The Church Continues to Grow in Africa
   
Church News Service

Aba Nigeria TempleIn spite of humble beginnings and challenging circumstances, Church membership in Africa is on the rise. As Elder James O. Mason, then of the Seventy, said, “Yes, in spite of challenges, the work of the Lord moves forward steadily in Africa” (“The Kingdom Progresses in Africa,” Liahona, January 1995, 33). With the August 7, 2005, dedication of the Aba Nigeria Temple, making it the third temple on the continent (along with the Johannesburg South Africa and the Accra Ghana Temples), the extension of the gospel to the hearts of the people of Africa is apparent.

Other smaller yet significant milestones for Church growth in Africa occur with the building and dedication of meetinghouses. A first chapel for the Church in Mozambique, recently dedicated, marks the development of Church membership for that nation. Likewise, a new Church building, which houses a branch and will eventually serve as a stake center in Malawi, serves as a foreshadow for future growth.

While some areas have recently received proselyting missionaries, other nations don't permit the missionaries to preach. But the Church has a presence in many nations through humanitarian efforts. Some members are finding solace in the gospel in war's aftermath; others are willing to travel a long distance—often by foot—to attend church. “Growth of the Church in Africa moves forward deliberately and steadily according to inspired design,” said Elder Mason (Liahona, Jan. 1995, 33).

Malawi Members Welcome New Chapel

While Malawi—a nation of nearly 12 million situated in southeast Africa—has about 409 members and two branches today, a small branch received a Church building that will likely someday be deemed a stake center and the meetinghouse for multiple wards. In the July 3, 2005, dedication, President Joseph A. Jenkins of the Zimbabwe Harare Mission, who presided over the dedicatory meeting, referred to the humble roots of the Church in light of its subsequent growth.

To a congregation of 143 worshippers, a humble and thankful leader, Branch President Raymond Chisambo, expressed his gratitude for the tithes of members throughout the Church that contributed to the building. He encouraged the congregation to take care of it. Following President Chisambo’s remarks, Elder Larry and Sister Sammie Richins, full-time missionaries, shared their testimonies, expressed their love, and bid their farewells to the congregation. Elder and Sister Richins served as the driving and coordinating force behind the project and even voluntarily extended their mission in order to complete their duties.

Accra Ghana TempleThe completion of the meetinghouse signifies a labor of love on the part of the missionary couple who oversaw the operation. The new structure now adds aesthetic appeal to the cityscape in Blantyre, Malawi's biggest and most established city; the meetinghouse is situated on a large plot of land adjacent to a stately bank building. In the days preceding the dedication, many last-minute efforts were made to complete the building. Landscaping, bathroom fixture installation, floor tiling and carpeting, pew installation, and even painting needed to be completed. On the eve of the open house, a striking sunset of brilliant reds filled the horizon and served as the backdrop for approximately 100 workers who worked busily into the night and finished in time for the open house. A steady stream of visitors attended the open house; the event served as an excellent means to introduce others to the Church.

Following Elder and Sister Richins' testimonies, President Jenkins released Elder Richins and sustained Elder Larry Kimball as a counselor in the mission presidency. Then President Jenkins addressed the congregation. Citing Joel 2:28, he reminded the group of the Lord's promise, “that [He] will pour out [His] spirit upon all flesh.” President Jenkins followed his comments with the dedicatory prayer, asking that the Lord bless the building as a place where the Holy Ghost can dwell, learning can occur, and where refuge from adversity can be found. He offered a blessing on behalf of Malawi and then for the building's safety from nature. President Jenkins also prayed that it be a place where missionaries can come and “bring great and wonderful souls unto thee.”

First Chapel Built in Mozambique

In April 2005, not far from the coast of the Indian Ocean in Beira, Mozambique's second-largest city, the nation's first meetinghouse was dedicated. Both members and others know the blue-roofed building as “our new chapel.” President Lynn P. Wallace of the Mozambique Maputo Mission presided over the dedication meeting, which visitors from across the country attended.

