New Stake in Tonga
A new stake was created last Sunday in Tonga on the main island of Nuku'alofa. The Nuku'alofa Tonga Matahau Stake was created from two stakes on the western side of the island. There are now 18 stakes and two districts in Tonga. The last new stake created in Tonga was in 2008.
New Stake in Texas
A new stake was created last Sunday in Texas. The Heath Texas Stake was created from the Richardson Texas Stake and perhaps another nearby stake in the Dallas area. I will provide more details on the new stake once they become available. There are now 57 stakes and three districts in Texas
Number of Branches in Benin Doubles
The number of independent mission branches in the African country of Benin increased from three to six last month. The three new branches were previously meeting as groups and include the Fidjrosse, Finagnon, and Gbegame Branches. The Church has yet to organize these six branches into their own district and they continue to report directly to the Benin Cotonou Mission. A shortage of priesthood leaders remains a serious challenge.
Group Organized in Previously Unreached City in Kenya
Missionaries serving in the Kenya Nairobi Mission report that a new group was recently organized in the previously unreached city of Naivasha, Kenya. Senior missionaries indicate that there are upwards of 80 investigators attending church services and that group leadership is staffed by an isolated Latter-day Saint family. Prospects appear good for the group to become its own branch in the near future.
City Opens for Missionary Work in Angola
Missionaries serving in the Mozambique Maputo Mission report that the Area Presidency recently approved the assignment of full-time missionaries to the Angolan city of Huambo. The Church assigned proselytizing missionaries to Angola for the first time in 2008 but missionaries were only assigned to the capital city Luanda until just the past year or two when a second city (Lubango) opened. Additional cities have small numbers of isolated members and investigators meeting and await the establishment of official LDS missionary activity.
Cities Opening in Brazil
Missionaries serving in the Brazil Belem Mission report that they have recently visited several large, previously unreached cities in Para State that have small groups of members meeting under the Brazil Belem Mission Branch. Two cities in particular - Parauapebas and Paragominas - have been visited and missionaries helped increase church attendance to as high as 60 in one of the groups. The Church has literally hundreds of additional cities to open with over 20,000 inhabitants and favorable conditions for church planting but has made little progress within the past ten years. I have recently written a case study on expanding LDS outreach in Brazil for cumorah.com which will be posted in the coming month.
New Branches Created in Europe
Mission presidents report two new branches recently organized in Europe. In Spain, the first LDS branch in Ibiza was created last Sunday and pertains to the Baleares Spain District. The new branch has about 60 attending church services and has been a major success for the Spain Barcelona Mission. Many of the branch members relocated to the island from Ecuador. In the Belgium Brussels/Netherlands Mission, a new Portuguese-speaking branch was created in Rotterdam. Two Brazilian missionaries have been assigned to the branch and the branch has become the first Portuguese-speaking branch in the mission.
Any other LDS growth developments you know of? Please comment.