Showing posts with label Guyana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guyana. Show all posts

Friday, January 28, 2011

New Stake in Utah; Districts Discontinued in Guyana and French Guiana


A new stake was created in Utah last Saturday. The Riverton Utah Harvest Park Stake has eight wards and was created from a division of the Fort Herriman Utah Stake which had 15 wards prior to the creation of the new stake. There are now 547 stakes in Utah.


Full-time missionaries serving in Guyana report that the Canje Guyana District was discontinued at the end of 2010 and branches pertaining to the former district now report directly to the West Indies Mission. Guyana experienced rapid membership and congregational growth in the late 2000s. Growth came to a dramatic halt following the removal of nearly the entire North American missionary force in September 2009 and the implementation of stricter standards for convert baptisms under a new mission president who began serving in July 2009. A combination of low convert retention, inadequate numbers of active priesthood leadership to fill branch and district presidencies, apostasy, and reliance on full-time missionaries for church administrative duties contributed to the discontinuation of the district. Many of the new congregations established in the late 2000s continue to operate under local leaders, indicating that some self-sustaining progress has been achieved in recent years. There are no signs that the Georgetown Guyana District will mature into a stake in the near future and much of the excitement and anticipation for strong church growth in Guyana exhibited only a couple years ago has disappeared. Increasing sacrament attendance has been reported in some branches in the New Amsterdam area over the past couple months.

French Guiana

Organized in 2009, the Cayenne French Guiana District was discontinued and the Kourou Branch was closed. Full-time missionaries serving in French Guiana reported that staffing leadership for congregations in Cayenne has been a major challenge. Inadequate numbers of local leaders appear the primary reason for the discontinuation of the district. The LDS Church has always struggled in French Guiana due to high rates of emigration and a transient migrant worker population.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Visas Problems and Missionaries Around The World


Missionaries in the Mozambique Maputo Mission reported that missionaries were withdrawn from the country of Angola. Angola was first opened for the preaching of the Gospel a year ago and currently has two branches with about 650 members of the Church. The reason for the missionaries being withdrawn from the country was due to visa problems. The Church has struggled to gain visas for missionaries serving in Angola, particularly for North American missionaries. It is unclear as to why visas for missionaries are so difficult to obtain, but likely the result of a lack of missionaries from other religions serving in the country or misunderstandings about the Church's purpose in sending missionaries to the country.


The Deseret News reported concerning the possible removal of missionaries serving in the country of Guyana, which can be found here. According to missionaries serving in the country, the immigration officer for the country is seeking to remove some 38 missionaries, many of whom are from the United States, from the country, claiming that their visas expired and were never renewed. The Church is currently working with the government in Guyana to resolve the issue. News reports of the situation have stated that there are around 100 missionaries serving in the country. It is unclear whether mission leadership was unaware of updating missionary visas for the country for whether a couple government officials are try to harass the Church. The Church has maintained a positive relationship with the government in Guyana, both on local and national levels.

According to my parents, the Salt Lake Tribute attempted to contact me by phone at my parents' home (how they got the phone number I'm not sure) about the situation. I was unable to talk with the Tribune about the situation because I currently reside in South Korea. However I will provide some analysis of the situation here for those interested.

First of all, I have not been to the country before and all the information I have comes from missionaries who have served or are serving in the country or Church publications. The former Mission President's wife reported that there were 50 Elders serving in Guyana as of June 2009. There are five zones in Guyana, which typically have 10-20 missionaries. Two of these zones are located in the capital of Georgetown (Diamond and LaGrange), two are in New Amsterdam (Berbice and Canje), and one is in Linden. There are 15 branches in the country with at least two more groups meeting as well. Membership has typically grown by around 100-300 members of the Church a year between 2000 and 2007. In 2007 membership grew by 500 members to about 2,600. Last year Guyana saw the largest number of baptisms ever, with membership increasing by about 1,400 to almost 4,000. Currently Church members and missionaries are working on reactivation and retention of recent converts as well as preparing for the first stake to be established in Georgetown, likely before the end of the year.