An open house also took place at the Beira chapel just prior to the dedication. Full-time and branch missionaries as well as returned missionaries escorted guests to different rooms in the building, explaining Church beliefs and ordinances. In 1999 a handful of missionaries from the South Africa Johannesburg Mission entered Mozambique to proselyte, with only a few members in Mozambique at the time.

On September 29, 2000, Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated Mozambique for the preaching of the gospel. Missionary efforts in Beira and Maputo, the nation's capital, have brought the Church nearly 3,000 members, with districts established in Maputo and Beira. In January 2005 the Mozambique Maputo Mission was created as the Church's 339th mission.

Angola Receives Help

As Angola's 27-year civil war ended in 2002, the war’s devastating aftermath brought the Church to the nation's borders to offer help. While the sprawling land covered with baobab trees recovers from the war’s aftermath, the humble refugees struggle to survive.

Along with members of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, Karl and Donna Snow—full-time Humanitarian Services missionaries and county directors for parts of southern Africa—were asked to assess the needs of the Angolan refugees returning to their native land. Since that first visit, Elder and Sister Snow have handled four Humanitarian Services projects for Angola's needy: packing and shipping ten 40-foot (12 m) containers packed with school and hygiene kits for refugee camps in northern Angola; gathering 500 wheelchairs donated to a German organization that will distribute the chairs to those injured or disabled by land mines; collecting two containers of hygiene and school kits, bedding, clothing, and shoes; and coordinating neonatal resuscitation training conducted by Dr. Clayton Petty of the United States.

Though missionaries do not proselyte in Angola, a congregation of about 200 members meets in a renovated bakery in Luanda. While serving at one refugee-processing camp, Elder and Sister Snow encountered a woman who recognized the Church's name and called, “Mormon! I'm a Mormon, too!” The woman was 300 miles (483 km) from a Church unit and had not attended church for a long time. She requested a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants.

“Our lives will never be the same again,” Sister Snow said of her experience in Angola. “I'm glad that I can share my experience of Africa with my family.”

Following shows the growth of the Church in Africa.

Angola

Members: 621
Total Congregations: 1
Members have been in Angola since 1985

Latter-day Saints have been living in Angola since 1985. However, many had been baptized while living for a short time in France or Portugal. After their return to Angola, they formed the nucleus of the Church there. Records indicate that some 400 members baptized in Europe from 1980 to 1996 returned to cities in Angola.

The Church was officially recognized in Angola in 1993. The first branch was organized in 1996 in the capital city, Luanda. They had been meeting in the homes of priesthood holders. Elder J. Richard Clarke of the Seventy, then president of the Africa Area, praised the members for their faith in an area burdened by civil war.

Botswana

Members: 1,194
Total Congregations: 3
Members have been in Botswana since 1990

Missionary work in Botswana began in 1990. Among the first converts was Kwasi Agyare Dwomoh, an architect from Ghana working for the Botswana government. Dwomoh was called as the first branch president in 1991. He later became the first district president in Botswana. By March of 1992, the fast-growing branch was ready to be divided into two branches, as the membership had grown to 160. In 1992, a third branch was organized in the city of Lobatse.
On February 18, 1996, members from Botswana were among the 5,000 people who gathered in Johannesburg for the South Africa Regional Conference at Soweto.

Burundi

Members: Fewer than 100
Total Congregations: 0
Members have been in Burundi since 1992
The Church established a branch in the capital city of this East Central African country following its adoption of a new constitution in 1992. After its first six months of organization, the Bujumbura Branch in Burundi continued to flourish with 36 members and four full-time missionaries. The first branch president was set apart in 1992 by Elder J. Ballard Washburn of the Africa Area Presidency. The branch president and his wife had been members of the Church since their baptisms in Belgium in 1984.

Today the branch numbers close to 100 members.

Cameroon

Members: 278
Total Congregations: 2
Members have been in Cameroon since the 1980s

A few Church members lived in Cameroon representing various health organizations in the 1980s and earlier. In 1993, Cameroon President Paul Biya approved the Church's request for legal recognition. At the time, two missionary couples from Canada were serving in the country. Before the government granted recognition, about 30 people had been baptized and another 60 investigators were attending Sunday meetings.

