Monday, July 2, 2018

June 2018 Newsletter

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James said...

Great update, as always, Matt! It is so good to see the Church making such significant progress in a lot of ways. Thanks for continuing to share your enthusiasm for Church growth developments with all of us. The Lord is truly hastening His work in its' time, and we are blessed to be witnesses to that process as it continues to unfold. Thank you.

Gnesileah said...

Asaba Nigeria Stake
- Asaba 2nd Branch upgraded to Ward

Nigeria Ibaban Mission
- Nigeria Ibadan Mission Branch created

Zimbabwe Bulawayo Mission
- Zimbabwe Bulawayo Mission Branch created

Yerevan Armenia District
- Malatia Branch discontinued

Russia Yekaterinburg Mission
- Russia Yekaterinburg Kyrgyzstan Mission Branch created

Sante Fe Argentina North Stake
- San Justo Branch created

Chimbote Perú South Stake
- Bellavista Ward created

Lima Perú Santa Patricia Stake
- Mayorazgo Ward renamed Mayorazgo 1st Ward
- Mayorazgo 2nd Ward created

Hemet California Stake
- Mountain View Ward discontinued

Lehi Utah Stake
- Veterans Park Ward created
- Westfield 3rd Ward created

Orem Utah Geneva Heights Stake
- Geneva Heights 11th Ward created

James said...

Thank you, Gnesileah, for this update. It is significant to me personally for a couple of reasons. I currently reside in the Orem Utah Geneva Heights Stake. Last year, two new wards were created in our stake, and now apparently, one other has been created as well. And I have previously referenced the fact that one of my then-home teachers is from Armenia. It is wonderful to hear of all of the interesting developments occurring in these unit changes. Thanks again.

Gnesileah said...

James, I had recalled that I thought you had once shared you lived in the Orem Utah Geneva Heights Stake, and I was thinking about you when I wrote about the new ward. Congratulations on the progress in your stake! Armenia holds a special place in my heart too. I think I previously shared that when I lived in Provo, my neighbors were some of the first converts from Armenia and had helped translate the Book of Mormon into Armenian. Wonderful people.

Chris said...

Confirmed on Classic LDS Maps.

Transferred Greece Athens Mission + Nicosia Cyprus District to Adriatic South Mission.

Chris said...
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James said...

@Gnesileah, it is interesting that three new wards have been created in our stake within the last year or less. AFAIK, that has never happened in any of the wards I have ever been in previously. That said, in general, the creation of these new wards seems to be because there are several acres of land being developed within the stake, and when those developments result in a large amount of residents, there will, in the natural course of events, have to be new wards created.

If I am remembering my facts correctly, we have four meetinghouses for the now-11 wards within the stake. And for as long as we have lived in our current location, our ward building only houses two wards, which alternate from the earliest meeting block (9 AM) to the latest (1 PM). After each new ward has been created, I have looked to see if and how that has changed. So far, that has not been the case.

But it gets even more interesting, because as far as I know, the only way our ward has been affected is shifting membership. With a number of trailers/apartments/condos within the ward boundaries, leadership turnover is high. There are others who, like us, haven't moved and aren't going anywhere soon, but there has been quite a shift in the makeup of the ward. About the only organization in our ward that has not been changed much for most of the time we have been here is our bishopric.

As I have previously mentioned, in view of extended health issues that have gone on for at least the last two years, if not longer, our ability to fully participate in and be contributors to our current ward has been problematic. And one downside of the high turnover rate is that we don't often get contacted by those in leadership positions.

That said, our personal situation does not take away from or diminish the fact that the creation of 3 new wards is a clear indicator that our stake is doing something that is working in terms of adapting to the changes that come from the high rate of turnover as a result of much of the stake membership being apartments, trailers, or condos.

And also interestingly enough, for the first time, my wife and I live closer to our stake center than we do to our assigned ward building. In Utah, where meetinghouses are almost on every street corner, that is becoming more prevalent.

