Sunday, October 31, 2010

New District in Nigeria

The Church created a new district in southeastern Nigeria. The Ibesikpo Nigeria District was organized from the Nsit Ubium Nigeria Stake and consists of five branches: The Ikot Akpan Abia, Ikot Ebre, Ikot Oku Iyan, Ikot Udofia, and Ndikpo Atang Branches. The Nsit Ubium Nigeria Stake was one of the largest stakes in Nigeria prior to the creation of the new district, having eight wards and eight branches. There are now seven wards and four branches in the stake. The new district in Ibesikpo becomes the 21st district in Nigeria and the fourth new district organized in 2010.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New District in Norway

The Church has created a new district in Norway, headquartered in the city of Stavanger. The Stavanger Norway District consists of eight branches along the western coast of the country. Three districts once operated in Norway in addition to the Olso Norway Stake until the early to mid-2000s. The former three districts were headquartered in Stavanger, Trondheim and Tromso and were likely discontinued due to a lack of active members and Priesthood holders outside of the Oslo area. The creation of the new district may indicate greater progress in member activity and convert retention rates in western Norway as all of the eight branches in the new district were formerly mission branches not part of a stake or district. The five branches in northern Norway are not part of a stake or district currently, and are directedly administered by the mission in Oslo. For more information about the Church in Norway, refer to an article written by me and David Stewart on

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Stake in Brazil

The Church created the 232nd stake in Brazil in the Sao Paulo area two Sundays ago. The Alphaville Brazil Stake was organized from the Barueri Brazil Stake and consists the following five wards: Alphaville, Ariston, Carapicuiba, Engenho Novo, and Santana do Parnaíba. The Barueri Brazil Stake had eight wards and one branch until recently when the Rosemary Ward was created and the Jandira Branch became a ward. The Barueri Brazil Stake also has five wards.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Recent Church Growth News

Burundi dedicated for missionary work

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated Burundi for missionary work on October 19th, 2010. Besides a few local members in attendance, only the eight young full-time missionaries and two senior couples who are assigned to Burundi were in attendance. The building in use for church meetings in Bujumbura was remodeled in the past couple weeks as the room used for sacrament meetings was expanded.

Angola dedicated for missionary work

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated Angola for missionary work on October 20th, 2010. The dedication service occurred outside the capital Luanda. Missionaries have served in the country for a couple years now, and the Church has faced challenges obtaining visas for foreign missionaries.

Remote city in interior Peru opens for missionary work

A senior missionary couple serving in the Peru Lima North Mission was been assigned to Nauta, located south of the large city Iquitos. Nauta becomes the first small city outside of Iquitos to open for missionary work in the Amazon Basin of northeastern Peru. Currently there is not organized branch and church services are likely held as a group or dependent branch.

District discontinued in Russia

The Church recently discontinued the Ufa Russia District and the two former branches of the district were consolidated into one branch. The number of congregations in Ufa has steadily declined over the past decade as in 2001 there were four branches. Congregation consolidations have occurred in many areas of Russia over the past 18 months, primarily in areas where there are no local branch presidents or where there are few active members meeting in more than one congregation. Other Russian cities which have experienced congregation consolidations include Vladivostok and Krasnodar, both of which today only have one branch. In the past 12 months, over 10 branches have been discontinued in Russia.

First branch established in western DR Congo outside of Kinshasa

The Church created its first independent branch in western Democratic Republic of Congo outside the capital city of Kinshasa in the large city of Matadi. Matadi is located near the Angolan border and supports a population over a quarter of a million. This is a major development in expanding national outreach in the DR Congo as there has previously been no official church presence anywhere in the region outside of Kinshasa. Most areas in the DR Congo remain far from any operating LDS wards or branches. Most of the Latter-day Saint population resides in the largest cities, mainly Kinshasa and Lubumbashi, but also Kananga, Kolwezi,
Likasi, Luputa, Mbuji-Mayi, and Mwene-Ditu.

