Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Church Growth Updates

New mission in Nicaragua

Missionaries serving in the Nicaragua Managua Mission report that the mission will be split this summer to create a second mission. The mission has seen tremendous success over the years and continues to show impressive results. Missionaries report that 60% of converts have been retained over the past year, much higher from previous years. Hundreds of baptisms occur monthly and the amount of growth has overwhelmed currently mission leadership for a nation with over 64,000 members, 100 congregations, and high inactivity. Nine stakes and six districts currently function.

Mission to be discontinued in Ohio

Missionaries report that the Ohio Cincinnati Mission will be discontinued and combined with neighboring missions this July. I will provide further analysis and background once more information becomes available including official announcement from the Church.

Additional countries added to the Uganda Kampala Mission

Recently arrived missionaries reported that two additional countries have been added to the jurisdiction of the Uganda Kampala Mission. The mission originally included Uganda and Ethiopia when it was created in 2005 and added Rwanda and Southern Sudan in the past couple years. Djibouti and Eritrea have also join the mission, bringing the total of countries served by the mission to six.

Mission realignment in South Africa

The South Africa Durban and South Africa Johannesburg Missions will be realigned in the next week. The Johannesburg mission will lose the southern portion of Free State Province and Lesotho which will fall under the mission in Durban. This decision was likely done due to the rapid increase in baptisms and missionaries serving in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission, which baptized over 1,700 converts in 2009. The realignment will allow for greater balance of responsibility for the two missions. Lesotho has also seen increasing success in the past year and a third branch may be created in the near future.

Full translation of the Book of Mormon in Laotian nearing completion

A senior missionary couple serving in Laos report that the first full translation of the Book of Mormon in Laotian is nearly complete. Most Laotian speaking members live in the United States in four congregations. A branch does meet in the capital of Vientiane with around 70 active members.

New branches in Botswana

Branches have been created in two cities in Botswana. Mochudi received its first missionaries at the end of last year and had its first branch organized. Kanye has also received its first missionaries and branch. Increased mission activity in Botswana likely contributed to the mission realignment with the South Africa Johannesburg and South Africa Durban Missions.

New stake to be created in Cote d'Ivoire

Missionaries report that in the coming weeks a fourth stake will be organized in the Abidjan area from a division of the Yopougon Cote d'Ivoire Stake which currently has 11 wards. I will provide more information once it becomes available.

Stakes close to splitting in Mexico

The mission president of the Mexico Leon Mission reported that the Leon Mexico Stake may divide to create a second stake in the city this spring. The Celaya Mexico Stake is also very close to dividing as well but is still struggling to meet certain requirements in order for a second stake to be created in the city.


Jeff said...

In New Jersey where I live they appear to be preparing a mission consolidation for this summer as well. While Djibouti and Eritrea may have been formally added to the Uganda Kampala Mission, both are Muslim nations and for now I would expect that no missionary work will take place there.

John said...

I wonder if that mission consolidation/realignment will involve the Philadelphia mission (five stakes, with wards from Salisbury, MD to Harmony/Susquehanna, PA).

Ray said...

Do you know how many wards and branches are currently in the Leon and Celaya Stakes? I see they are 13 and 31 years old, respectively, so it would seem that they are ready to be divided. The Celaya Stake may have already lost some of its outlying units to nearby stakes.

Matt said...

Yes it is true that no official missionary work occurs in Djibouti and Eritrea. There is a group of US military, foreigners and even some local members in Djibouti. I do not know if there are any members in Eritrea. The Church has recently stepped up its outreach to the small Christian minorities in predominantly Muslim nations recently. We will have to see if this occurs in the near future in these two nations.

The Leon Mexico Stake has 9 wards and a branch and the Celaya Mexico Stake has 11 wards from my latest information. I imagine that additional units will be created, especially in Leon. I was very excited to hear this as Leon is the largest city in Mexico with only one stake. Missionaries report that one of the reasons for the slower growth the Church has seen up until recently is due to the very strong Catholic presence in the area.

Tom said...

Happy to see that convert retention rates are improving, especially in countries such as that one where the growth rate is high, but retention a problem, meaning we have a bonus with this one.

Now if we can keep up the same level of growth, and a higher level of retention, the inactive portion of the membership (which possibly is a majority to be fair) will slowly become smaller and smaller in contrast to the active population over a long period of time.

Unknown said...

Add to the Leon Stake, 8 wards are in the Leon city, 1 ward is in San Francisco (Very close) 1 branch is in Lagos de Moreno, but the mission is working very hard in the Guanajuato district, the city of Silao has a strong branch (The memberchip is like a ward) that can move to the Leon Stake if its divided and in the 2009 Leon city has his best year in babtisms. Also the stake is working very hard in retention.

Nick Newman said...

I wonder what's going to happen in Cincinnati. I served in the Kentucky Louisville Mission, and back in 2004, we took part of the OCM into our mission because of stake splits/boundary reorganization.

My guess is it'll probably by divvied up between the Kentucky Louisville and Ohio Columbus missions.

Ryan Searcy said...

Hey, I just read an article about the Church building what will be Thailand's largest meetinghouse once completed. At the end of the article, that the building might house a future stake in Bankok.


Ryan Searcy said...

