Monday, January 21, 2019

Updated Country Profile - Ukraine

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for Ukraine. The Future Prospects sections of this article sums up the current challenges and opportunities for growth:

Ukraine would seem to be, in many ways, a fertile field for missionary work. Western Ukraine is pluralistic and very tolerant of religions; many people are deeply religious; alcohol and tobacco use, although prevalent, are less ubiquitous than in Russia; people are generally open and approachable; and there is very little anti-Mormon activity. Elder Andersen of the Twelve stated in 2009 that “the temple will be a blessing to Ukraine” and that “people will join the Church here by the hundreds and thousands.”[60] However, much remains to be done to accomplish this ambitious mandate. Contemporary growth rates in Ukraine for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have fallen significantly below rates in stagnant Western European missions in the mid-1990s.[61] Contemporary missions are now baptizing only as many people in a year as were baptized in a month through much of the 1990s. Low convert retention and member activity and heavy dependence on the North American church for funds and missionary manpower remain major challenges. Moreover, political instability and war in Russian separatist areas have posed significant challenges for the Church that have all but erased ambitions for a stake in Donetsk one day. Efforts to organize stakes in additional cities continue to experience setbacks and frustration. Only Kharkiv appears likely to have a stake organized within the foreseeable future, and this seems only possible with the addition of branches from the former Dnepropetrovsk Ukraine District and other outlying mission branches in northeastern Ukraine. The Church continues to rely on full-time missionaries to open new cities for missionary work, yet the number of Ukrainian missions and number of missionaries assigned to Ukraine has declined in recent years, limiting the needed manpower to start new congregations in unreached cities. Although essentially all mission branches have native members who serve in essential leadership positions, most of these outlying congregations have less than thirty active members despite most of these cities having a Church presence for two decades or longer. Emigration of active members away from Ukraine and low birth rates in the Church remain significant challenges for the stability of the Church in the long-term. Dramatic changes in the current dynamics appear unlikely in the medium term.


Eric S. said...

Thank you, Matt and David, for these continued updates. It is fascinating to read about the Church in various countries around the world and to see the different strengths and challenges associated with future potential growth.

On a different note, I was browsing through the different country Newsroom pages and found this on the Brazil Newsroom page:

The first temple Visitors Center in South America has been dedicated and officially opened yesterday. It is located next to the São Paulo Temple.

Eduardo said...

We know the son of one of the first pioneer converts and leaders in Kyiv. Apparently he passed away at the very end of 2018, a few weeks ago.
God bless the Saints and people of Ukraine.
The Orthodox countries, like Greece, are very rough soils to plant the seeds of the Restoration of Jesus Christ and His Church.

Christopher Nicholson said...

Of course, Greece is so bad it practically makes Ukraine look like Utah.