Monday, June 17, 2013

First LDS Stake Created in Armenia

Last Sunday, the Church organized its first stake in the small Christian country of Armenia.  Located in the Caucasus Mountains and surrounded by Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkey, and the Republic of Georgia, Armenia is the world's oldest Christian country where the majority of the population adheres to the Armenian Apostolic Church.  The LDS Church began missionary activity in Armenia during the early 1990s and the Church organized the first member district in 1994.  In 1999, the Church organized the Armenia Yerevan Mission from the Russia Rostov Mission.  Steady membership growth occurred during the late 1990s and the 2000s and several additional branches were organized in Yerevan and additional cities.  In 2008, the Church organized a second member district in Yerevan with the goal to eventually organize two stakes in Yerevan within the medium term.  In 2011, the two districts in Yerevan were consolidated into a single district and four branches were closed in preparation to create ward-sized units. During the past decade, the Church has struggled with inactivity problems incurred by quick-baptism tactics employed during many years in the 2000s and the emigration of active membership.

Information on which branches in the district became wards in the new stake is not currently available and I will post this information once it becomes available.  As of year-end 2012, Armenia ranked as the country with the thirteenth most members without a stake with 3,024 members, 11 branches, and one district.  The new Yerevan Armenia Stake becomes one of the Church's most isolated stakes in the world as the nearest stakes to Yerevan are located in Kyiv, Ukraine (approximately 1,000 miles away) and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (over 1,200 miles away).  Due to visa restrictions, only 57 missionaries serve in the entire Armenia Yerevan Mission which includes Armenia and the Republic of Georgia.

For more information on LDS Church growth in Armenia, refer to our statistical profile, country profile, and LDS International Atlas on cumorah.com.

20 comments:

Mike Johnson said...

Exciting!!!!

Mike Johnson said...

The district has 7 branches in the Yerevan area a little north of the center of the country, 2 branches in the far north, and most of rest of the country is covered by the district's administrative branch.

The Armenia Yerevan Mission has another branch in Tbilisi Georgia and a mission administrative branch (Armenia Yerevan Mission Branch) which pretty much covers all of Georgia except Tbilisi.

I look forward the new stake showing up.

Porter said...

Exciting. I'm moving to Georgia soon. I didn't know there was an administrative branch outside of Tbilisi.

Mike Johnson said...

The Orem Utah Vineyard Stake was created on 16 June. There are 7 wards and 1 branch in the stake:

Vineyard 1st Ward
Vineyard 2nd Ward
Vineyard 3rd Ward (Spanish)
Vineyard 4th Ward
Vineyard 5th Ward
Vineyard 6th Ward
Vineyard 7th Ward
Geneva Branch (Care Center)


The Congo Town 2nd Branch, Monrovia Liberia District, Sierra Leone Freetown Mission, was created on 16 June. There are now 9 branches in the district:

Congo Town 1st Branch
Congo Town 2nd Branch
Gardnersville Branch
Matadi Branch
New Georgia Branch
Paynesville 1st Branch
Paynesville 2nd Branch
Sinkor Branch
Tinker Village Branch

Michael Worley said...

More info about the broadcast...

A new website titled “Hastening the Work of Salvation: A Unified Effort in Conversion, Retention, and Activation” will accompany the broadcast. The site provides information and helps for priesthood leaders, for ward councils and ward mission leaders, and for members and missionaries. It also helps youth know how they can best prepare for and participate in the work of salvation as they serve in the priesthood, receive temple ordinances, and accept calls as full-time missionaries.

Hilarie said...

This is VERY exciting news for Armenia. I was a missionary there from 2001-2003 and don't remember any such quick baptism tactics. I have heard that retention is a church-wide struggle and we worked for several months with our converts both before and after to insure their testimony was strong. I think the church grew quicker than there was a foundation to maintain, and its been heart-breaking for us when we have returned to visit. But I know that for myself and all the missionaries I served with we devoted heart, soul, mind and body to furthering the Work.

Mike Johnson said...

LDS press release on the Armenia Stake:

http://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-nelson-helps-form-first-stake-in-armenia?lang=eng#337216616

Ed Clinch said...

Armenians pride themsvelves as being the first Christian nation. The restoration of the Kingdom of God has a place here. It will be interesting to see how growth occurs here over the next few years, as elsewhere with the surge.
From what I understand, Armenian is a difficult language, but I have always been impressed with LDS (and others) who go far out of their comfort zone to learn someone else's language. Enough to compel them to read new scripture, as well.
Small countries like this pose interesting problems, like the governments imposing quotas on US missionaries. Then it becomes a question of how many local missionaries can be called.
I wonder how many LDS Armenians are in southern California would possibly make a good impression in the homeland, (Glendale has many, for example), and how that mission is composed. Other countries have limitations put on them, so our Church will keep sending people where they will fit.
When visas become a problem in Brazil or Russia, the rest of the church benefits by getting these transitional elders and sisters in the interim.
Great to see this growth in these years. I just found out a couple from my home ward is called to the New Caledonia Mission, but apparently not French speaking.
Hmmm. How many languages does the Church teach in now? In Guatemala there are probably a dozen alone, based on the native tongues. I wonder how many languages are in the Caucausus region, plus southern Russia?

Adam said...

Within the next 5 months missionaries will be trained in approx 54 languages at American MTC's.