Anything that might indicate if the Alaska Mission might split anytime soon? Because if they create a new mission that focuses on the bush area, that would make these areas more likely to go from a district to districts, then to stakes. Recently, the state of Alaska released the 2009 census estimates, and it showed that most areas were in decline, mainly in the bush and southeast Alaska. Anchorage, the Mat-Su, Kenai Peninsula, and Fairbanks were the only regions that had significant population growth (over 500), and in the case of Anchorage, Fairbanks, and the Mat-Su, over 1000. Based on 2008-2009 changes, the Valdez-Cordova region has the fastest population decrease in the region, though the city of Valdez, showed population gain. I'll write more upon request.

Ray said...

Since Ohio is part of this post, I want to point out there are a few communities in Ohio with a population of around 10,000 where there is no Church presence to date.

Towns like Defiance, Napoleon, Van Wert-Delphos, Upper Sandusky-Bucyrus, Norwalk-Bellevue-Willard, and Circleville are big enough for groups at least, or perhaps dependent branches, although with the current economy more people are probably moving out than moving in. Does anyone have any ideas of any growth in these areas?

Matt said...

I highly doubt that a second mission will be created in Alaska just because there are not even one million people in the state. Alaska has seen greater success than many states with convert baptisms and growth. In the United States the Church is really trying to involve members more in missionary work and only use missionaries for teaching. I would say Hawaii would be more likely to get a second mission than Alaska, but I think that currently it is unlikely that any new missions will be created in the United States for many years. If a new mission were to be created in the US, it would likely be in the Western US in a mission that was high baptizing and covered a large geographical area with a large population.

The establishment of the Church in the bush areas of Alaska has been pretty impressive due to their remoteness and small populations. Do you know if these areas have many coverts join the Church and continue to stay active?

Jared said...

I just found this blog today. It is great.

There is another mission consolidation to report: as of July this year the Spain Bilbao Mission, created in 1987, will consolidate into the Madrid and Barcelona Missions. The Spain Vitoria stake will be affiliated with the Spain Barcelona Mission and the Leon and Santiago Districts will be under the Spain Madrid Mission. The current mission president of the Bilbao Mission will become the president of the Spain Malaga Mission.

Other changes associated with this consolidation are that the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Spain District (the Canary Islands) will move from the Spain Malaga Mission to the Spain Madrid Mission, the La Mancha District will move from the Spain Madrid Mission to the Spain Malaga Mission, and the Elche Stake will move from the Spain Barcelona Mission to the Spain Malaga Mission.

Ryan Searcy said...

I haven't heard anything new, usually read about some things on the mission website, which said on the most recent news post that there was a baptism in Tok, which doesn't have it's own branch yet. I've heard of a baptism in Nunam Iqua, which is a bush community, but other than that, I don't know what goes on outside my stake. Our stake president said that in three weeks, which is our stake conference, there will be significant changes to our stake that will effect 10,000 members in Alaska. I can figure, that will be one or two more wards, and possibly a new meetinghouse. A ward that includes both military bases and a bit of Eagle River has been asked to attend conference in Anchorage. I don't think it will be a new stake, because our stake only has 8 wards so far, and I think a regional conference is needed for a new stake (I don't remember, even though my stake was made 8 years ago). 10,000 people sounds like it effects the North and South Stakes, and the Wasilla Stake. There is also supposed to be a presentation on our temple, which sounds very nice.

Ryan Searcy said...

Oops, thought to clarify, most of us in Anchorage refer to the Anchorage Stake as the South Stake because geographically, it is the southern half of the city.

The Chatelain's said...

It looks like the Abidjan Côte d'Ivoire Niangon Stake was created last Sunday

Anonymous said...

Well I live in Defiance and we have one set of missionaries but Bryan, Ohio has the building. I can only speak for the Defiance, Napoleon, Van Wert-Delphos areas. We had two sets of elders a few years back so did Napoleon. The work is slow and we are few in numbers but our branch covers three counties. The people in the area attend their churches with regularity. Some membershave to travel 45 minutes to get to church. Wauseon branch is having some success. Van Wert-Delphos area has missionaries that live in Lima so I think that would burn up their monthly miles. Missionary work can catch on any where and with high unemployment reaching 17% in one of the three counties it can be an opening for the message.

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Matt said...

Thanks for your comments. Expanding missionary work in smaller towns and rural areas in the Eastern United States has always seen major setbacks due to few interested individuals, distances, and strong local churches. Maybe we'll see some greater success in these areas with economic challenges and social change.

Donna Saunders said...

Hi again,
Len and I are going on a tour to Beijing in Oct. and I am wondering if they speak English in the Hong Kong Temple? Donna

Matt said...

Due to the large number of countries accommodated by the Hong Kong China Temple, English is used in the Hong Kong Temple, but most sessions are likely conducted in Cantonese or Mandarin. You will have to contact the temple for further information at (852) 2339-8100

Nick Newman said...


Most temples in the world will allow you to have a headset on to listen to the endowment in your language. So even if you can't find an all-English session in Hong Kong, you'll be able to listen in English.

I've personally done that in the Helsinki Finland temple, when we went through with in Russian with members from St. Petersburg.

My dad has done that in all the German temples, the Stockholm Sweden temple, the Swiss temple, the Copenhagen Denmark Temple, and the Dutch temple.