Sunday, December 23, 2018

Potential New Missions and Mission Closures in 2019

There has been no significant change in the number of full-time missionaries serving worldwide during 2018 and this number appears to have slightly decreased. The Church currently reports 65,915 full-time non-service missionaries serving worldwide, whereas at year-end 2017 there were 67,049 full-time non-service missionaries serving. However, there appears to be significant changes to the missionary program and the distribution of worldwide mission resources coming in the immediate future although I am not able to comment more about this development at this time.

Below is a list of locations where I believe as many a 22 missions may be closed and consolidate with neighboring missions in 2019 given church growth trends, the number of stakes/districts serviced by missions, and populations targeted by missionary efforts. I have used no unauthorized sources for these predictions and these predictions are based solely on my own efforts and analysis.
  • Asia
    • Combine Japan Nagoya Mission with Japan Tokyo South Mission
    • Combine Korea Seoul and Korea Seoul South
    • Combine Korea Daejeon with Korea Busan
  • Europe
    • Combine Baltic Mission with Finland Helsinki Mission
    • Combine Czech/Slovak Mission with Poland Warsaw Mission
    • Combine Norway Olso Mission with Denmark Copenhagen Mission
    • Combine Russia St Petersburg Mission with Russia Moscow Mission
    • Combine Russia Yekaterinburg Mission with Russia Novosibirsk Mission
  • Latin America
    • Combine Chile Rancagua Mission with Chile Concepcion Mission and Chile Santiago South Mission
    • Combine Mexico Guadalajara East Mission with Mexico Guadalajara Mission and Mexico Queretaro Mission
    • Combine Mexico Mexico City Northwest Mission with Mexico Mexico City North Mission
    • Combine Mexico City Southeast Mission with Mexico Mexico City Chalco Mission and Mexico Mexico City South Mission
  • United States
    • Combine Arizona Scottsdale Mission with surrounding missions
    • Combine California Anaheim Mission with surrounding missions
    • Combine California Rancho Cucamonga Mission with surrounding missions
    • Combine California Santa Rosa Mission with surrounding missions 
    • Combine Colorado Fort Collins Mission with surrounding missions
    • Combine Georgia Macon Mission with surrounding missions
    • Combine New York Utica Mission with New York Rochester Mission
    • Combine Oregon Salem Mission with surrounding missions
    • Combine Virginia Chesapeake Mission with surrounding missions
    • Combine Washington Yakima Mission with surrounding missions
Below is a list of 36 prospective new missions that appear likely to be organize in the foreseeable future given church growth trends, the number of stakes/districts assigned to current missions, and the size of target populations. Missions in bold appear most likely to be organized in 2019.
  • Australia Brisbane (2nd mission)
  • Bolivia Tarija
  • Brazil Porto Velho
  • Brazil Sao Luis
  • Brazil Sao Paulo (6th mission)
  • Brazil Sorocaba
  • Cameroon Yaounde
  • Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan Abobo (4th Ivorian Mission)
  • Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa (2nd mission)
  • Ecuador Machala
  • Ecuador Quevedo
  • Ethiopia Addis Ababa 
  • Ghana Koforidua
  • Ghana Kumasi (2nd mission)
  • Guatemala City (4th mission)
  • Malawi Lilongwe
  • Myanmar Yangon
  • Nigeria Abuja
  • Nigeria Onitsha
  • Nigeria Uyo
  • Peru Lima (6th mission)
  • Philippines Antipolo
  • Philippines Bacolod (2nd mission)
  • Philippines Davao (2nd mission)
  • Philippines Dumaguete
  • Philippines Lucena 
  • Philippines Ormoc
  • Philippines Santiago
  • Rwanda Kigali 
  • Sierra Leone Bo
  • Solomon Islands Honiara
  • Tanzania Dar Es Salaam
  • Texas Austin
  • Texas Plano
  • Thailand Udorn/Laos
  • Togo Lome


Pascal Friedmann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pascal Friedmann said...

I was just thinking about this. Apparently we have some telepathy going on here.

In general, I believe the predictions are solid. That said, even though it just happened in Bulgaria/Romania/Moldova, I'm not sure how consolidating missions in different languages in different countries is going to be very beneficial.

For example, consolidating Denmark with Norway would leave the mission quite large geographically and most of all tri-lingual (consider Iceland as well, and the Faroe and Greenland if we ever open those for missionary work). Likely, missionaries would never mix between those countries either as the languages are not intelligible to each other's speakers, really. The only benefit would be to save mission leadership and some infrastructure, and I doubt that this would be worth it to the Church. Also, note that Norway and Denmark both have many, many multi-generation member families and the Church is built on very solid bedrock, although it's not growing that quickly. I doubt that there will be a large number of unit consolidations in the coming years that would justify discontinuing either mission.

I think that more, smaller missions are what's coming for the Church anyway. This will allow it to be more agile and missionaries will likely receive better leadership development opportunities. This may be a couple of years out, but I think that missions with 100 to 150 missionaries are the future.