The current visa situation with American missionaries appears serious primarily because the Church always wants to maintain good relations with governments in different countries around the world. There are large numbers of missionaries serving in the West Indies Mission (which Guyana is a part of) from other nations in the world and if those missionaries alleged of violating visa regulations were withdrawn from the country, the mission would likely be able to take missionaries serving in other countries in the mission and transfer them to Guyana quickly, making sure they comply with all visa regulations. Other countries and territories within the West Indies Mission with larger amounts of missionaries include Guadeloupe, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

It is important to remember that problems with visas and missionaries often are the result of misunderstandings and miscommunications. These are usually quickly resolved and missionary work continues on as before.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Recent Church Growth News

New Congregations In Madagascar

Within the past couple months, several new branches were created in Madagascar. Missionaries report that both Tamatave (Toamasina) and Antsirabe each have three branches. In Antsirabe, one of the new branches is actually located in the small village of Manandona were branch members and investigators meet outside on dirt floors under a large tent. Rapid growth in congregations and membership is also occurring in the capital, Antananarivo, where Madagascar's sole stake will likely split into two stakes in the coming months. Districts will likely be organized soon in both Tamatave and Antsirabe. Still no word on if a branch or group has been created in Mahajanga. It will be interesting to see whether Church growth in Madagascar will have more in common with Africa or the South Pacific once members mature in the Gospel, considering Madagascar has influences from both regions of the world.

Rapid Growth In Linden, Guyana

The Church is growing rapidly in Linden, the largest city in the interior of Guyana. Missionaries were first assigned to the city back at the beginning of this year and today there are two groups functioning in the city, both of which are soon to be made branches. Today there is an entire zone (usually 8-20 missionaries) of missionaries serving in Linden.

New Group In Uganda

A small group of Church members in the city of Lira, Uganda have recently been authorized to hold Sunday meetings as a group. Lira is located in northern Uganda near Gulu, which had its first Church congregations created last year.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

First City To Open For Missionary Work in Guyana Interior

According to Sister Robison from the West Indies Mission, missionaries will now be assigned to the interior city of Linden for two days a week. This is the first time the Church has taken an effort to establish itself in the interior of the country. Most of the people living in these areas are of Amerindian heritage. These native peoples have been receptive to the Gospel in towns where the Church is present. The population of Linden is between 30,000 and 60,000 depending on the source. Senior Missionaries have periodically visited the interior, but only for recreational and humanitarian purposes. No branch has been established Linden as of yet.

The city with the most inhabitants that does not have a Church presence in Guyana is now Corriverton with around 13,000.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New Branch in Guyana

Another new branch was recently created in Parika, Guyana. The city was opened to missionary work last May and the branch was created earlier this month. Parika is about 20-30 miles west of the capital of Georgetown. There are now at least 15 branches in Guyana.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

New Branch and Group

New Branch

Just a couple posts ago, I stated that I would not be surprised if the branch in Mbuji-Mayi, Democratic Republic of the Congo would be divided soon. President Livingstone divided the branch earlier this month, so now two branches meet in this, the third largest city in the country of 1.2 million.

New Group

Another new group was created in the West Indies Mission in the town of Parika, located west of Georgetown. It was created from the Vreed-en-Hoop Branch.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New Branch in Guyana

Another new branch was recently organized in Guyana. The Bushlot Branch was created outside of the city of New Amsterdam from the Bushlot Group (which was created in May). There are now six branches in the New Amsterdam area and a seventh which was created last Spring by the Guyana-Suriname border (Crabwood Creek).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Update on Growth in the Church

News from the Uganda Kampala Mission

Members have been meeting together in the city of Gambela, Ethiopia and have been hoping for a branch to be established in the city. The mission president of the Uganda Kampala Mission, President Christenen, visited members in the city in the past few days. If a branch is organized in this city, it will be the first in the western part of the country and the fifth in the country.

Also, President Christenen will be travelling to southern Sudan this week to meet with members there. Reports are sketchy at this time, but there may be up to a couple thousand meeting in the name of the Church there.

News from the Kenya Nairobi Mission

Missionaries serving outside of Nairobi in an area called the Kilungu Hills are currently putting paperwork into Salt Lake for a new branch in the Matini area. Currently there are three branches in the hills and many of the youth are preparing to serve missions. This is an area that will probably become a district in the near future I believe.

