Monday, November 12, 2012

First LDS Stake to be Created in Sierra Leone

Missionaries serving in Sierra Leone report that the Church will create its first stake in the country in about three weeks.  The Freetown Sierra Leone District will become a stake and most, if not all, of its eight branches will become wards.  The Church has experienced a resurgence in growth over the past five years as a result of creating the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission back in 2007.  Historically moderate to low member activity and convert retention rates have been rectified in many areas of the mission as a result of improved emphasis on convert retention and prebaptismal preparation.  As a result of higher convert retention and more resources dedicated to local leadership development, the number of branches increased from 18 in 2007 to 28 in 2012.  Last year, a second district was created in Freetown called the Freetown Sierra Leone East District due to congregational growth in the area.  The advancement of the Freetown Sierra Leone District into a stake within slightly more than year following its division to create a another district stands as another testament to active membership growth in the country. 

In 2012, the Church has made significant progress organizing new stakes in countries that previously had no stakes.  Earlier this year, the first stakes were organized in Botswana, Cape Verde, India, and New Caledonia.  1977 is the only year when the Church organized the first stake in more countries than in 2012 as seven countries had their first stakes organized (Belgium, Colombia, Costa Rica, Finland, Honduras, Norway, and Venezuela).  Additional countries appear likely to have their first stakes organized within the next year or two and are provided below:
  • Armenia
  • Cambodia
  • Liberia
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Mozambique
  • Romania
  • Vanuatu


Aaron and Kamyra said...

Re Brisbane area stakes. another new ward created sunday 4th November, Kuraby ward in Eight Mile plains stake. Some exciting growth here in Brisbane area that I have not seen before. In the last 12 months Brisbane North stake 2 new wards, Eight Mile Plains stake 2 new wards, Gold Coast stake 2 new wards and Brisbane Centenary stake 2 new wards. Logan stake will not be far away and Ipswich stake also in creating a new ward each. Numerous stakes having stake conference for the split on 18th November. From what I can tell it may well be two new stakes on the same day. Some members being told they will lose their stake president as they will now be in another stake. Our stake are not directly involved but last month gave up 1 1/2 wards as our contribution to the split. I will post when I know details and not any more gossip.

Mike Johnson said...

Wonderful. I wonder how close the Bo Sierra Leone District is to becoming a stake.

Aaron and Kamyra, thanks for the continued updates about growth in the Brisbane area. I take it you are in the Ipswich Stake.

Matt said...

Missionaries in Sierra Leone also report that two new districts will be created in Kenema and Bo.

Mike Johnson said...

Matt, does this mean they are splitting the Bo district into the Kenema and the Bo district? Or will there be two districts in the Bo area and one in the Kenema area?

There appear to be about 7 branches in the vacinity of Bo and 3 in the vicinity of Kenema.

Matt said...

It sounds like the Bo Sierra Leone District will be split according to one report I received. There are nine branches in the Bo area, including one district branch.,-11.729021&spn=0.060268,0.090895

Matt said...

Aaron and Kamyra-

What do you believe is driving this acceleration in congregational growth in the Brisbane area?

Josh said...

If I may comment ... I believe there are a number of reasons for the growth in Brisbane area:
1. Ongoing migration from southern states in Australia to warmer climate and economic opportunities in south east queensland. As the total population increases so does the lds population.
2. Significant migration from new Zealand from the Maori, samoan and Tongan saints. There are reciprocal open borders between new Zealand and Australia citizens with no restrictions on who can reside in either country. This open policy seems one way only with very little traffic to New Zealand from Australian citizens.
3. The I'm a Mormon campaign was run in the Brisbane area and it may be that some of the growth is as a result of the campaign.
4. Pacific area presidency has strongly promoted the rescue for real growth program and it may be that we are seeing the results of reactivation.

Of those 4 points, I would suggest that the greatest growth is occurring through the migration from New Zealand and in that respect is similar to the congregational growth in the US through spanish speaking countries ie Mexico and south America.

Aaron and Kamyra said...

