Friday, June 10, 2016

Rapid Growth Accelerates in Cote d'Ivoire

The Church in Cote d'Ivoire continues to not only report rapid growth, but accelerating growth during the first five months of 2016. The Church has reported a net increase of 24 official congregations since January 1st - an 18.5% increase in less than six months. Here is a list of some of the most noteworthy developments:
  • The number of cities with an official ward or branch has quintupled in the past five years from six to 32.
  • The Church organized its first branch in the city of Adzope in early 2014. Currently there are nine branches in the Adzope Cote d'Ivoire District - five of which are in Adzope. The Adzope Cote d'Ivoire District was organized last February.
  • The Church organized its first branch in Aboisso in 2013. Today there are nine branches in the Aboisso Cote d'Ivoire District - three of which are located in Aboisso.
  • There are now eight branches in Daloa - a major city where the Church organized its first branches in early 2014.
  • The Church has recently begun to aggressively expand into small cities and towns, primarily in southeastern areas of the country. Examples include:
    • Ayame
    • Azaguié (first branch organized in mid-2015, second branch recently organized)
    • Bangolo
    • La Me (location of the Ahoutoue 2nd Branch)
    • Maféré 
  • The Church organized its first branch it the second most populous city of Bouake in early 2015. Currently there are five branches in the city.
  • Three of the eight stakes in Abidjan currently have 12 wards. All three of these stakes appear likely to split before the end of the year. One of these stakes, the Abobo Cote d'Ivoire East Stake, was organized less than 18 months ago.
  • Annual membership growth rates for Cote d'Ivoire have been sustained at 19-21% a year since 2013.
The recent growth of the Church in Cote d'Ivoire appears to stand as the most impressive LDS growth achievement for the worldwide church in decades. The full-time missionary force is comprised of native African members and the Church is remarkably self-reliant in meeting its own administrative needs. Native members consistently serve as mission presidents in the country. The rapid expansion of the Church into previously unreached areas stands as a quintessential model for other nations to establish the Church. These findings indicate that the Church in Cote d'Ivoire is likely to continue these trends and replicate the rapid growth the Church experienced in the Philippines and Latin America during the 1980s and 1990s, but with significantly fewer resources allocated, much high convert retention and member activity, and robust self-sufficiency in local church leadership.


John Pack Lambert said...

I wonder if 2017 will see a third mission organized in Ivory Coast. I am hoping Daloa vets a stake thks year but that might be a little soon.

John Pack Lambert said...

I wonder if 2017 will see a third mission organized in Ivory Coast. I am hoping Daloa vets a stake thks year but that might be a little soon.

John Pack Lambert said...

It looks to me like the Colorado Springs Colorado North Stake is ready to split. It has 14 wards, up from 10 three years ago. The Colorado Springs Colorado East Stake has 12 wards and a branch. So they might do a 3 for 2. The Colorado Springs Colorado Stake only has 8 wards and a branch. That actually looks like a combined high enough to do a 5 from 3.

Bryan Baird said...

Even though the Adzope Ivory Coast District and the Aboisso Ivory Coast District each with 9 branches were created in February 2016 I think they both would be become stakes sometime at the end of this year or early next year.

Ryan Searcy said...

Interesting...a temple president was just called for the Paris France Temple. It looks like we might be seeing a dedication date soon!

James Anderson said...

I'm thinking 8-10 months, because for Provo City Center it was July when they announced the temple president and August for the dedication announcement.

There's still some exterior work going on that looks major from the Mormon Newsroom French page. No details on how the interior's coming but I thought I saw a stepladder through an opening, so that should mean progress.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I was trying to think of a way of breaking down Francophone countries in Africa according to LDS growth.

Maybe three ways: A) Fast growth. B) Presence but not dynamic C) Little or no presence.

A) Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire), Togo, Benin, Congo (DRC), Madagascar. Cameroon? Belgian Congo?

B) Senegal, Rwanda, Burundi, Reunion, Seychelles, Mauritius.

C). Mali, Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, Algeria, Morocco.

Am I leaving some nation out or mislabeling one?

Very cool to see these dynamic growing French-speaking cultures. The B category may grow bigger in the future.