Today there are two branches in Cameroon, one in Yaounde and another in Duoala, with a combined membership of about 200.

Cape Verde

Members: 6,202
Total Congregations: 18
Members have been in Cape Verde since 1988

Missionary work began in Cape Verde in 1988, which resulted in the creation of the Praia/Lajes Branch a short time later. Since that time, 19 congregations have been established with a total membership of more than 3,900. There are approximately 50 missionaries serving in the country. Some 100 natural-born Cape Verde members have served full-time missions in areas throughout the world. On February 22, 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley visited the islands and met with government officials and members of the Church.

Central Africa Republic

Members: 218
Total Congregations: 1
Members have been in the Central Africa Republic since 1991

The first known Church member living in Central Africa Republic was a returned missionary with the United States Peace Corps in 1991. She shared the gospel with many of her associates, and in September 1991 was set apart as a district missionary. In September 1992, 20 converts were baptized and two branches were organized in Bangui. A few months later a French missionary couple arrived. Since then, the membership has grown to about 110 and the two branches were consolidated into one.

Congo

Members: 1,400
Total Congregations: 7
Members have been in Congo since 1991

Congo granted the Church formal recognition in December 1991. Missionaries were subsequently assigned to Congo from the Zaire Kinshasa Mission. For a period in 1992, and again from June 1997 to April 1998, missionaries to the Congo were withdrawn because of political turmoil.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Members: 15,960
Total Congregations: 62
Members have been in DR-Congo since 1986
The first missionaries arrived in Kinshasa in February 1986, when the Church received legal status. Meetings were first held in the homes of members. Then the Church purchased a villa and had it remodeled into a meetinghouse. In September 1986, at the first meeting in the 200-seat facility, 208 Church members attended.

Many young men and young families were converted in the first year. In July 1987, membership reached 300. Some 20 of the new converts were called as local missionaries to extend the work. Nine years later the Church had grown sufficiently for a stake to be organized. In 1991 a religious education program for youth and young adults was introduced.

Ethiopia

Members: 583
Total Congregations: 3
Members have been in Ethiopia since 1985

The first members in Ethiopia were expatriates attached to embassies who held Church meetings in homes in Addis Ababa. In March 1985 Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Glenn L. Pace of the Seventy visited Addis Ababa with Church relief supplies. The Church donated some $2.8 million for famine relief and irrigation development in Ethiopia and neighboring countries, such as Sudan.

The Kenya Nairobi Mission, which includes Ethiopia, was created in 1991, and the first official Church meeting was held in Addis Ababa in August 1992. In 1993 the Church was legally registered and the first missionary couple arrived. In February 1993 the first missionaries arrived, Elder Eugene and Sister Ruth Hilton. The Church was legally registered on September 16, 1993.

The Addis Ababa Branch was created in January 1994 and was presided over by Girma Denisa. He was the first Ethiopian to serve the Church as a full-time missionary.

A representative from Ethiopia attended the lighting ceremony for the 1995 Festival of Lights at the Washington, D.C., Temple Visitors Center in 1995. Ethiopia was among some 50 nations represented at the widely publicized event.

In 2003 the Church donated several thousand tons of food to famine victims in Ethiopia.

Ghana

Members: 26,222
Total Congregations: 74
Members have been in Ghana since 1978

In the 1950s the Book of Mormon, along with various pamphlets about the Church, found their way to Ghana. These were read by many Ghanaians, who were converted to the gospel and who used them as a basis to start their own Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregations. In 1964 Joseph W. B. Johnson gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon and provided leadership in organizing and directing congregations consisting of hundreds of followers. In 1978, two missionary couples entered Ghana from Nigeria and baptized many of Johnson's congregations. A building program began in 1979. Within a year more than 400 people had been baptized and branches were organized. By 1981, seven branches were functioning in Ghana. All converts were taught the gospel in their own language and trained in leadership skills.