I pretty much agree with everything said by Josh. The Gold Coast area has had significant growth from New Zealand saint, including those coming through NZ from other Pacific Islands. Friends of mine were in Coomera ward which they said was 90% New Zealand. It was created about 2-3 years ago and it was just split in Jan-Feb 2012. In my stake, The Ipswich stake in some wards 90% of members are Samoan. We do get a lot of people moving from other stakes in Southern states. Basically Qld and WA are the states in Australia that are seeing real growth, although WA has not see considerable church growth in the last 10-15 years but perhaps in the near future. The growth in those states is due to economic growth in the mining and related industries and the money that flows on from this.
I know that in Canberra, Adelaide, and the state of Tasmania are all seeing declines basically in ward/branch sizes and even consolidation of wards. Sydney, Melbourne are holding there own as far as I can tell and I would imagine there will be a new stake created in Sydney in the near future. The good news is the convert baptisms are also up somewhat in the Brisbane mission this year, my stake has had more converts and more elder ordinations than ever before. But as states by Josh much of the growth is what I call side ways growth or growing at the expence of someone elses ward and stake.

Mike Johnson said...

Will we get to 3000 stakes by the end of the year?

With 2946 at the end of last year, plus 52 created so far and 6 discontinued in 2012, I get 2992.

With apparently 2 more stakes to be formed in Spain, 2 more in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1 more in Paraguay, and up to 2 near Brisbane Australia, that comes to 2999, assuming no additional stakes are discontinued.

The Chatelain's said...

Yes with these it appears that stakes outside the U.S. will surpass those inside by the end of the year as well. San Antonio and Queen Creek Az look likely

Irwin said...

Mike Jpohnson, the 3,000th stake will be created on November 18th. There apparently two new stakes created in Kinshasa, DR Congo last Sunday but no confirmation, that puts the total number of stakes at 2,994. It appears that the remaining six stakes will be created this Sunday.

Mike Johnson said...

From 1998 to 2001, I lived in the Lake Ridge 2nd Ward, then of the Mount Vernon Virginia Stake (now of the Woodbridge Virginia Stake). An active ward member, Brother Aubrey Hooks, a career foreign service officer, had served as the US Ambassador to the Republic of the Congo. Not long before I left, he became the US Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His foreign service bio says he has served three times as a US ambassador:

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (Congo, Republic of the)
Appointed: June 6, 1996
Presentation of Credentials: July 11, 1996
Termination of Mission: Left post January 9, 1999
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (Congo, Democratic Republic of the)
Appointed: July 12, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: September 4, 2001
Termination of Mission: April 17, 2004
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (Cote d’Ivoire)
Appointed: May 12, 2004
Presentation of Credentials: August 20, 2004
Termination of Mission: Left post August 2, 2007

Anyway, I remember talking with him several times as he prepared for his Senate confirmation. I remember him telling me that the Church was growing rapidly in "the Big Congo." It is good to see that the Church is still growing rapidly there. I am guessing that there are two or three districts in the rest of the country that will soon be stakes and that two stakes in the southern part of the country with a total of 22 wards and 1 branch may spawn a third stake soon. I can easily 4-5 more stakes outside of Kinshasa in the near future.

Mike Johnson said...

Sorry, it was 21 wards and 2 branches in 2 stakes the Lubumbashi area of southern DR of the Congo. I should have looked it up instead of posting from memory.

Aaron and Kamyra said...

Well today the two new stakes were organised in the South East Queensland area in and around Brisbane. The Coomera Australia stake from the gold coast stake is the Northern part of the Gold coast area, south of Brisbane. And the Brisbane Cleveland stake which is in the eastern area of Brisbane city. Not sure about all which ward were where but there are a lot of smaller stakes now but that are growing. There were 5 new stake presidencies called across the Brisbane area. A lot of interviews!!! will post more when I have it

Cameron Schlehuber said...

There are now 8 branches comprising the Bo Sierra Leone District in the city of Bo and 3 branches comprising the new Kenema Sierra Leone District in the city of Kenema. That split happened 25 Nov 2012. This morning, 2 Dec 2012, Elder Holland presided over the creation of the Freetown Sierra Leone Stake and he announced that it is the 3000th stake.