Brett Stirling said...

What resources will the Church allocate to create self sufficient communities economically? Church resources developed the Utah economy from scratch. Surely the Lord's resources can be used everywhere in a similar fashion.

Michael Worley said...


Michael said...

Eduardo, I would add Tunisia to category C and Gabon to category B as both are francophone

Kenny said...

The Providence Rhode Island Stake is now 6 wards and 4 branches.
Central Falls 1st Ward
Narragansett Ward
Newport Ward
Providence 1st Ward Spanish
Scituate Ward
Warwick Ward
Central Falls 2nd Branch Spanish
Central Falls 3rd Branch Portuguese
Providence 2nd Branch
Warwick YSA Branch

New London Connecticut Stake 6 wards and 2 branches
Ashford Ward
Groton Ward
Norwich Ward
Waterford Ward
Quaker Hill Branch Spanish
Westerly Branch
Cromwell Ward from Hartford CT stake
Madison Ward from New Haven CT stake

Pascal Friedmann said...

There is no Church presence in the Seychelles. Also, no presence in the Comores, and Mayotte (claimed by both France and the Comores, to some extent) has no presence either. Talking about it, I would love to see a Mission in Reunion to administer the islands now covered by the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission.

Kenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Worley said...

Sad news out of California:

One of the stakes I served in, the Sweetwater Stake, was dissolved. This stake has been small for years, so its not a huge su I'm not sure yet how it is split-- perhaps two wards to El Cajon, three to San Diego East Stake, and two to the Chula Vista Stake. The plus side is this may be a temporary net negative-- the Chula Vista Stake just to the south is quite large-- having gone from 1 Spanish ward to 3 wards and a branch in the last 9 years, along with adding one English unit.

If the strength of the Chula Vista stake helps the Bonita 3rd Ward, we may see more Spanish growth there alongside sadly stagnant English growth due to demographics..

Michael Worley said...

SO I HEAR Spring Valley Ward is NOT CHANGED.YA Ward and Lemon Grove Ward are dissolved and from it a new ward is created, Paradise Hills Ward in San Diego Stake with members from Bonita and Sweetwater Wards. Sweetwater Ward and Spring Valley Ward will be added to San Diego East Stake and Bonita Ward into Chula Vista Stake. SO EVERYONE - tell us what WARD you are now in and WHICH STAKE. Lets MEET AND GREET and stay connected!!"

per Facebook. I think this will make the Chula Vista stake have 12 units, with some of them growing, and 4 buildings.

Michael Worley said...

And it seems like Chula got one unit, putting them at 11 wards and one branch, but I'm unsure if the boundary changes will make that a ward.

Also, the El Cajon stake got no units, which makes me wonder if they'll be dissolved soon too.

This is largely demographics; other parts of San Diego-- like Poway and Vista-- are thriving.

Christopher Nicholson said...

I would move Madagascar to Category B. As far as I'm aware, it hasn't had any measurable growth in five years.

I asked a friend in Botswana how the Church is growing there and she said, "Not very well! Baptisms have gone down and so is attendance. Now we practise "every member a missionary" we work mostly on our visitting teaching and home teaching. And reactivating bc a lot of people have gone LA" Optimistically she added, "I think it is a wake up call to many of us. To pull up our and do better than we were and really be tools in the Lord's and seek to build zion in Botswana. Our neighbouring country had a similar situation some years back and the got to organize two more stakes."

Mike Johnson said...

Comparing the number of members and congregations from 31 Dec 2015 with that fro 31 Dec 2012 and sorted by congregational growth for all countries in Africa per (for Nigeria at the end of 2015).

One country, Burundi, was added between 2012 and 2015 (I remember reading the missionary blog of the senior missionary couple sent with another couple and 8 elders to open Burundi). Thus, Burundi, although with a small LDS population, has the highest percent growth over the three years.

