Saturday, February 28, 2015

February 2015 Monthly Newsletter

We have completed our monthly newsletter for February 2015. Many noteworthy church growth developments occurred during the month. Please see the newsletter for more information by clicking here.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

New District in Cambodia

The Church in Cambodia created a new district last Sunday. The Siem Reap Cambodia District was organized from the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission and includes the Siem Reap 1st and Siem Reap 2nd Branches. The new district is the Church's third district to be organized outside the capital city, Phnom Penh, as two other districts currently operate in Kampong Cham (organized in 2005) and Battambang (organized in 2010). Although only two branches are included within the new district, prospects appear favorable for the organization of additional branches within the Siem Reap area within the near future. The Church likewise organized the Battambang Cambodia District with only two branches back in 2010 and today the district has three branches.

There are now two stakes and five districts in Cambodia.

See below for a map of LDS congregations in Cambodia

Monday, February 23, 2015

Continued Progress in West Africa

The Church continues to rapidly grow in West Africa. A report from a senior missionary couple who serves in the area indicates that the Church in 2014 set an all-time record for the number of convert baptisms in the Africa West Area as over 23,000 converts joined the Church during the year. This marks the seventh year in a row that the Africa West Area has set a new record for the number of new converts baptized in a single year. Membership and congregational growth rates in West Africa have been approaching unprecedented levels that are reminiscent of the explosive growth of the Church in Latin America during the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Here are some noteworthy LDS growth developments in the Africa West Area:
  • Construction has started on a new missionary training center (MTC) in Accra, Ghana. The new facility will triple the capacity of the current Ghana MTC located in Tema, Ghana. The Ghana MTC has experienced steady increases in the number of missionaries it annually trains from less than 300 in the early 2000s to over 1,300 within the past two years.
  • The following cities have had the first LDS branch organized within the past two months: 
    • Abesim, Ghana
    • Aflao, Ghana
    • Bouake, Cote d'Ivoire
    • Issia, Cote d'Ivoire
    • Kugba, Nigeria
    • Lakowe, Nigeria
    • Snake Island, Nigeria
  • The Church has continued to organize new branches in Sierra Leone despite the removal of full-time missionaries due to the Ebola epidemic. The most recently organized branch was the New England Branch in the Bo Sierra Leone East District.
  • The Church reported significant net increases in the number of congregations in the following countries:
    • Ghana (~40) - a 24% annual increase
    • Nigeria (~40) - a 10% annual increase
    • Cote d'Ivoire (~25) - a 35% annual increase
    • Sierra Leone (~9) - a 30% annual increase
If membership and congregational growth rates remain stable in West Africa for the next decade, the Church may report the following statistics for year-end 2024. However, membership and congregational growth rates rarely remain stable for as long as a decade:
  • Nigeria - 259,000 members, 1,078 congregations
  • Cote d'Ivoire - 191,000 members, 1,950 congregations
  • Ghana - 165,000 members, 829 congregations
  • Liberia - 60,000 members, 63 congregations
  • Sierra Leone - 45,500 members, 111 congregations
  • Benin - 33,000 members, 152 congregations
  • Togo - 24,600 members, 67 congregations
Click here to access statistical profiles on providing detailed statistics on LDS growth trends by country.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Stake Created in Texas; District Discontinued in Brazil

The Church organized a new stake in Houston, Texas last Sunday. The Houston Texas Bear Creek Stake was organized from a division of the Cypress Creek Texas Stake and the Katy Texas Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards: the Bear Creek 1st, Bridgeland, Copperfield, Katy 1st, Sam Houston YSA 2nd, Spring Branch, Westlake, and Wheatstone Wards. An article providing additional information on the creation of the new stake can be found here.

There are now 64 stakes and three districts in Texas.

The Church discontinued the União da Vitória Brazil District in Santa Catarina State, Brazil. The district had three branches and was originally organized in 1995. Two of the branches (Canoinhas and Mafra) were reassigned to the Brazil Curitiba South Mission whereas one of the branches (União da Vitória) was reassigned to the Guarapuava Brazil District.

There are now 253 stakes and 38 districts in Brazil.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

First Stake Organized in Mozambique; New District Created in Zambia; First Stake to be Created in Zambia in March; Second District to be created in Malawi

On February 15th, the Church organized its first stake in Mozambique. The Maputo Mozambique Stake was organized from the Maputo Mozambique District. Information on which of the seven branches became wards in the new stake remains unavailable. Mozambique was the country with the fourth most members without a stake according to year-end 2013 membership data. The Church in Mozambique experienced rapid membership and congregational growth during the early 2000s although this growth dramatically decreased in the late 2000s. Membership and congregational growth has since rebounded in the 2010s as evidenced by the organization of six new branches within the past year and the organization of the first stake.

Click here to access the statistical profile on LDS growth in Mozambique at

Missionaries serving in the Zambia Lusaka Mission report that the Lusaka Zambia District will become a stake sometime in March. The Lusaka Zambia District has diligently prepared to become a stake for several years and has finally reached the minimal qualifications to become a stake. Currently the district has seven branches and most, if not all, of these branches will become wards when the new stake is organized. Zambia is currently the country with the ninth most Latter-day Saints without a stake based on year-end 2013 membership data.

Missionaries also report that the Church recently organized a second member district in the Copperbelt Region of northern Zambia. The Church reopened the Copperbelt to missionary activity during the early 2000s after several decades of no LDS presence in the area. The new district appears to be based in Ndola. No information is currently available regarding what congregations are in the new district. The Church currently reports five branches in the Copperbelt Region. Missionaries report plans to organize additional branches.

Missionaries serving in the Zambia Lusaka Mission report that approval has been given to organize the Lilongwe Malawi District. The Church currently has four branches in the Lilongwe area (Kalambo, Kauma 1st, Kauma 2nd, and Lilongwe). Missionaries also indicate there are plans to organize additional branches in the Lilongwe area within the near future. The Church in Malawi organized its first district in Blantyre in 2011.

Friday, February 6, 2015

New District Created in Cape Verde

The Church organized a new district in Cape Verde on January 25th. The Assomada Cape Verde District was organized from a division of the Praia Cape Verde Stake and includes the following six branches: the Assomada 1st, Assomada 2nd, Calheta, Chão Bom, Ribeirão Manuel, and Tarrafal Branches. The Church has experienced rapid growth on the island of Santiago where the Praia Cape Verde Stake operates as evidenced by the number of congregations increasing from six in early 2012 to 15 at present. Missionaries have noted some leadership and administration challenges in the outlying units of the former boundaries of the Praia Cape Verde Stake. The organization of the Assomada Cape Verde District has appeared to help reduce the administrative burden of the large Praia Cape Verde Stake and provide greater mission president supervision of congregations outside Praia. Missionaries also reported that General Authorities have indicated that the Church in Cape Verde will become a good candidate to have a temple announced once there are at least five stakes. Currently there are three stakes and two districts.