Growth in the West Indies Mission

The West Indies Mission baptized over 200 converts last month. Sister Robinson, wife of the mission president, says the stake in Trinidad and Tobago will be created very soon. Most of the converts are still in Guyana.

The branch in Tobago has recently grown substantially. Attendance at worship services has been less than 10 until recently (the branch was organized last year). Now there are between 20-30 attending with baptisms occurring.

The Gospel in the Outback

Senior missionaries in Alice Springs, Australia report that many Aborigines have accepted the Gospel recently. A congregation meets out in the rural areas made up of these new converts (but has not been organized into a branch yet I believe). The missionaries are currently working on translating Church materials into very simple English and the local Aboriginal Language. This would be the first time Church materials have ever been translated into a language native to Australia.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Update on Church Growth

City opens for missionary work in Greece
The city of Kavala opened recently for the preaching of the Gospel. This is the first city to be opened for missionary work in over a decade. Membership growth has been slow in this European country increasing by only 20 or so members a year. There are now six branches in the country and almost 700 members.

Districts combine in Peru in preparation for new stake

The La Oroya Peru and Tarma Peru Districts were recently combined in preparation for making a new stake in the near future. Last year a new stake was organized from a district to the southeast in La Merced and five new stakes were created in the entire country. When this new stake is organized, there will be 88 stakes in Peru. Only three countries have more stakes: the United States, Brazil, and Mexico. The above map shows stakes in yellow squares, and districts in green squares. The black square is the district that was combined.

City opens to missionary work in Trinidad and Tobago

The city of Point Fortin on the island of Trinidad recently opened for missionary work. A group has been organized and missionaries have been assigned to the city.

Church meetings now in Bushlot, Guyana

Near the city of New Amsterdam, missionaries have recently secured a building for Church members in Bushlot. The first Sunday meetings were held up to 50 people attended services. I am still unclear as to whether it is a group or a new branch, but will become a branch soon if so many members are attending.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stakes in Guyana and Trinidad

According to Sister Robison, wife of President Robison of the West Indies Mission, paperwork for the first stake in Trinidad was approved by the area presidency. Paperwork has been sent to Salt Lake and if all goes well the stake will be organized this summer. Furthermore, Sister Robison stated that the first stake in Guyana will be organized in the near future as well. She did not specify where in Guyana it would be located, but most likely will be in Georgetown. The West Indies Mission website can be found at .

So far this year 13 new stakes have been organized worldwide.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rapid Church Growth in Guyana

Membership and activity have recently been growing rapidly in Guyana; part of the Trinidad and Tobago Mission. Out of the over 200 baptisms in the mission last March, 150 occurred in Guyana. The city of New Amsterdam has been one of the areas of growth. The New Amsterdam Guyana District now has six branches. A new branch was created sometime in the past six months or so in the city as well (New Amsterdam 2nd Branch). Furthermore, a new branch was created in Crabwood Creek in the past month (a town of 10,000 on the Guyana-Suriname border). Many of the converts in Guyana are of Indian or Ameri-Indian descent. The Church has not released membership figures for 2007 for individual countries yet, but there were 2,072 members in 11 branches at the end 0f 2006. Now there are at least 14 branches in the country. In 2003, membership was 1,340. The branches are shown with the pink squares.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Countries with the highest membership growth rates

Below is a list of the top 10 fastest growing countries for the Church during 2006 (over 300 members).

  1. Cameroon - 492 members - 31.6%
  2. Malaysia - 3,633 members - 24.5%
  3. Estonia - 874 members - 16.4%
  4. Ethiopia - 708 members - 15.7%
  5. Zambia - 1,905 members - 15.6%
  6. Sri Lanka - 1,108 members - 15.1%
  7. Armenia - 2,359 members - 13.3%
  8. Ghana - 32,965 members - 12.5%
  9. Guyana - 2,072 members - 12.3%
  10. Latvia - 920 members - 11.8%

The top three nations which have the highest increase (not %) in membership per year usually are the United States, Brazil (which also just reached over 1,000,000 members) and Mexico.