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.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Branches Created in South Africa

Recently two cities in South Africa received their first branches, thus providing greater opportunity for South Africans to learn and participate in the Church. The city of Mafikeng, which is near the border with Botswana and close to the city of Mmabatho, now has a congregation of the Church (and is the first branch in that area of the country). Furthermore, the city of Bethlehem also recently had a branch formed in the city. Bethlehem's population is around 57,000 and is located near Lesotho.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Group in Suriname

A group was recently created in Suriname in Kwarasan. It is still too small to be a branch, but has a space rented out to meet in. I am not sure where Kwarasan, but figure it is in the outlying area around the capital.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New Branch in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

A branch was officially created in Gandajika (also spelled Ngandajika) which is located in the center of the Democratic Republic of Congo. President Livingstone gave members in the city permission to bless the sacrament in the city earlier this year. There are now 11 branches in the area, most of which are in Kananga and Luputa. A branch was organized earlier this year nearby Gandajika in Mwene-Ditu.

The Livingstones also stated in a comment posted under "Countries with the most members without a temple" that a new stake is likely to be created before the end of the year in the DR of Congo along with several more in 2009. I imagine they refer to splitting the stake in Lubumbashi, but the stakes in Kinshasa and Brazzaville grow at a rapid rate. The only district in the country I see as being close to stakehood is in Luputa, but we'll have to see. I also would not be surprised if the branch in Mbuji-Mayi gets divided soon because it has grown quite large.

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).

Monday, August 18, 2008

Districts Dissolved

Three districts were recently dissolved in Belize, Papua New Guinea and Venezuela. All of these districts were combined with a nearby district.


The Orange Walk Belize District was recently combined with the Belize City District. The district in Orange Walk has had only two branches in Orange Walk and Corozal. The first stake in Belize is supposedly very close to happening and this would be part of its preparation. There are around 3,200 members in Belize in two districts.

Papua New Guinea

Last year a district was dissolved in the capital city (the Port Moresby Papua New Guinea Central District) and in the past month or two the Isumo Papua New Guinea District was combined with the Daru Papua New Guinea District. The district that was in Isumo only had three branches while the district in Daru had four branches. It is likely that this might be the location of the second stake to be created in Papua New Guinea. Daru is located on a small island near the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border.


Around four or five years ago, the Falcon Venezuela District was divided into the Falcon and Coro Districts. Up until they were both combined into the Falcon District again, the Falcon District had five branches while the Coro District had four. Again, it is very likely this has been done in preparation of a future stake in the area. Growth has been substantial since 2002 when there were only six branches in the region.

Stake Dissolved in Colombia

One of the four stakes in Cali, Colombia was dissolved recently. The Cali Colombia Jardin Stake was combined with surrounding stakes in the city. Growth in the city has been somewhat stagnant and the original four stakes only had five wards each for a number of years. Cali is one of the most violent cities in the world, much of which violence is connected with drug trafficking. Other areas in Colombia are seeing growth in the Church, especially in the north.

New District Created in Peru

Located around 100 miles west of Cuzco, the city of Andahuaylas had its first district created in the city. Branches in the region were previously under the Peru Lima Central Mission and not incorporated into a district. A district of the Church does exist between Cuzco and Andahuaylas in Abancay. The Andahuaylas Peru District has three or four branches.

New Congregations in the Dominican Republic and Paraguay

Several new branches have been created lately in the Dominican Republic and Paraguay. In the Dominican Republic, the cities of Constanza and Bayaguana received their first branches (and missionaries in Constanza and probably Bayaguana too). In Paraguay, branches and wards continue to be organized mostly around the capital city of Asuncion.

News From the West Indies Mission

1,000 Members in Suriname

Rapid membership growth continues in Suriname. This last Sunday the 991st member was baptized and confirmed and after next Sunday there will be 1,000 members of the Church in this country of 500,000. At the end of 2006 there were 687 members in two branches. There are six branches in the country today and the West Indies Mission President's wife, Sister Robison, indicates much of the growth is yet to come. Many youth are preparing their paperwork to serve missions.

New Branch Created in Guadeloupe.

The seventh branch of the Church was recently organized in Le Gosier, which was the city with the largest population without a branch in it (25,400 inhabitants). There were only a little over 300 members in five branches at the end of 2006 and many have been joining the Church on this French speaking island in the Caribbean.