Burundi: Membership growth = 597/-- = Congregational growth = 3/-- =
Cote d'Ivoire: Membership growth = 32,258/18,602 = 73.4% Congregational growth = 130/53 = 145.3%
Benin: Membership growth = 2,255/1,081 = 108.6% Congregational growth = 14/6 = 133.3%
Namibia: Membership growth = 848/763 = 11.1% Congregational growth = 4/2 = 100.0%
Botswana: Membership growth = 3,167/2,152 = 47.2% Congregational growth = 12/7 = 71.4%
Sierra Leone: Membership growth = 16,155/11,664 = 38.5% Congregational growth = 45/27 = 66.7%
Cameroon: Membership growth = 1,480/1,277 = 15.9% Congregational growth = 10/6 = 66.7%
Cape Verde: Membership growth = 12,786/9,326 = 37.1% Congregational growth = 38/23 = 65.2%
Ghana: Membership growth = 67,398/52,387 = 28.7% Congregational growth = 244/148 = 64.9%
Rwanda: Membership growth = 344/121 = 184.3% Congregational growth = 3/2 = 50.0%
Swaziland: Membership growth = 1,837/1,522 = 20.7% Congregational growth = 6/4 = 50.0%
Togo: Membership growth = 3,279/1,861 = 76.2% Congregational growth = 16/11 = 45.5%
Angola: Membership growth = 1,908/1,257 = 51.8% Congregational growth = 7/5 = 40.0%
Malawi: Membership growth = 2,143/1,421 = 50.8% Congregational growth = 8/6 = 33.3%
Mozambique: Membership growth = 8,584/6,029 = 42.4% Congregational growth = 28/21 = 33.3%
Democratic Republic of the Congo: Membership growth = 47,929/34,547 = 38.7% Congregational growth = 153/116 = 31.9%
Nigeria: Membership growth = 142,033/109,998 = 29.1% Congregational growth = 454/350 = 29.7%
Liberia: Membership growth = 9,675/6,709 = 44.2% Congregational growth = 24/20 = 20.0%
Zimbabwe: Membership growth = 27,825/23,117 = 20.4% Congregational growth = 71/60 = 18.3%
Kenya: Membership growth = 12,898/11,869 = 8.7% Congregational growth = 46/41 = 12.2%
Republic of the Congo: Membership growth = 6,413/5,750 = 11.5% Congregational growth = 19/17 = 11.8%
South Africa: Membership growth = 62,600/59,807 = 4.7% Congregational growth = 168/152 = 10.5%
Zambia: Membership growth = 3,577/3,044 = 17.5% Congregational growth = 13/12 = 8.3%
Uganda: Membership growth = 14,289/11,442 = 24.9% Congregational growth = 27/25 = 8.0%
Madagascar: Membership growth = 10,859/9,190 = 18.2% Congregational growth = 39/37 = 5.4%
Tanzania: Membership growth = 1,456/1,220 = 19.3% Congregational growth = 6/6 = 0.0%
Ethiopia: Membership growth = 1,903/1,678 = 13.4% Congregational growth = 5/5 = 0.0%
Central African Republic: Membership growth = 219/194 = 12.9% Congregational growth = 1/1 = 0.0%
Mauritius: Membership growth = 471/428 = 10.0% Congregational growth = 2/2 = 0.0%
Lesotho: Membership growth = 873/880 = -0.8% Congregational growth = 2/2 = 0.0%
Reunion: Membership growth = 917/882 = 4.0% Congregational growth = 4/5 = -20.0%

Ryan Searcy said...

That is unfortunate for San Diego. However, we should strive to look at the positives - the loss of that stake will allow foe neighboring stakes to be strengthened.

Adam said...

Got word this weekend that my father would serve as the District President for the Okinawa Military District. Cool process that he wasn't expecting, only got 15 minutes to choose his counselors while the Area Seventy was in town. Interesting thing about it is that normally Mission Presidents perform temple recommend interviews and pre/post mission interviews in districts. Here the area authority and mission president told him that this won't apply to him as there are worthy priesthood and experience that he will be able to perform those duties, which I've never heard before for a District President. Military members aren't allowed to be on the island more than 5 years, so it's a very high turnover district.

John Pack Lambert said...

Today in my ward one member had his co-worker who is a native of Ghana visiting. We had at least one more person attending an LDS meeting for the first time. Also a sister baptized last November who has not made it out much lately was there because she has managed to rearange her work schedule so she can come on Sundays. The one sad thing is 2 of the 3 people baptized this year are about to move to St. George, Utah. They work flipping houses.

