Saturday, December 11, 2010

LDS Non-African Missionaries Evacuated from Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) - Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan Mission May Divide to Create New Mission in 2011

Full-time missionaries serving in the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan Mission report that plans are being finalized to remove all non-African missionaries serving in Cote d'Ivoire to Benin and Togo as a result of increasing political instability from a recent presidential election. Cote d'Ivoire has demonstrated high levels of self-sufficiency and sustainability as the Church was first established in the early 1990s at at present there are four stakes and a district. Political instability has continued to delay expansion of the Church into presently-unreached areas in the country over the past decade, especially outside the capital of Abidjan. Non-African missionaries have been withdrawn in the past and did not serve in Cote d'Ivoire from the mid-2000s to 2009. New congregations are regularly organized and local members serve missions in large numbers.

The administrative decision to relocate all non-African missionaries in the mission to Benin and Togo will facilitate the creation of a new mission for these two nations. Full-time missionaries report that the Church has been planning on creating a new mission to administer these two nations in the coming months. A mission based in Lome, Togo would greatly increase potential for the LDS Church to expand nationwide as the Church at present only operates in Lome, Togo and Cotonou, Benin. Distance and a lack of missionary resources has prevented a greater church establishment in these nations, which have no legal restrictions and highly receptive populations to the Church. The Church has not formally announced any plans to create a new mission as of yet.

The Church in Togo continues to grow rapidly. The first branch was created in the early 2000s and divided to create the Tokoin Branch in 2006. Additional branches were created in 2008 (Hédzranawoé), 2009 (Be-Kpota), and 2010 (Ablogame). The five branches in Togo belong to the Lome Togo District, created in late 2009. LDS membership has grown from 117 in 2000 to 1,034 in 2009.

The Church has grown less rapidly in Benin. There were 11 Latter-day Saints in 2004 and in 2009 there were several hundred. The first branch was created in 2004 (Cotonou). In 2008, the branch was divided in to three branches: Akpakpa, Gbedjromede, and Menontin. Currently the three branches are not part of a stake or district and full-time missionaries report that member activity rates are high and local leadership has been developed.


Ryan Searcy said...

I read somewhere that Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania were working to become a single nation within the next few years. I can't remember what the nation would be called (I think it was East African Republic). Would this effect the Church at all in these nation? I understand the 2 stakes and 3 districts would be renamed. Would mission work be simpler if it's a single country?

Erik said...

Interesting - I was not aware of this! I googled the subject and found the following two articles:

I seem to remember a prophecy of Gordon B. Hinckley, from some Ensign issue, when he said that where there were then (in 1998) hundreds of members in Eastern Africa, there would be thousands and tens of thousands and the Church would continue to grow. Wonder if creating one single nation would accelerate such church growth?