On June 14, 1989, Ghana's government expelled the missionaries and banned the Church. Members were permitted to hold services in the privacy of their homes, however. Eighteen months later the government expressed satisfaction that the Church teaches members to be obedient to government laws and promotes racial harmony, and on December 1, 1990, Ghana permitted Church activities to resume. By the end of 1990, membership was more than 9,000.

In 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley met with Ghana's Head of State, who apologized for the action taken by the government in 1989. President Hinckley then met with thousands of members in Accra and announced plans to build a temple there.

In the 1990s humanitarian efforts have focused on member self-reliance. A number of projects were undertaken through local initiative by members in districts and stakes. Some 90 percent of Church buildings in Ghana include some form of gardening activity. The first missionary training center in Africa, located in Tema, Ghana, was dedicated on May 17, 2002.

Ivory Coast

Members: 9,354
Total Congregations: 27
Members have been in Ivory Coast since the 1970s

Isolated families who were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lived in Ivory Coast in the 1970s and earlier. In the early 1980s, two families returned to Ivory Coast after having joined the Church in Europe, and in 1987 there were 16 members in the country. Branches were organized in Abidjan in 1988 and in Bouak in 1989, and with the arrival of missionaries in 1988 the Church continued to grow. It received official recognition in 1991.

In 1993 the Cameroon Yaounde Mission headquarters were moved to Ivory Coast, and it became the Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission. The mission concentrated its resources in the Abidjan area to establish a center of the Church for French-speaking Africa.

The first meetinghouse in Ivory Coast was dedicated in 1997, with two more completed in 1998.

Kenya

Members: 6,832
Total Congregations: 27
Members have been in Kenya since 1970

American USAID employees and families serving in Kenya in the 1970s held Church services in their own homes. The first African converts in Kenya were baptized in 1979. The first two missionaries, Elder Farrell and Sister Blanch McGhie, arrived in 1980, and in 1981 two branches were created in Nairobi and Kiboko. The Church received official recognition in 1991, and that same year missionary headquarters were established in Nairobi.

In 1988 the Church donated funds that were collected by means of special fasts to bring water to 15 Kenyan villages located 100 miles from Nairobi. The water systems were installed by 1989. In 1992 the Church provided food staples to Somalian and Kenyan refugees affected by severe drought conditions.

On October 21, 1992, a six-acre plot of Church land was planted under the direction of Church agronomist Joel K. Ransom, and a self-help project was expanded later to property owned by members. This resulted in the harvesting of vital crops.

By 1994, four districts, with several branches each, had been created, and large congregations attended many of the meetings. Two of these districts were later dissolved. The first meetinghouse was completed in July 1994 for the Longata Branch in Nairobi.

A Church humanitarian community water project in 1994 provided personal water taps to hundreds of families. In February 1998 President Gordon B. Hinckley became the first Church president to visit Eastern Africa. He spoke to 900 members who had gathered from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

The Nairobi Kenya Stake was organized on September 9, 2001, the first stake in Kenya.

Lesotho

Members: 525
Total Congregations: 1
Members have been in Lesotho since the 1980s

Scattered Church families from the United States lived in Lesotho during the 1980s. In July 1988, at a meeting attended by 15 people, the Maseru Branch was organized at the home of expatriates. The Church was registered in July 1989 and the first missionaries entered in September. As the branch grew, facilities were rented in a local school. Later a home was purchased to be remodeled into a church building.

A seminary program functioned in the country as early as 1991. The first full-time young missionary from Lesotho began serving in the Durban mission in 1993.

Liberia

Members: 4,218
Total Congregations: 9
Members have been in Liberia since 1985

Members and nonmembers who were interested in Church teachings met in homes in Liberia during 1985-1986. Missionary work was opened in 1987 and the first convert was baptized in August. A few days later, 47 people were baptized in a lagoon. The New Kru Town and Congo Town branches were organized that day.