John Pack Lambert said...

South Africa's 3 year membership growth of only 5% is pretty low compared to other countries, but at least its congregation growth is higher than that. Interesting that Sierra Leone has seen the number of units grow at twice the percentage of the membership growth. Ivory Coast has also seen this. It's 73% membership growth is huge. If the Church had been growing overall at that rate during the same period there would be over 22 million members. However its 145% growth in congregations is even higher. If the Church overall was growing that fast, there would be just under 70,000 wards and branches. Thus even though Benin had a higher percentage membership growth, Ivory Coast had more congregation growth. Of course if I remember correctly Benin just has one brnach outside the capital, so there is a lot of room for opening new branches in new areas, something that is picking up in Ivory Coast.

Mike Johnson said...

Reunion and Mayotte are not independent countries, but are "departments" of France. A department is the basic political division of France (and of several Francophone countries)

John Pack Lambert said...

Still looking at the classic map of Ivory Coast the vast majority of the country is not covered by wards or branches. Even if we assume that at times the branch lines might be drawn a little too small, we will still have large areas unreached. For example there are 4 regions in the north-west of Ivory Coast with no branches at all. Ivory Coast's 4th largest city, Korhogo, with nearly 300,000 people, is one such place.

Michael Worley said...

Confirmation that Sparks NV got a second stake today: the Sparks West and Sparks East stakes were created.

Michael Worley said...

I'm also seeing signs that point to another new stake in Mesa today; I can't confirm that yet.

Michael Worley said...

And it seems like the Monument Park North stake was also dissolved today. Four (or more) steps forward: Sparks, New London, Juazeiro, maybe Mesa; two steps back: Sweetwater, Monument Park.

Ryan Searcy said...

It would not make sense for the El Cajon Stake to also be discontinued. It neighbored the Sweetwater stake, and if there was risk for both to be discontinued, they would have just combined the two, not discontinue both.

Bryce said...

I would move Central African Republic to category B based on Mike's numbers.

Bryce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryce said...

Figured out why double postings happen, this is the second time where I write a response on my smartphone and press Publish, then on the next screen I push the BACK button on my phone, publishing a second time. Hopefully this helps others having this issue? :)

Eduardo Clinch said...

Thanks for all the feedback on the LDS growth ratings. I omitted Tunisia, Gabon, and the Comoros as French speaking African nations.
I was thinking of ratings as far as size, and combined with the letter of A for dynamic and C for no or little presence, a number could be assigned for population like:
1= 1 million
2= 100 thousand
3= 10 thousand
4= 1 thousand
5= 100
6= 1-99
7= 0

So Mexico would be A1, Chile would be B2, Falklands B6, Vatican City C7, etc.

With some of those B countries in Africa it would be hopeful that certain countries could go Alpha, especially densely populated nations like Rwanda and Burundi. As the Alpha nations grow stronger they can send French speakers to the weaker neighbors, thus growing the groups upward.
My nephew who served in A3 (I think) Sierra Leone had companions from Ghana and Nigeria and other nations. The conversations that he reported that were incredible, including discussions of physics and biology, thus potentially starting young men (or women) on their bright futures with the priesthood, church service, education, and family building.
Awesome stuff.
The Gospel has real answers to problems across the globe, and this should be evidenced in the places that struggle the most to help people get ahead.

James Anderson said...

No details, but the creation of the Provo Utah Freedom stake appeared to have taken a lot of effort.

It in the end may have been a three-for-two, and it almost involved a fourth, Provo North Park, according to the stake executive secretary in casual conversation while waiting for a temple recommend interview.

Alex said...

