Monday, August 6, 2018

LDS Outreach Efforts Beginning in The Gambia and Burkina Faso

The August 2018 Africa West Area Presidency message noted that for the first time area leaders have begun to examine prospects to establish the Church in two additional countries in West Africa where no LDS presence currently operates, namely The Gambia and Burkina Faso. Although information in the article is extremely limited, Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Seventy reported that during his service in the Africa West Area presidency between 2013 and 2018, he has met with members of the Church in Ghana, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo, Benin, Senegal, Guinea, Mali, The Gambia, and Burkina Faso. These countries appear to be listed in the order in which he has visited them, with the last countries listed being the countries he has most recently visited for the first time (e.g. Senegal, Guinea, and Mali are listened in the order in which the first branch was organized). The Church has never reported an official presence in The Gambia or Burkina Faso even though both countries experience widespread religious freedom and no known legal barriers that prevent an LDS establishment. Member groups may operate in Ouagadougou and Banjul, although no confirmation is currently available. Burkina Faso presents some of the greatest opportunities for growth given a sizable Christian minority and the recent growth of other proselytism-focused Christian groups in the country. Both Burkina Faso and The Gambia are directly administered by the Africa West Area and by the Africa West Area Branch. Both countries appear most likely to be assigned to one of the three Ivorian missions. The first member from Burkina Faso to serve a full-time mission began his service in 2014.

There are 20 million people in Burkina Faso, and 2 million people in The Gambia.


James said...

Matt, thanks for that report. It is interesting to consider how much growth has occurred in West Africa just in the 5 years that Elder Vinson has served in that area presidency. It is interesting that the number of stakes has more than doubled (from 38-100) during that time. With that in mind, I can see why you have previously noted that the number of temples in various phases in this area of the Church could (and likely will) rise from the current 3 to 13 sometime in 2030. It will be interesting to see all of that unfold. Thanks again, Matt!

Eduardo Clinch said...

I am interested to know about Church operations in Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. Thanks for the news shared.
Wow, still greatly miss Hope any recovery is going well.

Chris said...

Is it true that the Tolosa Philippines District (1989-01-22) was upgraded to Stake status at end of July 2018? On the Classic Lds Maps site, it is still listed as District?

James said...

@Eduardo Clinch: The LDS Church Temples site continues the restoration process. The latest word I have indicates that, if all goes well, the site could be up and running again sometime next month (though that is a more general estimate, not a specific one, and will be subject to change as more information comes in). I also hope the recovery process is going well.

@Chris: On the main page of this site, the stake you mentioned is listed among those organized in 2018 (which it appears may have taken place at some point in July), but clearly there is no information as of yet in terms of when that might have occurred, or which units might be involved. Perhaps the addition of that information is still pending on the resource you mentioned.

Hope these answers are helpful.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Church has a branch in Guinea.

The growth from 38 to at least 101 stakes under President Vinson is impressive. Still much of this is an outgrowth of the faithful building up by too many unsung and unacknowledged pioneers of the Church in West Africa.

Anthony Obinna and others like him in Nigeria who held to the faith for over 10 years come to mind.

So to does J W B Johnson and some of his associates in Ghana. In their case they not only built the Church for over a decade but later weathered the very dark days of the freeze.

Emmanuel Kissi was also key to Ghana. He chose to return there rather than take a much more lucrative job in Britain. He along with the Johnsons were the key leaders through the dark days of the Freeze.

Ivory Coast owes huge amounts to the two couples who returned from Europe, in one case the wife was German and only the husband Ivorian, who built up the church there. I am sure there are many more stories to tell of faithfulness through the civil war and stories of key people in building the branches in many locations. Sierra Leone and Liberia have many stories to be told of faithfulness through both civil war and the Ebola epidemic.

Matt said...

Correction - Tolosa Philippines Stake to be organized this Sunday.

El. Álvarez said...

I beg tour pardon, but how often does updates?

James said...

El, I am not Matt, but I can tell you he has taken time to update pretty consistently, and he generally takes time over a three-year period or so to compile the latest data for all countries for which that website has profiles created. Matt has been sharing on this blog links to many of those recently-updated profiles for different countries around the world that he and David Stewart have been assembling for the last couple of years. Matt also recently announced that he and David are working on a new edition of their LDS Church Growth Almanac, which will include the updated profiles and may be published by sometime around 2020. The last edition they published was 2014, and information from that edition of the Almanac (of which I have a copy) is certainly outdated. That said, if you see any country profiles on that still seem outdated, Matt is always wonderful about accepting and responding to such feedback.

In the meantime, for any who are reading this comment, but have not recently read the comments on other posts on this blog, I have concluded working on my updated list of prospective locations which are most likely to have a temple announced in the upcoming October General Conference, and am hosting an open-commenting period for the next 6.5 weeks on that list before I need to finalize its' content in preparation for that conference. With my thanks to Matt for continuing to allow me to do so, and to all of you for the ongoing inspirational conversations on the comment threads of this blog, I am pleased to provide the address of that post, and to invite any of you who have feedback on that or any other post on my blog to feel free to leave your feedback. The link follows. Thanks again to you all.

I wanted to pass along some personal news: I have finally finished the process of compiling and annotating the list of temple prospects which I have felt could be announced in the near future, and that information has been published on my blog very recently. With my thanks to Matt for this post, for allowing us to continue to have wide-ranging discussions on the comment threads of this blog, and for continuing to graciously allow me to share such things, I wanted to conclude this comment by passing along the address at which my updated list of those locations can be found, for which I will be welcoming comment for the next 6.5 weeks or so before I fine-tune it for the October 2018 General Conference. I would appreciate any comments any of you have on that list, or any other post on my blog, for that matter. Thanks again to you all.