Monday, November 28, 2011

First District Created in the Solomon Islands

Missionaries report that the first LDS district in the Solomon Islands was organized yesterday.  The Honiara Solomon Islands District includes the three branches on Guadalcanal (Burns Creek, Honiara, White River) and a group meeting on Malaita in Fauabu.  The Church dedicated the islands to missionary work in 1987 and the first LDS presence was established in 1995 when missionaries were assigned and began holding sacrament meetings.  A single branch met in Honiara, Guadalcanal until 2010 when two new branches were created in the Honiara area.  Full-time missionaries were recently assigned off of Guadalcanal for the first time in Fauabu, Malaita where a small group of approximately 40 members and investigators meet.

The creation of the new district is a major achievement for the Church that indicates maturing local leadership and good convert retention considering two of the three branches in the islands were organized just last year and the number of priesthood leaders is sufficient to staff branches and a district.  With nearly 600,000 inhabitants, the Solomon Islands is the third most populated nation in Melanesia after Papua New Guinea and Fiji yet has the lowest percentage of Latter-day Saints in Oceania among nations and territories with an LDS presence (approximately one member per 2,000 inhabitants).  Prospects appear favorable for continued outreach expansion but will hinge on increasing the number of full-time missionaries assigned due to few members in the islands.  More efficient LDS missionary activity will also require the translation of LDS materials into Solomons Pijin.

1 comment:

Brenda B said...

My parents are the Senior Missionary couple assigned to the Solomons from the states. They live in Honiara and visit all the branches quite a bit, especially in Malaita. My Dad was called by Elder Hamula as the District President for the first ever Solomon District and the work is going well!
Brenda Bennett