Saturday, March 15, 2014

First LDS Mission to be Created in the Republic of the Congo

Missionaries serving in Africa report that this July the Church will organize the Republic of the Congo Brazzaville Mission from a division of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa Mission. It appears likely that the new mission will include the Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, and Gabon. I will provide more details once they become available.


Michael Worley said...

Yay! Surprising timing since they already announced most new mission presidents... I wonder if this will be the only new mission.

James Crowther said...

I think this will be great, The New Mission can focus on one day hopefully opening The Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea to missionaries as well as continued outreach in Cameroon, Gabon, and outside of Brazzaville. It will also leave the Kinshasa Mission to focus solely on building up the city. Hopefully they will also make outreach outside of Kinshasa, there is only one branch outside of Kinshasa in the DRC, in that mission.

Mike Johnson said...

I have expected a mission in the Republic of the Congo, freeing the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa Mission of missionary work outside of the Democratic Republic.

Timing does appear later than most years, where we know the new missions by February. But, I hadn't heard of any new missions for 2014. Perhaps because only 1 mission (or maybe a few) will be created this year, the Church felt less urgency about calling a mission president.

The Opinion said...

Wanted to mention that Elder Russell M Nelson, two weekends ago in Florida stake conference warned members that to prepare for a rapid acceleration of baptisms into the church. An Apostle of the Lord has seen it and it is coming like a tsunami. This will get exciting real soon and those graph lines we all look at will suddenly head straight up instead at the 30 degree angles we are use to.

Bryan Dorman said...

@The Opinion

Very interesting that you say that. It mirrors stuff that other Apostles (such as Packer and Cook) have been saying. Even in my ward here in Mexico, which two years ago hadn't had a convert baptism for nearly three years, they have been coming slowly but steadily. Now we have 9 investigators waiting to be baptised and investigators nearly outnumbered priesthood in my EQ class today. The work is definitely being hastened !

@the others on the comment board

This is an interesting development and you guys are right in that this move will free up the Church there to expand their work. ROC hsan't had as much growth but that is because mission resources have been tied up in DR Congo. Will be interesting to see what transpires as a result of that.

Gnesileah said...

I can attest to the surge in growth happening in my ward in Montana. Since I moved here a year ago, I hadn't been aware of any convert baptisms until my neighbor was baptized in December. Now this Saturday we are having our sixth additional convert baptism since then, and the families and friends of these new converts are currently taking the missionary discussions. Combined with several other people in our investigator pool, there is an increased excitement in our ward about the hastening of the work that we are witnessing.

I'm interested to see the global convert numbers during the next few years. Going off memory, and not running to go grab my almanac, I seem to recall that in the early 1990s, when our missionary force was hovering around 30,000-40,000(?), we had several years that saw more than 300,000 convert baptisms, but I don't think we've topped that since then, not withstanding our missionary force nearly doubling. Now with 80,000+ missionaries, what are the results going to be? It will be interesting to see.

Whatever the numbers are, however, I am interested in seeing long-term growth in number of genuine conversions to the gospel. I think many missionaries and members place too much emphasize on getting people baptized, perhaps before they are truly ready to make such a commitment, (why do we have to ask investigators to commit to baptism on the first discussion?) and as we all know, the result is too many new converts fall into the less-active category nearly immediately. I think as a church, we should be less concerned about our base membership numbers, and more concerned about assisting others in their genuine conversion process to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It takes time, and should not be rushed or pushed. Of course, this is exactly what David Stewart and Matt have been writing about for years, and I'm grateful for their attention to this subject.

Iris and Craig said...

The Opinion-that is really interesting stuff.

My question to everybody here is how do you think what Nelson, Cook, and Packer said going to happen?

Will it be a spiritual awaking of sort or will it be some event?

Alex said...

Iris and Craig - The answer to your question lies in a promise Pres. Hinckley made: "I am not being unrealistic when I say that with concerted effort, with recognition of the duty which falls upon each of us as members of the Church, and with sincere prayer to the Lord for help, we could double" the number of converts from the 300,000 figure. I've seen this doubling happen in multiple states (Florida and Illinois) as they applied Preach My Gospel as it's designed to be applied. Retention also jumps dramatically. We are not to the point, as a church, where we are using Preach My Gospel right. As that changes, baptisms will increase dramatically, probably doubling or more.

Pascal said...

I would also like to echo that from what I can see, the work is speeding up in many places and in many different indicators. The situation in my home ward in Germany is about as follows:

Two years ago (2012), there was one set of Elders assigned to the ward. Sacrament attendance was about 80 to 100 (on very good days). There was one baptism of a young man who shortly thereafter moved back to China. Missionaries taught, despite their effort and dedication, about two lessons a week on average. Besides this man from China, I don't remember ever seeing another investigator at Church.

This year, we have two companionships (one pair of Sisters was added). Sacrament attendance set an all-time record at 158 just yesterday but 120 to 130 is where it's usually at. There were ten progressing investogators at Church, as well as at least two families the Missionaries and members have worked with for reactivation. Each companionship teaches 10 to 15 lessons a week on average. No baptisms yet but we have four scheduled for April with more to come.

