Saturday, November 18, 2017

New Stakes Created in Sierra Leone (2), Arizona, India, Kentucky, and Montana

Sierra Leone
Last Sunday, the Church in Sierra Leone organized its first two stakes in the second most populous city of Bo. The Bo Sierra Leone North Stake was created from the Bo Sierra Leone North District, and the Bo Sierra Leone West Stake was created from the Bo Sierra Leone West District. The two stakes were created in a combined stake conference that was attended by 1,945 people. Local members in the Bo Sierra Leone North Stake report that all seven branches in the district became wards when the stake was organized. Thus, the new stake contains the following seven wards:  Batiama, Bo, Gbonda Town, Kortugbuma, Nduvuibu, Njaie Town, and Yemo Town. Information which of the seven branches in the Bo Sierra Leone West District became wards in the new stake remains unavailable. 

The Church in Bo has experienced some of the most rapid LDS growth ever reported in the worldwide Church. The Bo Sierra Leone District originally serviced all branches in the city of Bo until the district divided to create the Bo Sierra Leone East District in 2014. The two Bo districts divided to create a third district, the Bo Sierra Leone North District, in late November 2016. Four of the seven congregations in the Bo Sierra Leone North Stake have been organized since 2015, whereas four of the seven congregations in the Bo Sierra Leone West Stake have been organized since 2014, and two of the five branches in the Bo Sierra Leone East District have been organized since 2015. The Bo Sierra Leone North Stake was created less than one year after the original Bo Sierra Leone North District was organized. Never in the history of the Church has a district so quickly been organized into a stake. To make this feat even more impressive, one of the districts that the Bo Sierra Leone North District was created from also became a stake at the same time. The Bo Sierra Leone North Stake is also the first predominantly Mende-speaking stake in the Church. Of the seven wards in the new stake, five wards are designated as Mende speaking. No LDS materials have appeared to have been translated into Mende.

There are now four stakes and four districts in Sierra Leone.

Arizona
The Church organized a new stake in Gilbert, Arizona on November 12th. The Gilbert Arizona Superstition Springs Stake was organized from a division of the Mesa Arizona Boulder Creek Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards: the Elliot Groves, Highland Groves, Highland Ranch, Highland, Meadows, Monterey Park, Redfield, and Towne Meadows Wards.

There are now 114 stakes in Arizona.

India
The Church organized its first predominantly Hindi-speaking stake in the worldwide Church on November 12th. The New Delhi India Stake was organized from the New Delhi India District. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Dwarka, New Delhi 1st, New Delhi 2nd, New Delhi 3rd, and New Delhi 4th Wards, and the Noida and Pitampura Branches. The new stake is the Church's first stake to be organized in northern India and within the boundaries of the India New Delhi Mission.

There are now four stakes and three districts in India. The Church has previous organized stakes in India in Hyderabad (2012), Bengaluru (2015), and Rajahmundry (2016).

Kentucky
The Church organized a new stake in Kentucky on November 5th. The Elizabethtown Kentucky Stake was organized from a division of the New Albany Indiana Stake, Crestwood Kentucky Stake, and Louisville Kentucky Stake. The new stake includes the following five ward and five branches: the Brandenburg, Elizabethtown, Glasgow, Radcliff, and Sulphur Well Wards, and the Bardstown, Campbellsville, Lebanon, Leitchfield, and Shepherdsville Branches.

There are now eight stakes in Kentucky.

Montana
The Church organized a new stake in Montana. The Billings Montana South Stake was organized from a division of the Billings Montana Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and one branch: the Blue Creek, Canyon Creek, Laurel, Monad, Red Lodge, and Shiloh Wards, and the Absarokee Branch.

There are now 13 stakes in Montana.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Persian (Farsi) Speaking Branch Organized in California

Last Sunday, the Church organized a Persian (Farsi) speaking branch in Del Mar, California. The new branch is the Church's only Persian-speaking branch in the worldwide Church and may be the first branch to ever conduct meetings solely in the Persian language. The Church established several branches in Iran during the 1970s and operated the Iran Tehran Mission to service members in Iran between 1975 and 1979.

Iranians have been uniquely receptive to the LDS Gospel message among peoples in the Middle East. Thousands of Iranian members have joined the Church worldwide during the past four decades and rates of convert baptisms among Iranians have appeared to increase during the past decade. Comparatively few Arabs have joined the Church. Today, Persian-speaking members have joined the Church in sizable numbers in the United States, Canada, Turkey, Sweden, Germany, and several additional European countries. The creation of a Persian-speaking branch is a significant milestone as there appear to be sufficient leadership for Persian members to maintain their own congregation. Prospects appear favorable for the organization of additional Persian-speaking branches, member groups, and Sunday School classes in several countries and locations, especially in Los Angeles, California and Toronto, Canada.