Despite all the nuances, it is amazing to see all of this happening the way it has. As I understand it, most stakes get split if they reach around 12-15 wards. We are nearly there here in this stake, and if the growth of its' membership continues the way it has, perhaps splitting the stake will become more of a real possibility within the next year or two.

@Chris: Thank for sharing which units might be a part of the new Concepcion Chile Temple District. Unless we hear otherwise, I would imagine that the high significance of the Rome Italy Temple explains why the units in its' district were identified so early. I would anticipate that we will hear a final decision on the Concepcion temple district composition, in addition to who will serve as that temple's first president, within the next month or two, since the dedication of that temple is scheduled to take place on the last Sunday in October. Less than 4 months away now. Exciting times!

L. Chris Jones said...

Over three years ago I lived across the strets and around the corner from a meetinghouse but it was barely in the next stake. I drove another couple miles passing my stake center to get to my ward building. I had at least two buildings closer than my wards. however that was not a huge sacrifice at all. People all over the world have to travel sometimes hours to get to church.

John Pack Lambert said...

I got married and am now in a branch. In elders quorum our EQP mentioned that there are 30 perspective elders in the branch of which he says he has only ever seen 5 at Church. We did have another boy ordained a deacon on Sunday.

James said...

@L. Chris Jones: I know that living closer to one's stake center than their assigned ward building is not uncommon or unheard of. I just find it interesting that I am in that situation now because this is the first time I have personally experienced it AFAIK.

@John Pack Lambert: I seemed to recall your mentioning you were getting married. Big congrats on that. 30 prospective elders is a lot. But that is not unheard of either. I seem to recall someone (I believe one of our apostles) who recounted the story of how he visited a stake to reorganize the stake presidency after the current one had served for much longer than the 9-10 years that has been typical in recent years.

He had heard there was an unusually large number of prospective elders that had been ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood during this stake president's tenure, and he asked those who had been to stand. If I am recalling correctly, there were around 100 or so. So 30 such men in a branch may not be unheard of. Sounds like a prime opportunity for outreach.

One odd thing about my current ward (aside from what I noted in my last comment about the high turnover and frequent changes in ward leadership) is that there are a number of elders and high priests, and a reasonably-sized primary, but there seems to be between only 1 or 2 individuals in each of the Aaronic Priesthood quorums and Young Women's Groups.

If some of the families in the ward were to stick around for a while, then in the next 5-6 years, the YM/YW program will look much more typical of most wards. But that is one downside of living in a ward largely made up of trailers, apartments, and condominiums. It also makes it difficult to get to know people in the ward before they move out. Aside from our bishopric, where only the clerks have changed, I cannot think of a single ward auxiliary that has not been impacted at least a few times by the ever-changing membership of our ward. It's an interesting process to watch.

James Anderson said...

The record for prospective elders ordained at one time (likely over a couple weeks after due to the number), was 153 sustained at a stake conference in Manaus, Brazil when the Church was growing fast in that city, it is in a Church News article from before the Internet.

James said...

Thank you, James Anderson, for sharing that information. I grew up round about the time when the internet was becoming more widely used, so I may or may not have been aware of the information you shared.

The story I referenced was actually recounted by President Henry B. Eyring during the Priesthood Session of the October 2015 General Conference. And the particulars were that, at a stake conference, President Eyring was present when some 40 men were presented for ordination to the priesthood. He asked the stake president what kind of program he used, and the stake president singled out a particular elders' quorum president who reported that it was through a mutual love of trucks and reliance on the spirit that this occurred.

I was getting the details of that story mixed up with a few others, also told by different apostles, about stake presidents that had served for an unusually long period of time. Chalk it up to my not fact-checking myself before I posted the comment. My apologies for that.

It was great to hear about that record, though. This is another in the series of examples about how the Church has really made progress in Brazil. And now, we have a Brazilian-born apostle as well.

