Monday, May 28, 2012

Melilla, Spain Reopens to LDS Missionary Work

A small Spanish exclave on the northern coast of Morocco, Melilla has recently had LDS missionaries assigned for the first time since 1996.  Melilla is now the only location in North Africa to have proselytizing LDS missionaries assigned.  The Spain Malaga Mission reopened the small autonomous city of Spain and has focused missionary efforts among the small group of member families living in Melilla who have met as a group for church services. Although no official religion statistics are available, the population of Melilla appears to be about half Muslim and half Christian or adhering to another faith.  An LDS branch once functioned in Melilla but appeared to had closed sometime in the early 2000s.  Approximately 80,000 live in the city.

The reopening of Melilla to missionary activity is an exciting development for the Church for two reasons.  First, it has been another recent incident of the Church expanding outreach in Spain notwithstanding the closure of two of Spain's original five missions within the past decade.  Several new branches have recently been organized within all three of Spain's LDS missions such as in Vic, Ibiza, and Vilagarcia de Arousa.  Second, Melilla has a large Muslim population and LDS missionaries may have the opportunity to teach Muslims if permitted by mission and area leaders.  The Church has comparatively few opportunities to reach Muslim populations within their native lands.

Missionaries have not reported plans to reopen Ceuta; the other Spanish exclave on Morocco's northern coast which also once had an LDS presence.  With a similarly-sized population to Melilla and the same political status with mainland Spain, Ceuta appears likely to receive LDS missionaries again the coming months and years to come.

2 comments:

Clark B. Hinckley said...

We are excited about missionaries returning to Melilla. Information the creation of the Ibiza, Spain branch can be found at http://www.thespainbarcelonamission.blogspot.com.es/2012/05/historic-day.html.

F.J.Cazorla-Granados said...

Fraternally from melilla. Frank j. Cazorla