Brazil's most populous unreached city by the LDS Church now has an LDS congregation.
Located in the remote interior of Para State, the first known LDS congregation was recently organized in Maraba. The Maraba Branch services the city of 186,000 inhabitants that was formerly Brazil's most populous city without an official LDS congregation nearby. The only other Brazilian city with more inhabitants without an LDS congregation nearby is Mage, located nearby Rio de Janeiro. The nearby Piabeta Branch administers Mage. Mage appears likely to have its own congregation in the coming years as it the city supports a population of 216,000. There remain several additional cities with over 100,000 in northern Brazil without LDS congregations, such as Caxias, Araguaina, and Parauapebas.
New Stake to be created in Guatemala in January
Full-time missionaries serving in the Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission report that a new stake will be organized next month in the Quetzaltenango area and that several new congregations will be created. Guatemala experienced rapid church growth in the 1980s and 1990s, but only one new stake was created in the 2000s as membership growth rates declined, low convert retention and member activity prevented the creation of new congregations and stakes, and several wards and branches were consolidated. I will provide more information once the new stake is created.
Growth accelerates in El Salvador
Full-time missionaries serving in El Salvador report many positive developments for 2010 as one of the two missions has baptized over 2,000 new converts this year and sacrament attendance has consistently increased to over 11,000 in one of the missions. Several stakes are close to splitting as branches have consistently become wards in recent years, but there has been no noticeable increase in total congregations in 2010 however. No significant increases in the number of congregations in the next year will likely indicate member activity and leadership development problems, but increases in sacrament attendance point to some improvement in activity rates in this nation that has historically seen some of the lowest member activity and convert retention rates worldwide.
District discontinued in Pennsylvania
The Brookville Pennsylvania District was discontinued and two of its seven original branches were discontinued. Most of the branches were absorbed into the Altoona Pennsylvania Stake. One of the branches - the Brookville Branch - has become a ward. There are now ten districts left in the United States, many of which are in remote areas or in the intercity. With the ongoing trend of district consolidations with stakes in the United States, it is possible that most remaining districts may be consolidated within the next decade as in 2000, there were 16 districts in 2000.