The Church has entered a phase of rapid congregational growth in the Sogere area of the Western Province of Papua New Guinea as demonstrated by the number of LDS branches increasing from one to nine in a matter of a few months. In late 2010, the Church operated one LDS branch, the Sogere Branch, in a rural, sparsely populated area which formerly pertained to the Daru Papua New Guinea District. The Sogere Papua New Guinea District was organized before the end of 2010 when four additional branches were formed nearby Sogere (Bimaramio, Miruwo, Oropai, and Sisiami). Since the creation of the new district, four additional branches have also been organized (Bina, Bunigi, Kamusi, and Torobina). Notwithstanding the Sogere Papua New Guinea District is the newest LDS district in the country, it currently has the most congregations. Each of the aforementioned branches in the Sogere area appear to function in villages with only a few hundred inhabitants.
The successive organization of so many branches in a sparsely populated area with a minimal past LDS presence is an amazing feat considering all nine branches appear to have native branch presidents. It is unclear what sparked the rapid expansion of the Church in the area. Some branches likely operated as dependent branches or groups until greater self-sufficiency was achieved to merit the organization of independent congregations. The rapid expansion in the number of LDS congregations in Sogere is of paramount importance to LDS mission leaders and planners as it illustrates that success in rapid national outreach expansion in rural areas has potential to produce impressive results I do not believe there has been any comparable breakthrough for the LDS Church in any other sparsely populated rural area of any country with over one million people to date as manifest by rapid congregational growth occurring in a matter of months. Time will tell whether these newly organized congregations will continue to operate, whether additional congregations will continue to be organized in the area, and whether the Church can produce similar results in other areas of Papua New Guinea or other nations.