That is one of many reasons why I have two additional Brazilian candidate cities on the list of locations that could have a temple announced in the near future (Salvador & Belo Horizonte). But if the growth in Brazil which Matt has reported on recently is any indication, then I could potentially see a day when the number of temples in Brazil is equal to or greater than the number of temples here in Utah.

The Lord seems to be especially mindful of His Saints in South America and Africa, and I am convinced the Church has only scratched the surface in terms of all of the great things we will see occurring as the gospel spreads in both continents.

John Pack Lambert said...

To tell you the truth I do not know how many perspective elders there were in my last ward. There were 3 in one household though.

My branch is about half white, half African-American if you count adults. However primary addendance is almost all white. Of the 6 or so young men who show up 5 are black. Many white families are here for medical training and then go away.

Me and my wife are the only current biracial couple although there was one in the past also with a white husband.

In fact, of the 15 or so African-American women who show up to the branch at keast monthly, my wife is one of only 3 who have an LDS husband. One other couple I know got sealed in the temple a few years back, the other couple I am not sure of.

To be fair there was another sister from the branch who got married in the temple a year ago. Me and my wife got married in the Detroit Temple. That sister got married in the Oklahoma City Temple to a man she met at BYU-Idaho. She had also been the first pwrson to leave on a mission from the branch.

To be fair there are other active melchezidek priesthood holding African-Americans beyond what I have written suggests. They are just unmarried.

James Anderson said...

Another major announcement, this broke either yesterday or early this morning.

The annual curriculum instructions for 2019 showing what is new, some of the new material may not be live online yet

This appears to have come out a year earlier than some had anticipated or even heard it would be. The updates for Primary are significant and I had heard noting about any plans to update things there although all but the nursery manual was rather old.

James Anderson said...

One more link, it's not on the main Come Follow Me page yet but here is a landing page related to the announcement, includes a PDF of the First Presidency letter

Chris said...
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James said...

@James Anderson: That news broke early this morning. It was not a surprise to me. In a Church News article published earlier this year, a report was featured detailing the visit of members of the Sunday School and Young Men General Presidencies to South Africa, the main purpose of which was to train some of the Church leaders there about this new curriculum. And given that the Church has been moving towards things that will provide greater unity between all Church members around the world, the altered curriculum for the Primary-aged individuals is not surprising either. I especially think it is great that all Primary children will be taught from the same manual, which hasn't been the case at least since my own Primary days ended almost 20 years ago. What a welcome change this is, since it places more responsibility on each of us to individually and within our families to be more fully prepared to participate in the lessons in Church each Sunday. That shift, in my opinion, is long overdue.

Chris, I became aware of the report on the Urdaneta Philippines Temple developments around two or three hours ago. That is exciting news. As recently as yesterday, the only temple of which I was aware that was sure to have a groundbreaking by the end of this year was the Bangkok Thailand Temple.

So the prospect of now having two groundbreakings (while not ruling out the odds of others occurring as well) is very exciting indeed. For all reading this comment that are interested in doing so, I have provided some analysis on these developments and others on my blog within the last three hours as well. With my ongoing thanks to Matt for allowing me to do so, I am again posting a link to my blog below, and I welcome thoughts from anyone regarding this developments.

I would also like to send my additional thanks to Matt for allowing us to discuss all of these topics in the comments of this blog. He has done very well in not only sharing very pertinent and updated information on a variety of topics,, but also in allowing the conversations in these comment threads to be as wide-ranging as they have all inevitably turned out to be. The topics discussed in these comments are, for the most part, very interesting discussions to follow, and it is wonderful to be part of it all. So thanks to every one of you for that as well.

Noel Shaw said...

Consolidation and boundary changes, Northampton England Stake.
Bletchley and Milton Keynes merged into single Ward.
Members of Milton Keynes Ward (approx 30) move into Bedford Ward due to boundary changes.

James Anderson said...

The @tegas fajar post is spam, I have added all the domains involved to web content filters and some may have submitted them for blacklisting for spam (Matt, remove both the one above and this housekeeping post too when you delete that one)