Cities open for missionary work in Ethiopia
In an unprecedented move, LDS missionaries serving in Awasa, Ethiopia report that three additional cities in the Awasa area have had their first LDS congregations organized, doubling the number of cities in Ethiopia which receive LDS outreach from three to six. LDS missionaries were assigned to Shashemene and a group was established a few weeks ago whereas groups were recently organized in the cities of Ch'iko and Wendo. Missionaries report that dozens are currently investigating the church in these cities and that baptisms occur weekly. Once newly organized groups in Shashemene, Ch'iko, and Wendo mature into independent branches prospects appear favorable for a district to be organized. Awasa was opened to missionary work in 2010 and the Awasa Branch was organized in 2008 with less than two dozen members. At present over 100 attend church meetings in the four cities in the region. LDS missionaries have served in Addis Ababa and Debre Zeit for many years, where three branches and a group for Nuer-speakers operate. There are now four branches and four groups in Ethiopia organized into one district. There has been no recent word on whether an unofficial group continues to operate in Gambella.
First LDS branch outside of Angolan capital organized
The first independent LDS branch outside of Luanda was recently organized in the southern Angolan city of Lubango. A group was organized in Lubango about a year ago and operated under the Mozambique Maputo Mission Branch. The LDS Church in Angola also recently had its first district organized for the three branches in Luanda. A group was also recently organized in the Viana, a suburb of Luanda. There are now four branches and approximately four groups in Angola. Prospects appear highly likely for Angola to become its own mission due to high rates of receptivity to the LDS Church, administrative demands on the Mozambique Maputo Mission, distance from Angola to Mozambique, and a large, relatively unreached population in Angola that has received very few LDS missionary resources. The first LDS missionaries were assigned to Angola only a few years ago.
First LDS stake organized in the central interior of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Kananga Democratic Republic of Congo District recently became a stake, becoming the first stake in the country to be organized outside of Kinshasa and Lubumbashi. The new stake includes five wards and three branches. Enormous growth potential exists in the region and a third mission for the DR Congo based in Kananga, Mbuji-Mayi, or Luputa appears highly likely in the near future. Missionaries report that missions based in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi are currently baptizing around 300 converts a month, with over 90% of converts being retained at least over the short term. At this rate of growth, LDS membership may increase by between 7,000 and 9,000 in 2011 alone. In late 2010, there were approximately 27,000 members in the DR Congo.
New branch organized in Uganda
A new branch was organized in the Jinja Uganda District named the Njeru Branch. There are now six branches in the district.
New stake in Nigeria
The first new stake in Nigeria since 2007 was organized in Lagos. The Lagos Nigeria South Stake includes five wards and two branches in the southern portion of the city. The first stake in Lagos was organized in 1997 and a second stake was organized in 2005. Several additional Nigerian stakes are close to splitting as all three stakes in Benin City have between 10 and 15 wards and the Port Harcourt Nigeria West Stake has 11 wards at present. Nigeria has experienced recent growth in the number of districts as eight new districts were organized from late 2008 to mid-2010. There are now 17 stakes and 21 districts in Nigeria. Based on recent membership growth trends, LDS membership should number over 100,000 by mid-2011, becoming the first African country to have over 100,000 members.