The Liberia Monrovia Mission was created March 1, 1988, when missionary couples were working with some 133 members in Congo Town and New Kru Town. By 1990 several newly converted young men served full-time missions, but all missionaries from Liberia were transferred to Freetown, Sierra Leone, because of the civil war that started in Liberia in December 1989. The mission was closed in April 1991.

During that time, about 400 members remained, 400 fled to neighboring countries, and another 400 were unaccounted for. When the war began to abate, some of the members returned. While conditions remained unsettled, no missionaries were assigned to Liberia.

Members started regrouping in 1991, however, and by the spring of 1993, seven of the eight branches had been reorganized. With a renewal of hostilities in 1992, Liberian members experienced additional hardships and suffering.

In April 1996, war again broke out, resulting in considerable destruction in the capital city of Monrovia and other parts of the country. Many members again fled the nation. Peace has gradually been restored since that time.

Currently there are two districts in Liberia, the Bushrod Island District and the Monrovia District, with more than 2,000 members in 11 congregations.

Madagascar

Members: 3,088
Total Congregations: 13
Members have been in Madagascar since 1989

The first member in Madagascar was Razanapanala Rameandricso, who was baptized in Bordeaux, France, in 1986. He returned to Madagascar in 1989 and began teaching the gospel to a small group of people in his home. He contacted President Girard Giraud-Carrier of the Mascarene Islands Mission, who visited near the end of 1990. The first five converts were baptized during this visit.

The Church received legal status in Madagascar on July 13, 1993. The Madagascar Antananarivo Mission was created on July 1, 1998. On May 9, 1999, a mission home that also served as a meetinghouse was dedicated in the capital city of Antananarivo by Elder Dennis E. Simmons of the Seventy. In September 2000, the Antananarivo Madagascar Stake was created.

Malawi

Members: 480
Total Congregations: 2
Members have been in Cape Verde since 1991

In 1992, the first missionary couple, Elder James and Sister Diane Griggs, was allowed to enter Malawi. The Church was legally recognized in Malawi April 25, 1995.

Elder Dennis E. Simmons of the Seventy, president of the Africa Southeast Area, with Frank Bagley, president of the Zimbabwe Harare Mission, organized the Sitima Village Branch on May 20, 1999. Within the year, branch membership had increased to about 200. A second branch was organized in Malawi on July 20, 2000, in Blantyre.

Mauritius

Members: 361
Total Congregations: 2
Members have been in Mauritius since 1979

Elder George Kershaw, a Church settler in South Africa, served two months in Mauritius in 1856. His only known converts were an army private and seven or eight members of the crew of the ship he arrived on.

In modern times, missionary work began in the Mascarenes in 1979 under the direction of the International Mission. In 1986, the islands were transferred to the South Africa Johannesburg Mission. A branch was established in Mauritius in 1982 by the first full-time missionaries on the island. The Mascarene Islands Mission was created in 1988, at which time there were 400 members on the islands in three branches in Reunion and two in Mauritius. Subsequently, the headquarters of the mission was transferred to Durban, South Africa.

In 1998 Mauritius became part of the newly created Madagascar Mission.

Mozambique

Members: 2,951
Total Congregations: 14
Members have been in Mozambique since the 1990s

The Church was legally recognized in Mozambique in 1996. The first branch was organized in Maputo, the capital city. In January 1999 a second branch, in Beira, was organized.

Prior to official recognition of the Church, people in Mozambique benefited from Church humanitarian aid. In 1992 a deadly drought, the worst in 100 years, caused great suffering in Mozambique and in neighboring countries. The Church shipped 1 million pounds of food and relief items for victims of the drought in this area.

In June of 1999 the first missionaries came to Mozambique. The first Mozambican missionary was called in December 1999. By 2002 more that 20 Mozambican missionaries had been called, some serving in their homeland, some in other countries. Seminary and institute classes began in the late 1990s.

On April 13, 2003, the Beira Mozambique District was organized, the first district in the country.

