Monday, October 9, 2017

First Full-time Missionaries to Serve from Senegal

Senior missionaries who serve in Accra, Ghana report that the first Senegalese full-time missionaries recently began their training at the new Ghana Missionary Training Center (MTC). Two male missionaries were called at the same time from Senegal and constitute the first known members from Senegal to have ever served a full-time mission. The Church organized its first official branch in Senegal in May 2016. Currently the Dakar Branch pertains to the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan West Mission. There are four members in the branch presidency and all appear to be native Black African members. No official membership statistics for the Church in Senegal are available. No young, full-time missionaries have ever appeared to have been assigned to serve in Senegal.

17 comments:

James said...

That is awesome news, Matt! One of the many things I have enjoyed seeing in recent years relating to Church growth has been how the Lord is opening the doors of African nations to the gospel message. It doesn't seem like it's been all that long since Elder Bednar offered that prayer of dedication over the land and people of Senegal, and I hope that this is the first of many reports of such wonderful milestones in that nation. Thanks for letting all of us know about this. Hope you know how much your work is appreciated by all of us who continue conversations you have started here. Thanks again.

John Pack Lambert said...

unless you mean the members of the branch presidency are Senegales I question the use of the term "native".

John Pack Lambert said...

another branch was added to a Benin City stake.

David Todd said...

I'm very excited to see that a new branch was created in Germfask, Michigan. There has been a group operating there for a long time, but a branch will bring the faithful saints who live in that area great blessings. I've never been to that part of Michigan, but I had several connections while serving in the Lansing mission. One of the people I taught early in my mission was an elderly man whose son had joined the church a few decades back and who decided he finally wanted to know more. His son was the presiding elder of that group, living in Manistique. Another couple that I got to know on my mission had moved to that area from Manistique, where they had been baptized. One of my mission friends served in the Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan branch and baptized a family living out in Newberry. Shortly after being baptized, the branch (and mission) boundary changed and they were assigned to the Marquette ward as part of the Germfask group. I hope that they are doing well, but surely this will be a blessing for them.

Very few people are crazy enough to live in the upper peninsula of Michigan, and unfortunately it means long, and often dangerous, drives to get to church functions. Any time one of these large units is split, I consider it a small victory.

James said...

John, Senegal is one of many nations on the African continent. Therefore, anyone serving anywhere in Africa can correctly be termed as "native" by virtue of having been born on that continent, whether or not they reside in the areas in which they serve. It's one of those seemingly paradoxical expressions that can be taken out of context, but is used correctly here.

David, thanks for your comment on Michigan. It is interesting to see the growth that has occurred there recently. I was curious, so I did the research. At the end of last year, the Church noted that Michigan had a total of 94 congregations. The branch of which David spoke in his comment above is the net gain that the Church in Michigan has seen this year. I hope that whatever is causing the stagnating Church growth in the US will be resolved soon. I think part of the problem nowadays is that the Church has been around so long here it may be losing its novelty. Another problem may be that "cultural Mormons" are becoming more prevalent. If personal testimony is not being properly developed, then when the storms of life hit, those who have been living on "borrowed light".

Whatever the reason for this trend, I hope it reverses itself soon. In the meantime, it is awesome to see the Church becoming stronger in areas that have not previously been open to the gospel. And, as previously noted, Africa and South America are fast turning into strongholds for the Church. It is wonderful to see the growth happening worldwide.

Interestingly enough to me, my current "home stake", the Orem Utah Geneva Heights Stake, reported the creation of two new wards. It is interesting to see that happen. I have never before resided in a stake that reported the creation of two new wards in a single day. I have said this before, but it bears repeating: I can definitely see the Church announcing and building a temple here in Orem at some point. The only question is, when that might happen.

Thanks again to you all for allowing me to be part of this conversation.

L. Chris Jones said...

I anticipate a temple in Orem if there is room for growth between Provo and American Fork. As Provo temple and Mount Time both get full and busy even after the new City Center and Saratoga springs temples are built, I think a Orem could be next in that county.

L. Chris Jones said...

How busy are Ogden and Bountiful temples? Ogden has had two recent temples that have carved stakes away from it. Brigham City was dedicated five years ago last month and Star Valley dedicated almost a year ago this month took some stakes. How could this effect the chance of another temple in that area such as in the Layton/Kaysville areas?

L. Chris Jones said...

It is exciting when Utah or Idaho get more temples, even more so when Manila and Lima get second temples. But I am hoping for more remote temples. Places that struggle to save income just to go to the temple once in thier lives deserve to have closer temples. I hope places like Kiribati, Mongolia, Madagascar, India or other remote places get temples soon.