New Stake in Utah

Last Sunday, the West Haven Utah Stake was created from a division of the Kanesville Utah Stake, which had 12 wards and one branch. There are now 546 stakes in Utah.

New Stake in Texas

Last Sunday, the Waco Texas Stake was created from the Killeen Texas Stake, which had 10 wards and five branches. There are now 56 stakes in Texas.

New Branch in East Malaysia

Missionaries report that a new branch was created in Sarawak, East Malaysia in the small town of Mukah. The Mukah Branch is part of the Sibu East Malaysia District, which now has five branches.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Potential New Districts

Since 2007, it has been a tradition of mine to post a list of districts which may be created by the LDS Church in the near of immediate future. Potential districts I have listed are categorized by geographic area and include the number of branches in parenthesis next to the prospective district name. Many of these areas are at the forefront of church growth for Latter-day Saints, as they are in areas which have seen rapid membership growth, modest to high retention, and are located in areas where there has been little or no previous LDS Church presence. Many of these areas have seen consistent congregational growth. Districts are often only created when native church leadership is strong enough in devotion and numbers to fill additional administrative callings. Previous versions of this list may be found for 2007, 2008, and 2009. I also added the names of branches which may be included in potential districts in these cities.

The First Presidency, Area Presidency, and Mission Presidency for a given area are stakeholders in the decision process to create districts. Information used to compile this list does not contain any unauthorized information and I take full responsibility for this work.

  • Antsirabe Madagascar (4) [Ambohimena, Antsirabe, Mahazoarivo, Manandona]
  • Conotou Benin (3) [Akpakpa, Gbedjromede, Mentontin]
  • Eldoret Kenya (4) [Eldoret, Huruma, Langas, Sosiani]
  • Kilunga Hills Kenya (4) [Ilima, Kilili, Kyambeke, Matini]
  • Luanda Angola (3) [Luanda 1st, Luanda 2nd, Cassequel]
  • Mbuji-Mayi DR Congo (4) [Dibindi, Diulu, Muyu 1st, Muyu 2nd]
  • Mombasa Kenya (3) [Bamburi, Changamwe, Mombasa]
  • Yaounde Cameroon (4) [Bastos 1st, Bastos 2nd, Ekounou 1st, Ekounou 2nd]
  • Chignahuapan Mexico (3) [Chignahuapan, Tetela, Zacatlan]
  • Jacmel Haiti (3) [Jacmel, Meyer, Tenier]
  • Porto Seguro Brazil (3) [Coroa Vermelha, Eunapolis, Porto Seguro]
  • Puerto Cabezas Nicaragua (4) [Bilwi, El Caminante, Loma Verde, Puerto Cabezas]
  • Angoram Papua New Guinea (3) [Angoram, Moim, Pinang]
  • Aoba Vanuatu (5) [Apopo, Lobori, Lolotinge, Lovutialao, Navuti]
  • Honiara Solomon Islands (3) [Burns Creek, Honiara, White River]
  • Kukipi Papua New Guinea (5) [Heatoari, Keauta, Kukipi, Malalaua, Savaiviri]
  • Malakula Vanuatu (6) [Litslits, Lowni, Pinalum, Tulewei, Uripiv, Wala]
  • Tanna Vanuatu (4) [Greenhill, Saetsiwi, White Sands, Whitegrass]

In the coming months and years, many districts may be organized in additional locations not listed above. These locations have a high potential for congregational growth and leadership development due to receptivity of the LDS Church and high rates of convert baptisms (generally), but have an inadequate number of congregations, few local leaders capable of staffing district callings, or have branches scattered over a large geographical area. Below is a list of less likely potential new districts. The creation of districts in these areas will depend on the creation of additional congregations and the development of self-sustaining local leadership.