Namibia

Members: 402
Total Congregations: 1
Members have been in Namibia since 1972

In Namibia, the first formal Church organization came in 1973 when Otto Krauss was called as the presiding elder. The first Church meeting had been held in the Krauss home in April 1972. The first missionaries arrived in 1978, and the first branch was organized in Windhoek in 1983, with Dieter Freiner as the first branch president.

A few weeks before Namibia gained its independence on March 20, 1990, four elders and one couple began proselytizing in Windhoek. At the time there were fewer than 20 members in the entire country. Namibian President-elect Sam Nujoma had stated at the time of independence that missionaries were welcome in his country.

The Church continued to grow. A Scouting program was organized in Windhoek, and in 1995 the seminary program was instituted. The first Church-built chapel in Namibia was dedicated in Windhoek on July 6, 1997, by President James O. Mason of the Seventy, President of the Africa Area.

Nigeria

Members: 68,777
Total Congregations: 237
Members have been in Nigeria since 1978

In Nigeria the restored gospel took root spontaneously in the two decades before it was formally preached in that country. From the 1950s on, some Nigerians learned about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through magazine articles and acquired Church literature. Groups of people began meeting unofficially in the Church's name. Through the years, some of them wrote to Church headquarters requesting missionaries. Glen G. Fisher, returning from service as South Africa Mission President, visited Nigeria in 1960 and reported that the groups were sincere. Attempts to send missionaries, however, were thwarted because visas were unavailable.

The 1978 revelation on the priesthood was the catalyst for the start of missionary work in Nigeria. In 1978, two couples were sent to Nigeria as special representatives of the Church's International Mission. The first baptized member was one of those who had waited many years for the coming of the missionaries.

In 1987, fewer than 10 years after the Church's establishment in Nigeria, membership approached 10,000. In January of 1997, when the Africa Area of the Church baptized its 100,000th member, membership in Nigeria had reached 30,300, the highest of any nation in the Africa Area. In February 1998, 12,000 members met in Port Harcourt at a regional conference presided over by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Reunion

Members: 722
Total Congregations: 4
Members have been in Reunion since 1979

Missionary work began in Reunion in 1979 under the direction of the International Mission. The first members were a couple who had been baptized ten years earlier in France. The first branch was created in St. Denis at the end of 1979, and between 1985 and 1992 the branches in St. Pierre, Le Port, and St. Marie were organized. Today, the four branches include more than 700 members.

Sierra Leone

Members: 5,712
Total Congregations: 17
Members have been in Sierra Leone since 1981

Church members who had been baptized in the Netherlands and Ghana formed a study group in Freetown in 1988. That same year two missionary couples arrived, and in June they took part in a service in which the first 14 converts were baptized. The Goderich Branch was organized in August 1988, and in 1989 the first local full-time missionary was called to serve in his country. In May and August 1992 two missionary couples were temporarily removed from Sierra Leone because of unrest. By year's end 1993, 89 Sierra Leonians were serving full-time missions, including 41 from the six branches of the Freetown area.

In 1994, quilts from the Young Women of the Frederick Maryland Stake were shipped to Sierra Leone through the Church's Washington, D.C., welfare complex. With each quilt was a letter, signed by the Young Women, explaining that individual pieces of the quilt represented acts of love and service.

Today, the more than 2,600 members of the Church comprise 15 congregations.

South Africa

Members: 40,482
Total Congregations: 116
Members have been in South Africa since 1853
The first missionaries to South Africa arrived in April 1853, and in August, the first congregation was organized four miles from Cape Town. Two years later, there were three congregations totaling nearly 130 members. Missionaries were not sent to South Africa from 1865 to 1903 because of government restrictions and the inability to speak the Afrikaans language. A few years after missionaries returned to South Africa, the first Church building was built in Mowbray in 1916-17.

An area conference was held for the first time in October 1978, attended by 3,450 of the 7,200 members living in South Africa, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), and South West Africa (Namibia). In February 1992, another conference was held in Johannesburg with 4,200 in attendance, including a youth choir of 140. In February 1996, another regional conference had more than 5,000 in attendance with a choir of more than 100 local singers. Today, members of all origins work together to overcome cultural barriers that have been prevalent in South African society.