James said...

Hey, Cnris! I have heard from several people that an Orem temple would be a good idea. The one question is how imminently likely that might be to happen? I don't see it in the immediate future (within the next 15 years) but could see it happen within 30 or so. If the growth in the city of Orem continues as it has up to this point, it may happen sooner.

I don't know how busy Ogden and Bountiful might be, but Layton has been widely mentioned as a strong candidate for a temple. I think we will see Layton get such a temple within the next 15 years, and I personally see it happening sooner rather than later, which is why I have included it on my list of possible temples for as long as I have.

I also appreciate how awesome it is to see temples announced in outlying areas. I hope for temples in well populated areas as well as in remote places. But as I have previously mentioned on other threads of this blog, the issue that tips the scales in favor of the timing of temple announcements and the location in which they are built is two-fold: There must be enough interest in and enthusiasm for the temple that the members within its district will keep it busy, and there must also be enough faithful members to staff such temples.

The growth the Church has seen in South America and Africa in regards to both of those provisions is primarily why there has been an increase in the number of temples announced in those regions. It will be interesting to see what happens in terms of temple announcements in the coming years. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store in that regard.

John Pack Lambert said...

native to me always meabs someone born in rhat country. To refer to natives of "Africa" is to me just a continuation of the many and ext renely annoying cases where people speak of the continent as if it is just one country ignoring reality.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Also, a native North American could be a lot of things, including a descendant of Laman or Lemuel with some remnant of Nephi. Or completely Gentile or of the tribe of Judah.
Panamanian or Canadian.

Johnathan Whiting said...

Ogden's endowment sessions are bursting at the seams.

James Anderson said...

Ogden dropped from 6 to 4 roooms with the center room on each side converted into a B room and the ones on each side of that becoming A rooms. That actually cut total capacity, so this is even with Brigham City coming on line two years before.

Does anyone know how busy Bountiful is? That with Ogden will sort of tell us if a temple between the two is imminent in terms of being announced

L. Chris Jones said...

A lot of recent temple renovations have reduced capacity. I hear it's partly to smooth the transition between rooms and partly to better meet the fire codes.

James said...

I don't know how fire codes work for other temples, but I have spoken previously of how, while working at the Mount Timpanogos Temple, there were at least two occasions that I can remember where there were a large number of patrons lined up heading in to the next session, and that consent was given by the fire marshall of American Fork to allow one large session (instead of two smaller ones). The total in attendance for that session was reportedly the largest session the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple had ever seen before or since, with 115 or 120 in attendance. I imagine if that temple has been anywhere near that busy since my wife and I had to discontinue serving there in 2012 that this surely played into the decisions to relocate the Orem stakes to the Provo district (following the dedication of the Provo City Center temple) and to announce the Saratoga Springs Utah Temple.

James Anderson, I don't know how busy Bountiful might be, but I do know that Layton is part of that temple district, and that for as long as I have been posting my thoughts on future temple locations, Layton (within that district) has been considered a high-priority candidate for a future temple. Some have said that the next Temple built in the Greater Salt Lake Area (which spans Davis and Salt Lake Counties) will be Layton Utah, and my study has verified that opinion. It is amazing to consider how much the Church has grown here in Utah, with the first temple to have a groundbreaking taking 40 years to build, and with Saratoga Springs becoming the eighteenth temple to be built in the state. And I have heard from several people that we may see several other temples announced in Utah over the next 15-20 years or so.

It is interesting to see how the process of determining temple locations and getting such temples built has evolved over time. I know it still takes a while to get some temple construction efforts started, but others have gone up so fast. We live in a wonderful era when temples are truly dotting the earth, and it is awesome to see that happening the way it has.

John Pack Lambert said...

Compared to the late 1990s many current tempke projects seem slow. Temples announced in 1998 were being dedicated in 1999. Today the 2008 announced Rome Italy Temple remains undone.

Unknown said...

Does anyone here remember the "Go Ye Into All the World"? We targeted Senegal specifically. We saw great web-results and always wondered if it was translating into tangible progress in spreading the Gospel. Within a year of running our campaigns in Senegal, the church sent official representation there. It's been a few years since then, and now there are full-time missionaries! Our campaign yielded nearly a hundred people clicking on the page to order a free Book of Mormon. That's not insignificant. I wonder and wonder if we somehow helped in our own little way.