On the above map, the green squares indicate branches.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Update of Church Growth

New Branch in Uganda

A new branch was recently created in the Jinja District of Uganda. The Mpumudde Branch is the fifth branch in the Jinja District and the 16th in Uganda.

City Opens for Missionary Work in Malawi

The capital city of Malawi received a branch of the Church last fall and has just opened to missionary work. Lilongwe and Blantyre are the only cities opened for missionary work at this time in the country. There are three or four branches in Malawi today.

City Opens for Missionary Work in Botswana

Last spring missionaries were sent to open the city of Molepolole to the preaching of the Gospel. A branch has been established and there are now three branches and two wards in the country. The city of Molepolole has around 54,600 inhabitants and was the largest city that did not have the Church established in it yet in Botswana.

Rapid Growth in Qatar

Although Muslims are not allowed to attend Church services and the Qatari government does not recognize the Church, the city of Doha has two wards in it for foreigners living in the country. The second ward was organized last year for Filipinos as a branch originally, but has rapidly grown since its creation. Members in both congregations are living there on business.

New Ward created in Taiwan

The 10th ward in the Kaohsiung Taiwan Stake was recently created in Taliao. The stake now has 10 wards and a branch. It is likely the stake will be divided soon since it is the largest stake it Taiwan at this time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Update on Missionaries in the Republic of Geogia

The zone of missionaries currently serving in Tbilisi was evacuated to Armenia on Saturday and will probably be reassigned for the time being to serve in Armenia.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cities Without A LDS Church Presence Blog

A few weeks ago, I began another blog about cities around the world which do not have missionaries or a congregation of the Church in them. Almost every country in the world has many cities which remain unreached as in terms of missionary work. Even countries like Brazil (with over one million members and 27 missions) still have several cities with over 100,000 inhabitants without a branch or missionaries serving there! Much has yet to be done in order to bring the message of the Gospel across the world. The new blog can be found on the right side of the page, listed under "Other Church Growth Blogs."

On a different note, I have not yet received word concerning the dozen or so missionaries serving in the Republic of Georgia and whether they have been evacuated due to the Russian invasion. Georgia currently has two branches functioning in the capital city of Tbilisi. The country was opened to missionary work just back in the spring of 2006. I will provide updates once information becomes available.

Monday, August 4, 2008

City Opens for Missionary Work In Slovakia

According to the Czech Prague Mission website, the city of Banská Bystrica has recently opened to missionary work. With 81,300 inhabitants, Banská Bystrica sits in the center of the country. I do not believe a branch has been established, but this continues a trend of cities opening in Slovakia. I cannot recall an instance in the past 10 years where so many cities were opened in a country with so few members (less than 200 at the end of 2006). This is likely the result of the recent registration of the Church in Slovakia.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Church in South Korea

Some of my viewers might have noticed that I served as a full time missionary for the Church in South Korea, but I have not made any posts about the Church in that country. I wanted to take the opportunity to write a little bit about how the Church is doing in South Korea.

The Church has been in South Korea for over 50 years. There are 17 stakes, six districts and around 80,000 members. A temple was dedicated in Seoul a little over 20 years ago. Four missions cover the country of 48 million. Most Koreans who are religious are Christian, particularly Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic (although they do not consider Catholicism to be a Christian Church). As for the rest of the less religious population, most identify themselves with Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism. The majority of the stakes in South Korea were created in the 70s and 80s. The last new stake created was in Daejon (대전) back in 1998.

Although the Church has around 80,000 members, sacrament attendance is only around 10,000 for the whole country. One of the problems we had as missionaries was we did not have the addresses or contact information for the majority of the inactive members. It is difficult to correct the problem when you cannot find the members. In most of the wards and branches I served in, about a third to half of the members were active. A lot of the growth the Church experienced in South Korea dissipated once the middle class began to collapse back in the mid 1990s.

Most missions in Korea baptize around 200 to 400 people a year. Several of the wards and branches have become so small from active members moving to new areas that they have been combined with other wards and branches. Unfortunately the number of active members moving into new areas does not follow with new units being created since a percentage of the active members become less active or immigrate to Australia, the United States, Canada, or New Zealand.
On the above map, yellow squares are stakes, green squares a districts. The only place I could see a new stake organized in the next five years would be in the Busan (부산) Mission, possibly in Ulsan (울산). This last city became its own district upon the realignment of a stake in Busan with a district (west of Busan) that was integrated into the stake.