Swaziland

Members: 922
Total Congregations: 3
Members have been in Swaziland since the 1980s

In 1984 there were several families of non-African Church members living in Swaziland. The Mbabane Branch was organized in 1985. In 1987 the government recognized the Church, the first missionaries arrived, and converts came into the Church.

By 1990 converts were serving full-time missions, and of the 115 members, only the branch president and his family were non-Africans. Swaziland's first Church building was dedicated in 1993 in a ceremony attended by government representatives and presided over by Elder Richard P. Lindsay of the Seventy, who was president of the Africa Area. At that time membership had grown to 650.

Tanzania

Members: 720
Total Congregations: 4
Members have been in Tanzania since 1992

Two families from the United States and Canada living in Dar-es-Salaam began holding meetings in 1991. Tanzania was included in the newly formed Kenya Nairobi Mission, which was created in July 1991, and in 1992 the Church was legally recognized in Tanzania.

In February 1992 the first missionary couple arrived, and in December of that year a branch was created in Dar-es-Salaam. Today there are three branches there. In March 2002 members of the Church in Tanzania made a 68-hour bus trip to the Johannesburg South Africa Temple, a trip that had been in the planning stages since July 2001.

Uganda

Members: 3,788
Total Congregations: 14
Members have been in Uganda since the 1960s

In Uganda, expatriate Latter-day Saints were living and holding meetings as early as the 1960s. The first Ugandan to join the Church was Charles Osinde, who was baptized in Scotland and returned to his homeland. A couple arrived in the country in March 1990 as part of a USAID program. Meetings were then held in their home. A branch was soon created in Kampala, and in December 1990 the first missionary couple arrived in Uganda. By March 1991 an average of 30 to 35 people attended branch meetings.

Church humanitarian efforts have benefited Ugandans through such projects as delivering clothing to the Kitgum District in Northern Uganda for victims of fighting between political factions.

Currently there are more than 3,400 members of the Church living in Uganda. They are organized into two districts, Jinja and Kampala, and eight branches. The first Church-built chapel was dedicated in 1997, and a second chapel was dedicated in 1998.

Zambia

Members: 1,442
Total Congregations: 10
Members have been in Zambia since 1991

In 1991 President Vern Marble of the Zimbabwe Harare Mission went to Zambia to search for a couple who had been baptized in England, Johnson Makombe and his wife, Noria. With the help of a taxi driver he found them, and missionary work was begun. The Church was formally registered in July 1992, and that same month a branch was organized in Lusaka, with a membership of about 50.

By the end of 1992 there were about 100 members, and by the end of 1997 the membership had grown to more than 500. To accommodate this increase in membership, a second branch was established in Libala

. The first Church building was dedicated in Lusaka in 1998, and the seminary program was established in Zambia in 1995.

Zimbabwe

Members: 14,561
Total Congregations: 42
Members have been in Zimbabwe since 1950

Missionary work began in what was then Southern Rhodesia in the early 1930s, but soon slowed. It was continued only by short visits by missionaries from South Africa. In 1950, eight missionaries were sent to Salisbury and Bulawayo, and the first convert was baptized in February 1951. On April 17, 1951, missionaries distributed 3,000 handbills and a fairly large crowd attended an introductory meeting. The first services were held in a preschool building, and prospective members sat on tiny chairs. Later they met in the cloak room of a primary school.

In 1980 the government changed and the nation of Zimbabwe was formed. A new mission was established in Zimbabwe. At that time, membership was a little more than 1,000. Missionary work increased as local missionaries began serving full-time missions.

Since 1988 the Church has had an ongoing humanitarian project in Zimbabwe that has included the donation of funds, a mill for grinding grain, gardening materials, a dam near Masvingo, and two large shipments of new textbooks for Zimbabwe's school children.

In January 1997 there were 6,360 members in Zimbabwe, and by October the Church had grown to 7,100 members, an increase of 11.5 percent in less than nine months. President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Zimbabwe and spoke to members on February 18, 1998, during a five-country tour of Africa.