Some of the California missions might get discontinued because my understanding has been for several years that California is really overstaffed for being relatively unproductive. Putting together Utica and Rochester for one mission in Upstate New York makes sense to me as well. Now, with Fort Collins, I think that the areas closer to Denver might get picked up by the actual Denver missions, and that the Church might consider creating a mission in Wyoming. My rationale here is, again, that Wyoming is large and is likely no significant focus for any of the surrounding half dozen missions that cut into it. Growth rates are not awful and, knowing the place quite well, I think Church teachings and the Wyoming mentality are quite compatible. So, outlook for growth may be pretty decent.

In terms of new missions, I agree with you as well. The DRC, Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire could each use a couple more, to be honest. I'm not sure if I see a third mission in Abidjan or instead one in San Pedro or Sassandra, for example. I'm also not sure if I see such a major shift of resources towards the Philippines.

Mario Miguel said...

I heard from a missionary in the Guatemala City Central mission that another mission is for sure being created there in July 2019. It will split from the central mission.

Michael Worley said...

I'm hoping for one new Nigeria mission a year for the next several years... In my view, that pattern, or something similar, could provide measured growth until Nigeria hits 100 stakes and then continues on.

Michael Worley said...

But my view is personal; the church may well go slower or faster there.

Michael Worley said...

I'm going to post this here, even though it is slightly off topic, I know it won't dominate the thread, nor do I want it to:

Some of the few websites (NOT Matt's or Rick's) that still list new wards and branches also list faith-diminishing materials that run afoul of instructions in the temple, or suggest the total number of active members is about to decline (unlikely, as long as west Africa keeps growing like it is).

So perhaps we should use caution in linking to such sites, which seem to contradict church policy.

Pascal Friedmann said...

Michael, yeah - I've been a little thrown off by their predictions in the membership section. It's just not realistic that the Church will see a decline in active membership, perhaps ever from here on out.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Regarding missions in the USA, specifically speculating on which missions should close in California and which missions should open in Texas, it is important to remember that units opening and closing has likely much more to do with member migration and is not necessarily an indication of the success, or lack thereof, of the missions in these areas.

John Pack Lambert said...

I had some thoughts on this issue. They ran to wrong to post here, but you can go to my blog and see them.

John Pack Lambert said...

Here is a link to my blog post.

Pascal Friedmann said...

Ohhappydane33, that is obviously true. However, if migration is happening anyway (and it does), the Church should migrate its missionary resources as well. Simply said, missionaries need to go to work where the people are, or they won't be very effective.

In California's case, the math is just very lopsided when it comes to the number of missions. There are currently 20 of them, for 40 million people with a receptivity level that is about average. One mission per two million people is a bit of an overkill on resources, and there are actually wards here in Europe that have a similar population but only one or two companionships assigned (despite receptivity that likely isn't that much lower). In all honesty, 10 to 12 current-size missions in California will probably get the job done, too.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Ok then, by that logic, Wyoming doesn't need is own mission either. The state with only half a million people is barely growing and in fact has lost overall population in recent years, unlike California. Yes, it is adjacent to Utah and does have some Church strongholds on the western side, but these cities are relatively small. Heck, no city in the state even cracks 100,000.

Michael Worley said...

I'm with Dane's central point on this one-- receptive areas with members moving away should remain having lots of missionaries, as may be happening in California.

Ohhappydane33 said...

What's also a bit puzzling about Wyoming is that it has shown surprisingly little unit growth since 2000 despite the energy boom and despite being right next door to Utah.

Christopher Nicholson said...

Many people hostile to the Church don't seem to realize there's a difference between a stagnant or declining growth rate and a negative growth rate. Or they hang around in an echo chamber of people who have left the Church and calculate its future based on that while ignoring the baptisms, stake creations, and temple announcements.

Ethiopia and Tanzania seem long overdue for their own business. They've had probably the most abysmal growth of anywhere in Africa the Church is established. It would help to be able to reach more than a miniscule percentage of the populations. Of course, I understand the desire to prioritize more receptive countries for additional missions, but at some point they've got to compromise or nothing will ever be accomplished in these ones.

R. Jofre said...

I expect that someday, hopefully soon, men, women, and couples 25 to 70 or so, will be able to serve short-term missions (3-12 months) even if they already served a full-time mission. This might help a lot of people who need something more than just their normal church membership and also would help missions all over the world. People could serve in neighboring missions to avoid extra expenses and visa issues. They can also attend a short training period over a weekend and serve as many missions during their lives as it might be possible.

John Pack Lambert said...

Personally I doubt that Wyoming will get a seperate mission. I also have doubts about the ending of the Colorado Fort Collin Mission.

I also have to express doubt that two missions in the greater LA area will be elimanated anytime soon. One maybe, but not two.

Eduardo Clinch said...

R. Jofre: I like your ideas.

R. Jofre said...

Que bueno Eduardo. Gracias.

Eduardo Clinch said...

If President Nelson hears these impressive suggestions, I think I will credit you for their fruition. Really interesting ideas that could boost our faith. Sometimes we get stuck in our own places; it would be helpful to share our talents as you recommend.

Matt said...

Confirmed new mission in Guatemala - the Guatemala Antigua Mission. The mission will be made from a division of the Guatemala Retalelu Mission and perhaps one more mission.

Chris said...

Matt, the Antigua Guatemala Stake is currently part of the Guatemala Guatemala City Central Mission.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Anaheim mission had two of its neighbors elimanated. This will probably effect some surrouding missions as well.