Missionaries serving in the isolated Micronesian country of Kiribati report that the Marshall Islands Majuro Mission has begun an aggressive national outreach expansion initiative that has thus far resulted in the opening of three islands to missionary activity, including Maiana, Nonouti, and Onotoa. Multiple member groups have opened on Maiana and Nonouti to improve accessibility to the Church and capitalize on local populations exhibiting high receptivity to LDS outreach. Missionaries report plans to open additional islands to proselytism in the coming months once larger numbers of missionaries are assigned to the mission. Additionally, senior missionaries report that preliminary plans are underway to reconfigure the two Tarawa stakes to accelerate growth as receptivity remains high, but local leadership development problems have prevented the creation of additional congregations.
Historically, the Church in Kiribati has experienced some of the lowest member activity rates among countries in Oceania with 1,000 or more members as only 25% of members self-reported being LDS on the 2005 census. Missionaries report that some wards on Tarawa have over 1,000 members on their records. Although inactivity and convert attrition remain serious problems, there have been some recent improvements as 32% of nominal LDS membership self-identified as LDS on the 2010 census. Official LDS membership for Kiribati currently constitutes 16.3% of the national population, although 2010 self-reported membership constituted only 4.66% of the national population. Although the Church's Moroni High School on Tarawa has served as an effective proselytism and public affairs tool, the Church has continued to strongly rely on Church Education System (CES) employees to staff lay leadership positions. At one time, CES employees comprised the entire stake presidency of one of the stakes on Tarawa!
I am currently writing a case study that provides a geospatial analysis of LDS growth in Kiribati, examines 2010 census data for religious affiliation, and analyzes recent church growth developments. I anticipate that this case study will probably be posted on cumorah.com in August sometime, and hopefully in the next couple weeks cumorah.com will be back up and running.