In other words (and I've somewhat seen this confirmed in other areas), the number of lessons taught per Missionary has increased overproportionally compared to the number of Missionaries assigned. Focus on Preach My Gospel is one thing. Member involvement is another. Innovative finding approaches do the rest. But THE big key to increased efficiency and retention is the establishment of real intent, as I've seen it applied in many Missions with increasing tendency. If Missionaries let the people they teach know from the first meeting that baptism is the first goal, and going to the Temple is the ultimate goal, there is less misunderstanding and more focus on the Missionary purpose, and on Moses 1:39. Also, Missionaries will most likely not teach people who are unwilling to keep commitments for long. This approach isn't about getting people baptized AT the first meeting, like some on here seem to want to make it sound. It's about letting them know from the beginning that baptism is a very important step and that meeting with Missionaries should lead there and not elsewhere.

John Pack Lambert said...

This is interesting. I wonder if there are other new missions in the works that were not yet announced. Initially it looked like there would be no new missions this year, but I wondered if that was really what was going on.

John Pack Lambert said...

From what I understand the Kinshasa Mission almost began work in the Central African Republic, but the mission president felt impressed to postpone, and then war broke out there.

I have not heard much on war there lately, but my guess is the Church will not move in until at least next winter. Moving the church into war zones is fairly rare, although it was done in Guatemala.

John Pack Lambert said...

My ward has definitely seen an increase in convert baptisms of late, we had two on one day about a month ago.

An even better indication is we had 3 brethren recently ordained to the Melchezidek Priesthood. One of them I have hope his two sons and wife will be baptized soon, although his wife goes to another Christian Church most of the time at present, but she has come to our ward 3-4 times in the last six months, and also has come to a few ward activities.

If all goes right we should have two couples sealed in the temple in about a year. One of these couples is from India. There are lots and lots of people from India in our ward boundaries. Hopefully they can be a stepping stone to more outreach to this group.

Ed Clinch said...

The eternal goal of any Christian missionary is to preach that Jesus is the Son of God, that through Him we can be saved and (in the LDS case) exalted, to repent of our sins through Him and be cleansed and happy.
It is important to establish that baptism is a goal as soon as possible. That said, there are some investigators who take the lessons without the stated goal of getting baptized, which I think is great, hoping that their hearts may change in the course of the lessons by the Holy Spirit or other means, like a sign or dream from God.
But, I guess the ultimate lesson for us as potential missionaries of Jesus the Anointed is to know how to present the message, how to be true friends and brothers.
I think more missionaries help, though.
And I don't know about how things are hastening specifically, but all of us are closer to the Lord in life and death than ever before. I know my mom is, who passed away earlier this month.

Bryan Dorman said...

Another thing which I can see happening is a potential for more missions formed in Latin America, Asia, and Africa as Europe starts to close down gradually over the Ukranian crisis...

Mike Johnson said...

The Espargos Cape Verde District, Cape Verde Praia Mission, was created on 9 March. There are 4 branches in the district:

Sal 1st Branch
Sal 2nd Branch
Sal Rei Branch
Santa Maria Branch

The Santa Maria Branch, Espargos Cape Verde District was also created on 9 March

The Kossoh Town Sierra Leone District, Sierra Leone Freetown Mission, was created on 16 March. There are 3 branches in the district:

Grafton Branch
Kossoh Town Branch
Waterloo Branch

The Castlewood Ward, Riverton Utah South Stake, was created on 16 March. There are now 11 wards in the stake:

Castlewood Ward
Charing Cross Ward
Deer Mountain Ward
Golden Meadows 1st Ward
Golden Meadows 2nd Ward
Pheasant Point Ward
Riverton 9th Ward
Riverton 18th Ward
Riverton 19th Ward
Rose Creek Crossing Ward
Summerfield Ward

The Hill Park Ward, Independence Missouri Stake, was created on 16 March. There are now 9 wards and 1 branch in the stake:

Blue Springs 2nd Ward
Hill Park Ward
Independence 1st Ward
Independence 2nd Ward
Independence 3rd Ward
Independence 4th Ward
Liberty 2nd Ward
Raytown Ward
Riverview Ward
Independence YSA Branch

The Attalla Branch, Birmingham Alabama Stake, was created on 16 March. There are now 6 wards and 6 branches in the stake:

Anniston Ward
Birmingham Ward
Gadsden Ward
Gardendale Ward
Leeds Ward
Vestavia Hills Ward
Altadena Branch (Spanish)
Attalla Branch
Cahaba Heights Branch
Locust Fork Branch
Sylacauga Branch
Talladega Branch

The Muriaé Branch, Brazil Juiz de Fora Mission, was created on 16 March. There are now 4 independent branches in the mission:

Três Corações Brazil District
Brazil Juiz de Fora Mission Branch
Muriaé Branch
Ubá Branch
Viçosa Branch

Sinverguenza said...

This Sunday, March 23, in the Kaysville Utah Stake, the Mountain Shadows and Kaysville 6th wards will be divided to create at least 1 new ward.