

Missionaries continue to report positive church growth developments in Nicaragua. The Nicaragua Managua North Mission, created this past July, is now at productivity levels equal to that of the original Nicaragua Managua Mission prior to the mission split. The small, remote city of Siuna in north central Nicaragua had its first visit by full-time missionaries in the past month and missionaries have periodically worked in the city since. Last Sunday, over 60 interested individuals attended church, which was the second formal church meeting ever held, and several of these attendees will be baptized in the coming weeks. Missionaries serving in Nicaragua report challenges increasing the number of men at church in many areas, which is an obstacle towards developing greater self-sufficiency and long-term growth.

Missionaries arrive in Burundi

As reported a month ago, the Church set plans to open Burundi to missionary work in September for the first time since the brief period full-time missionaries were assigned to Burundi in the early 1990s. Six young male full-time missionaries and two senior couples arrived safely in the country this past week. Two additional young elders will arrive in the coming week. Self-proclaimed Latter-day Saints number nearly 1,000 in Bujumbura and in remote areas in the northeast. There appears to be fewer than 50 known Latter-day Saints in Burundi. In the coming weeks and months, missionaries will most likely begin working with known members, establish and train local leadership for future branches, and begin teaching and baptizing new converts. Missionary activity will most likely be limited to Bujumbura for the first few months or year until expanding into other areas.

Congregational growth in Brazil

Steady congregational growth has occurred in Ceare and Sao Paulo States in Brazil so far in 2010. Few new stakes appear likely to be created in the near future however in these areas due to recent division of most of the larger stakes. There have been 17 new stakes created in these two states since 2005, few of which have been from districts maturing into stakes. Stakes which may be close to splitting in Ceare and Sao Paulo are listed below.
  • Fortaleza Brazil East (9 wards, 2 branches)
  • Hortolandia Brazil (10 wards, 1 branch)
  • Sao Jose do Rio Preto (9 wards, 3 branches)

Rapid Growth in Kananga, Democratic Republic of Congo

Isolated in the interior of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kananga is the country's fourth largest city. The Church created its first district in Kananga in 2003. Up until a couple years ago, four branches operated in the city. Currently there are eight branches, with two or three new branches to be created by the end of the year. No full-time missionaries have been assigned to Kananga in the past and local member missionaries have been responsible for teaching and baptizing new members. So far in 2010, over 450 new converts have been baptized in the district, with typically 60 converts baptized a month. In a recent district conference, over 2,200 attended the general session. Many local members are currently serving full-time missions and for the first time, full-time missionaries will be assigned in the coming month. The Church has faced challenges acquiring additional facilities which are large enough to use as meetinghouses. Many branches in the district report up to 200 attending church a week. The district is currently preparing to become a stake in the near future.

Like in many unreached areas of Africa where self-identified Latter-day Saints meet unofficially waiting for the church's arrival, a new group of 200 is meeting in the name of the church in a location some 300 kilometers from Kananga. Mission leaders provided teaching and training to the prospective members, but as of now there appears to be no plans to open a congregation in this remote area.

7 comments:

Ryan said...

Interesting in how the last few stakes that were created, 4 of them were 'S' names.

What about Brazillian districts to potentially become stakes?

Ryan said...

In addition, where do you think the next six Peruvian stakes will be?

Tom said...

It appears from early evidence that creating extra missions where demand is high ahd consolidating missions where the demand is slow has proving to be a grand success.

I have read a great deal of positive posts concerning Nicaragua's growth which is excellent. Splitting one mission into two and then the two missions performing equally as effective individually as the first larger one is extremely positive. Although, the killer question, what is the retention like in this country?

I also am very very optimistic in regards to the DR Congo. With such a massive population, such a high growth rate, a seemingly high retention rate and a high congregational increase rate. The church could become a booming hub in this country within years. Surely a temple is on the cards?

Thanks for your reporting matt :) as usual

Matt said...

Ryan-

Here's my list of potential Brazilian districts to become stakes, with the number of branches per district:

Boa Vista Brazil: 5 branches
Botucatu Brazil: 7 branches
Castanhal Brazil: 5 branches
Macae Brazil: 5 branches
Nanuque Brazil: 5 branches
Planaltina Brazil: 7 branches
Rio Verde Brazil: 5 branches
Sao Sebastiao Brazil: 5 branches
Tres Coracoes Brazil: 8 branches

And as for your question about where the next six Peruvian stakes will be, here's my predictions:

Arequipa Peru Manuel Prado: 10 wards
Barranca Peru: 6 branches
Casa Grande Peru: 7 branches
Huarez Peru District: 6 branches
Lima Peru Canto Grande: 10 wards
Lima Peru Villa Salvador: 10 wards

Matt said...

I think it is too early to say whether the mission realignment was an instance success. It was very atypical compared to previous mission consolidations as several of the missions discontinued had one of the best years ever in 2009, such as the Spain Bilbao Mission. Mission president reiterated that the consolidation came as a result of missions used not to meet high receptivity, but rather provide needed administrative assistance for districts and areas which lack sufficient capable leadership.

That being said, I think that several of the new missions were created for that purpose, such as the Retalhuleu Guatemala Mission, and others to meet the high receptivity of their respective populations. Nicaragua has indeed seen tremendous membership growth, but in the past two decades has seen tremendous member inactivity. Missionaries report that member activity rates have improved dramatically in the past year, but we'll have to see whether this will hold. Some district conferences and congregations are setting new records for church attendance. What is really exciting about Nicaragua right now is the large number of unreached areas which are getting missionaries assigned for the first time. We still haven't seen strong congregational growth in Nicaragua this year however as only one new wards and one new branch have been created.

The recent growth in the DR Congo has indeed been impressive in all aspects: member-missionary work, local members serving full-time missions, and strong congregational growth rates. So far this year 14 new congregations have been created in the DR Congo, 10 of which were branches. I just received word that additional groups of prospective Latter-day Saints have appeared in the eastern DR Congo in the cities of Uvira, Fizi, and Baraka. In one of these locations, these LDS followers have rented a building and hold meetings three times a week, studying the Bible and Book of Mormon. Who knows how many of these groups are waiting to join the church.

The Church owns a large parcel of land in central Kinshasa which I believe without a doubt will become the site for a temple when one is announced. However, Nigeria didn't have its first temple announced until it had nearly 50,000 members and considering DR Congo had almost 24,000 members last year, it may be a while until a temple is built. In the coming decades, I can see three temples built in the country in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, and Kananga or Luputa.

Ryan said...

Thanks!

Ryan said...

I think the difference between DR of the Congo and Nigeria is that the temple in Nigeria only serves Nigeria. A temple in the DR Congo would serve multiple nations that are a far distance from South Africa. Nairobi Kenya is also on a list for proposed temples.