The stake presidency here in the Spokane WA stake announced that there is a new stake being formed June 19 from the Spokane, Spokane North, and Spokane Valley stakes. I didn't catch the names of all of the wards going into the new stake, and I can't find anything online to help me, but I think 3 wards (Beacon Hills is one of them) and the Friendship Park branch from the Spokane stake, one ward from the Valley stake, and two wards from the North stake are going into the new stake.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I have wondered for a while what the effect of having a temple like an hour away (i.e. Spokane) has on those within that span, if it has occasional goers attending more frequently than before, people who did not go before now going through for their endowments...Overall temple activty increasing, like baptisms for youth and converts...Which helps mission work.
In another hard to quantify way, I can't help but think that more stake leadership in smaller stakes help members get more outreach and ministering, which could stimulate more activity and growth. And smaller stakes allow more church members saving time and permitting other productive activities like fellowshipping and family history.
Part of the beauty of unit and temple growth is the increased faith quotient of those involved.

John Pack Lambert said...

My guess is the number one plus of having a temple close by is that it allows for taking new converts to the temple more easily and sooner to do baptism, and allows youth to go do baptism more often. However with the last one it is not always the case. The Seattle Temple was so over stretched in the late 1990s that even youth in the ward that had the temple it its boundaries could only go maybe twice a year. On the other hand my ward has too many youth to take them all to the Detroit Temple for baptisms at once, but we manage to have at least 4 youth baptismal trips a year. I am not sure if people have started taking advantage of the family baptisms slots as was hoped.

Getting endowed not too long after baptism is a lot easier under such circumstances. I am guessing there are many active members in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Zimbabwe and in Kenya among other countries who have not been endowed. I am not sure anywhere in the US is far enough from a temple that endowment rates are lower due to distance, but I am guesing even if most active members in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or Tucson, Arizona have been endowed, at least those who haven't it is most likely something like not keeping the word of wisdom or not paying tithing, not that they just are not able to find a way to get to the temple, I am guessing the number of members from those cities who go to the temple every month or every year will greatly increase with the new temple.

I wonder if the Provo Utah Freedom Stake was able to be partly formed because of people who took the building of a new temple as motivation to set their lives in order to be able to go to the temple.

Porter said...

CAR should be in B. So should Morocco. There is a branch in Rabat I attended for a year. Tunisia also has a family group.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Cool about Morocco. I guess that might be sensitive info. My wife's first area was Ceuta (known as Sebta in Arabic), but that counts toward Europe and Spain.
Good catch of Central African Rep, I think I had read about that presence on this blog.

Gnesileah said...

The Rabat Branch was removed from the sensitive list within the past year or two. In 2009, there was also a group in Casablanca. It may still be operating.

There have been a couple articles on members living in Tunisia over the years. I recall one from I think the Ensign about 15 years ago. There is also this interesting posting on a member family who moved away in 2011. They called their group the "Tunisian Twig".

John Pack Lambert said...

I was just reading an article in the Salt Lake Tribune (something I hate to do, especially since the author takes every chance he can to denounce Utah's liquor control policies, that lead to lower rates of drunk-driving deaths and other social goods) in which it was mentioned that the LDS Church leases space at 1000 S. Main in Salt Lake City "for Sunday services." In a previous article this was described as "not a traditional church." I am trying to figure out why the Church is leasing this worship space in Salt Lake City of all places.

TempleRick said...

From what I could gather, the church space leased at 1000 Main is for members of the Palmer Court Branch. Palmer Court is a 201-unit facility in Salt Lake City, operated by The Road Home, for chronically homeless single men, women, and families with children. It is located at 999 Main, right across the street from the leased church space. Palmer Court was formerly a Holiday Inn, but converting it to a transitional-housing complex in 2009 got its start after the Church donated $7 million toward the cause. Rent is calculated at one third of the resident's monthly earnings. Those without a job pay $50 a month. It has been a huge blessing to residents, many of whom have spent years on the street.

There is a traditional meetinghouse located several blocks from Palmer Court across busy State Street, but I imagine very few branch members have cars, making the trek a little more dangerous. The branch presidency are out-of-unit members from around the Salt Lake Valley, but the branch clerk and executive secretary are both branch members. Having a space across the street for Sunday services and mid-week interviews and activities seems like a good choice for these members who have so little.

John Pack Lambert said...

Very good to hear about this case of taking the Church to the people. Hopefully we can do more such. We are seeing it in Ivory Coast, but even there the Church has come no where near reaching villages or truly flooding over a city.