  • Douala Cameroon (2) [Douala Branch, Bonaberi Group - soon to become a branch]
  • Francistown Botswana (1) [congregation has experienced rapid growth, may divide into smaller units in the coming year]
  • Ho Ghana (1) [missionaries report branch is preparing to divide, active membership continues to grow]
  • Kisumu Kenya (1) [congregation has grown large, may divide, small groups of members in several nearby locations such as Sondu]
  • Kitale Kenya (1) [LDS Church-built chapel just dedicated, congregation may divide but no announced plans]
  • Marromeu Mozambique (2) [Marromeu 1st and 2nd Branches - missionaries currently working to improve member activity rates, church-built chapel in town]
  • Maseru Lesotho (3) [Maseru and Masianokeng Branches, Leribe Group - missionaries report plans to create a third branch in the Maseru area]
  • Pointe-Noire Republic of Congo (2) [Pointe-Noire and Aeropuerto Branches - third branch to be created soon, followed by a fourth hopefully in spring 2011]
  • Sikhendu Kenya (4) [Misikhu, Naitiri, and Sikhendu Branches and Matuma Group]
  • Windhoek Namibia (2) [Katutura and Windhoek Branches - over 120 active members, potential for additional groups to be created in the north]
  • Bluefields Nicaragua (2) [Bluefields and Bluefields Centro Branches - additional branches may be organized, no official reports however]
  • Chalatenango El Salvador (3) [Chalatenango, Nueva Concepcion, and Reubicacion Branches - missionaries report challenges with developing local leadership in these mission branches]
  • Gurupi Brazil (2) [Gurupi 1st and 2nd Branches - the creation of a third branch in the city may lead to the organization of a district]
  • Motupe Peru (2) [Motupe and Olmos Branches - missionaries report may positive developments in these branches, additional congregations needed to create a district]
  • San Borja Bolivia (3) [Rurrenabaque, San Borja, and Yucumo Branches - distance between the three mission branches has likely delayed the creation of a district]
  • Quibdo Colombia (2) [Istmina and Quibdo Branches - mission branches created in the past decade, may experience greater growth in the coming years]
  • Todos Santos Guatemala (5) [San Antonio Huista, Santa Ana Huista, Santa Cruz Barillas, and Todos Santos Branches, and Yalijux Group - unclear why this remote region has not become a district yet; possibly due to distance between branches and few local leaders]
  • Viacha Bolivia (3) [Ingavi, Patacamaya, and Viacha Branches - likely has not become a district yet due to distance between the three mission branches]
  • Yopal Colombia (2) [Aguazul and Yopal - the Aguazul Branch was created last year, a district may be organized once additional branches are organized and headed by local members]
  • Madang Papua New Guinea [Madang and Sisiak Branches - additional congregations needed to create a district]

There are yet more areas which may have districts created in the near future around the world, but have not experienced noticeable church growth in terms of congregational increases such as areas of the South Pacific, portions of Nigeria, and Russia. If you have information regarding the possible creation of a district or the establishment of new congregations in one of the areas listed above or elsewhere, feel free to comment.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First Stake to be Created in Guam

The First Presidency has approved the creation of the first stake in Guam, which will be known as the Barrigada Guam Stake. Apostle Elder L. Tom Perry will create the stake on the weekend of December 11th and 12th. The Guam District had only four branches until just a year or two ago, when a fifth branch was created. Missionaries report that branches in the district have high church attendance and that the creation of a stake has come after many years of preparation. The Guam District currently consists of four branches on the island of Guam, and one branch in Saipan (which is part of the Northern Mariana Islands).

Guam is the country/territory with the twentieth most Latter-day Saints (1,971) without a stake according to membership totals reported by the LDS Church at the end of 2009. There were 735 members in the Northern Mariana Islands at the end of 2009. Once the stake is created, only one nation will have a stake and fewer Latter-day Saints than Guam, which is Bahrain. The Church bases the stake for wards and branches on the Arabian Peninsula in Bahrain due to greater religious freedom than neighboring countries and its central geographic location. Bahrain had 281 members and one branch at the end of 2009.

