Senior couple missionaries serving in the DR Congo Lubumbashi Mission report that the first official branch has been created in the country of Burundi. LDS services have previously operated as a group. A branch once operated in Burundi in the 1990s, but was discontinued as members left the country as a result of war. Dozens of converts have been baptized since full-time missionaries were assigned last September. Prospects appear to be materializing for mission outreach to expand outside of Bujumbura in the coming months and years.
New stakes to be created
Full-time missionaries serving around the world report that new stakes will soon be created in the following locations:
- Donetsk, Ukraine
- Kananga, DR Congo
- Quetzaltenango, Guatemala area
- Granada, Nicaragua
Although not recognized by the government and operating unofficially, the LDS Church in Nepal was reported by the Church to have 133 members in the sole branch headquartered in Kathmandu. No active proselytism occurs in Nepal and Nepalese youth have begun to serve full-time missions in increasing numbers in recent years.
City in Kazakhstan opening for missionary work
Full-time missionaries serving in Kazakhstan report that for the first time in LDS Church history, a second city will have full-time missionaries assigned. Only Almaty has LDS missionaries at present, but next month the capital city of Astana should also have full-time missionaries assigned. There have been plans for years to eventually open Astana for full-time missionary work and it is unclear whether current plans will materialize as past plans never came to fruition.
City in Uganda opens for missionary work; first branch to be created at the end of January
The city of Lira, Uganda has had full-time missionaries recently assigned and the Uganda Kampala Mission President will create the first branch in the city later this month. Full-time missionaries report that sacrament attendance has increased to over 50 and that there are now five priesthood holders.
New missions in 2011 rumors
Although no official plans have been announced, there has been discussion on new missions which may open in July 2011. I announced a couple months ago concerning plans to open a new mission in Lusaka, Zambia. Potential new missions which may be created this year are listed below. These potential new missions have been cited by full-time missionaries serving in the field.
- Ethiopia Addis Ababa
- Angola Luanda/Mozambique Beira
Full-time missionaries serving in Little Rock, Arkansas report that mission and stake leadership have experimented with church planting approaches recently. A group operates in the Little Rock area with a full-time missionary companionship assigned that has grown to 25 some members attending weekly - all of which are recent converts. Missionaries report that they started the congregation from scratch and are hoping to organize an independent branch from the group in the near future as local priesthood leadership develops. This church planting example illustrates the need for such missionary approaches worldwide for the LDS Church in order to improve convert retention, member self-sufficiency, and long-term church growth.