Monday, February 23, 2015

Continued Progress in West Africa

The Church continues to rapidly grow in West Africa. A report from a senior missionary couple who serves in the area indicates that the Church in 2014 set an all-time record for the number of convert baptisms in the Africa West Area as over 23,000 converts joined the Church during the year. This marks the seventh year in a row that the Africa West Area has set a new record for the number of new converts baptized in a single year. Membership and congregational growth rates in West Africa have been approaching unprecedented levels that are reminiscent of the explosive growth of the Church in Latin America during the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Here are some noteworthy LDS growth developments in the Africa West Area:
  • Construction has started on a new missionary training center (MTC) in Accra, Ghana. The new facility will triple the capacity of the current Ghana MTC located in Tema, Ghana. The Ghana MTC has experienced steady increases in the number of missionaries it annually trains from less than 300 in the early 2000s to over 1,300 within the past two years.
  • The following cities have had the first LDS branch organized within the past two months: 
    • Abesim, Ghana
    • Aflao, Ghana
    • Bouake, Cote d'Ivoire
    • Issia, Cote d'Ivoire
    • Kugba, Nigeria
    • Lakowe, Nigeria
    • Snake Island, Nigeria
  • The Church has continued to organize new branches in Sierra Leone despite the removal of full-time missionaries due to the Ebola epidemic. The most recently organized branch was the New England Branch in the Bo Sierra Leone East District.
  • The Church reported significant net increases in the number of congregations in the following countries:
    • Ghana (~40) - a 24% annual increase
    • Nigeria (~40) - a 10% annual increase
    • Cote d'Ivoire (~25) - a 35% annual increase
    • Sierra Leone (~9) - a 30% annual increase
If membership and congregational growth rates remain stable in West Africa for the next decade, the Church may report the following statistics for year-end 2024. However, membership and congregational growth rates rarely remain stable for as long as a decade:
  • Nigeria - 259,000 members, 1,078 congregations
  • Cote d'Ivoire - 191,000 members, 1,950 congregations
  • Ghana - 165,000 members, 829 congregations
  • Liberia - 60,000 members, 63 congregations
  • Sierra Leone - 45,500 members, 111 congregations
  • Benin - 33,000 members, 152 congregations
  • Togo - 24,600 members, 67 congregations
Click here to access statistical profiles on providing detailed statistics on LDS growth trends by country.


Mike Johnson said...

Thank you for the exciting post and news.

Growth may continue to accelerate. Growth may experience an operational pause or slow down. Leadership training becomes a significant challenge with this kind of growth.

John Pack Lambert said...

Sierre Leone is very encouraging since this means that it is members stepping up. Even with the missionary force, this is much more a local missionary force than was seen in Latin America during the 1970-2000 time frame.

While I am sure that there will be challenges to growth, the centers of strength policy for the first 30 years of the Church's presence in West Africa means that there has been a development of local leadership.

I remember being at the Tabernacle Choir weekly concert back in late 2003 and sitting by one of several Ghanaians who were there to be trained as temple workers.

Michael Worley said...

The number of missionaries is 83,471

John Pack Lambert said...

3 of the 8 new mission presidents profiled in this weeks Church News are from outside the US. They are from Canada, Brazil and Honduras.

alien236 said...

Off-topic, but I remember some time ago seeing an article about a public affairs committee that had been formed by some district leaders in New Delhi to gain more exposure for the Church. However, a few days later the article disappeared, as well as the Facebook post that had linked to it. Any idea why that might be? Does such a committee still exist?

Rick said...

How long ago? I never saw it.

Joseph said...

New Units for Feb 15 2015
Kajjansi 2nd Branch, Kampala Uganda Stake (5 Branches, 7 Wards)
Kimberly 6th Ward, Kimberly Idaho Stake (9 Wards)
Moroni 2nd Branch (Correctional Facility), Moroni Utah Stake (1 Branch, 5 Wards)
*N'Dotre 2nd Branch, Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan Mission (5 Branches)
Polaris Ward, Columbus Ohio North Stake (11 Wards)
*Woodhaven Ward, Eagle Mountain Utah East Stake (12 Wards)

22 Feb 2015
Siem Reap Cambodia District (2 Branches), Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission (2 Branches, 6 Districts)
Siem Reap 1st Branch
Siem Reap 2nd Branch

Haciendas Ward, Toluca México Stake (3 Branches, 9 Wards)
Kona YSA Branch, Kona Hawaii Stake (1 Branch, 9 Wards)
Little Elm 2nd Ward, Frisco Texas Shawnee Trail Stake (8 Wards)
Recanto da Serra Ward, Sete Lagoas Brazil Stake (1 Branch, 9 wards)
Saint Genis Branch, Geneva Switzerland Stake (3 Branches, 6 Wards)

YTD 85 (2 stakes, 2 districts, 33 Branches, 48 Wards)

madmack said...

Is there a place to find out how many converts per mission or area?

Joseph said...

New Units for 1 Feb 2015
Abesim Branch, Sunyani Ghana District (5 Branches)
Lindon 24th Branch (Care Center), Lindon Utah West Stake (1 Branch, 8 Wards)
Olodi-Apapa Ward, Snake Island Branch,
Lagos Nigeria South Stake (6 Branches, 8 Wards)

Mike Johnson said...

Sunyani now has a fifth branch. Wonderful. Of course, that is a rapidly growing area in total population. As people more into the area rapidly.

Ryan Searcy said...

Amazing how the Church is growing into all parts of the world. The new district in Siem Reap, Cambodia, is where the famous Angkor Wat Temple is.

alien236 said...

It was sometime late 2013 or early 2014, I think? Sorry that's not much help.

I notice that the Siem Reap district only has two branches thus far while the neighboring one only has three. I presume this means that more branches are anticipated to be organized soon.