New District in Madagascar

A new district was created in Toamasina (Tamatave) Madagascar. The district comprises all five branches in the city, two of which were created earlier this year. Active membership appears strong in faith and numbers as over 500 attended the conference to the create the two new branches earlier this year. Missionaries serving in the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission report that they hope to baptize over 1,000 converts this year. There is still no indication on when a district will be organized in Antsirabe for the four branches in the area or when the stake in Antananarivo will divide. Several groups which have recently been created may become branches in the near future which currently operate in Ambositra, Ankazobe, Enjoma, and Sarodroa.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cities Open For Missionary Work in Mozambique, Nicaragua, and Ghana


Unprecedented opening of additional cities to the LDS Church continues in Mozambique. LDS Missionaries serving in the Mozambique Maputo Mission report that another city opened for full-time missionary work in the past month outside of Beira, Mozambique in a medium-sized town named Dondo. Full-time missionaries have experienced high receptivity and success in the few weeks of proselytism in Dondo, bringing around 40 investigators and members to church meetings in nearby Beira by bus. Full-time missionaries anticipate the opening of two additional cities by the end of the year: Quelimane and Xai-Xai. All new cities opened to missionary work in Mozambique over the past several months have no branches organized as groups operate in these areas, usually under the Mozambique Maputo Mission.


The Nicaragua Managua North Mission assigned full-time missionaries for the first time to three additional cities, all of which were among the 10 most populated without an LDS Church presence. Latter-day Saint mission outreach centers are now established in Ocotal and Somoto by the Honduran border and in the small town of Rio Blanco located east of Matagalpa.


Missionaries in the Ghana Cape Coast Mission report that missionaries have opened the large city of Sunyani, located northeast of Kumasi. Sunyani was the third most populous city in Ghana without an LDS presence and becomes the most northern city to have an LDS mission outreach center established. Sunyani is one of the few cities in West Africa to ever have full-time missionaries assigned prior to the creation of a branch. Four missionaries work in the city, and additional missionaries will likely be assigned in the coming months. Tamale, the largest city in Ghana without an LDS congregation, is located in north central Ghana and remains without mission outreach.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Angola to be Dedicated for Missionary Work

Angolan members report that later this month, an apostle will visit and dedicate Angola for missionary work. Furthermore, a third branch was just created in Luanda, and the city may become a district in the near future. Groups also operate in different areas of the country. The Mozambique Maputo Mission administers Angola and has reported frequent challenges obtaining visas for missionaries. Angola offers tremendous opportunity for church growth, but these prospects will likely not be fully realized unless greater numbers of local members serve full-time missions and are regularly involved in member-missionary work.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Five New Temples Announced

This morning, President Monson announced the construction of five new temples in the following locations:
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Hartfort, Connecticut
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Tijuana, Mexico
  • Urdaneta, Philippines
Prior to the temple announcement this morning, Portugal was the country with the second most members without a temple and in the past year has experienced increased convert baptisms and member activity in the Portugal Lisbon Mission. The Madrid Spain Temple appears among the most used in Europe as indicated by endowment sessions scheduled hourly morning though evening from Tuesday through Saturday. Temples in Hartfort, Connecticut and Indianapolis, Indiana will likely have small temple districts of fewer than 10 stakes. The Philippines will receive its third temple in Urdaneta, located in central Luzon island north of Manila and Mexico will receive its 13th temple. New temples in Mexico, Philippines, and Portugal may indicate increased temple attendance and member activity, which is a welcome sign as these nations have historically demonstrated some of the lowest member activity and convert retention rates.

Some of the temples announced today may be found in the below map of potential temple sites, which also includes potential temple districts. Stakes or districts to be included in future temple districts will be officially announced at a later date.

View Potential New Temples in a larger map