Albanian
American Sign Language
Armenian
Bulgarian
Cambodian
Cantonese
Cebuano
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Dutch
English
Estonian
Fijian
Finnish
French
Georgian
German
Greek
Haitian-Creole
Hiligaynon (Ilonggo)
Hmong
Hungarian
Indonesian
Italian
Japanese
Kiribati
Korean
Laotian
Latvian
Lithuanian
Malagasy
Malay
Mandarin
Marshallese
Mongolian
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Russian
Samoan
Serbian
Slovak
Slovene
Spanish
Swedish
Tagalog
Tahitian
Thai
Tongan
Turkish
Ukrainian
Vietnamese

There are some languages that they only do periodically, like Turkish, they have only sent two districts in the past year.

Ed Clinch said...

I just wrote a big entry but it did not enter and I did not save it. Summarized, I think our missionaries might be using over 200 languages and dialects to teach the gospel. I gave some specific examples like from Africa, the Phillipines, and Latin America.
Also, how do we see mission boundaries on lds.maps.org?

Joseph said...

Ed,

to see mission boundaries:
Sign in with your LDS.org account
go to the maps page under tools
click on the layers control on the control bar (it looks like a stack of three sheets of paper)
at the bottom of the menu it says boundaries, click there then select mission boundries

Ed Clinch said...

Thanks very much. That was not exactly intuitive for me to find the mission lines. It will be cool when then the boundaries are updated. (Soon, right?).
My mission in Chile, Concepcion, was divided into north and south a few years ago, bringing the whole country to 9 missions. There were some significant changes to some of the old areas. Now they are creating a new Santiago South Mission, and the old Rancagua mission (which used to Santiago South) should get smaller. More towns that have never had full time missionaries should get them.
Thanks again.

Gnesileah said...

@ Ed: The new mission boundaries have been showing on LDS Maps since June 25th. Enjoy!

Ed Clinch said...

Wow, I did notice the missions have been updated with the new Santiago South Chile Mission having its new borders. I noticed that there are a few areas for outdoor sightseeing and recreation, despite its relatively small size.
So, the world's smallest LDS missions are now probably Santiago South, a Mexico City Mission (not sure which one), a greater LA mission (maybe Arcadia or Long Beach, not counting the Catalina Islands), or one of the Salt Lake Missions (central)?

Very cool when some missions can be so concentrated. Some elders and sisters may feel like they have gotten to know every neighborhood by the end. That type of intimate knowledge of an area can be very useful for really tracking some investigators and doing follow ups, which I think is now allowed by way of email or letter for the last few years. Bumping into old converts is also a positive for missionary retention.

Nice to see.

On lds.maps.org can we see the labels of the missions and stakes and wards? This is a great feauture to explore.

Mike Johnson said...

On LDS Maps, if you put your cursor on any point and then push and hold the mouse button for about a second and release, a popup will come up with all of the units that cover the position of the cursor--wards and branches (and there are often more than one--languages, YSA), stake or district, mission, and area.

BTW, the smallest missions in area are the Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square and the Illinois Nauvoo Missions, at about 35 acres and about 3.4 square miles, respectively. Of course, they are primarily there to contact visitors. I know that missionaries in the Temple Square Mission have been contacting people over the internet for years now. We had a sister return recently to our ward from the Temple Square mission. In addition to some senior couples, the mission a few months ago had about 195 sisters in it and no young elders.

Ray said...

Mike,

Thanks for your continuous reporting on new units and the resulting changes to stakes and districts with the new units. You recently reported on two new branches in Brazil but at the same time the number of Brazilian wards dropped by two. Any idea about them?

On another note, I'm certainly missing Matt's posts--it's been two weeks and I've never known him to go so long without a post to his blog. I'm looking forward to the July monthly report.

John Pack Lambert said...

I noticed in the article on this in the Church news they mention that Elder Nelson went to Ankara, but unlike the rest of the trip, then do not mention anything about what he did there. Do we know if a branch has been organized in Ankara yet?

John Pack Lambert said...

On the language issue, I know with Yapese and some other languages in Micronesia missionaries learn them in the field. I would imagine the same is true of some Mayan languages in Guatemala, indigenous languages in South Africa and maybe a few other things. Still, I have to wonder if the time may have come to try moving the work more fully into some languesges like Zulu, Shona and of course Tamil and Hindi. Although with strict visa limits on missionaries in India, moving the work out of just being English there may wait a bit longer.

I also noticed that we no longer are training missionaries in Navajo, although I am not sure there are enough mono-lingual speakers of Navajo that it would be a useful concentration of resources. Still, as with training missionaries in Kazakstan in Kasak even though most converts come from Russian speakers, sometimes there is a need to show respect for a language to break down barriers, even with people you may be able to fully teach in a nother language.

John Pack Lambert said...

Looking at the maps of the new mission, the new Georgia Macon Mission has slightly different boundaries than the old one did before it was discontinued in 2009. The difference is largely in the Columbus Georgia Stake. This makes its boundaries much more regular, because the Columbus Stake goes between the Macon Stake and the Tifton Stake, so the Atlanta and Macon Missions used to snake around each other.

John Pack Lambert said...

It appears that Anaheim California has the least area of any California Mission. I think it is about the same area as in the Mexico City East Mission, but that one might be smaller by area.