Nine new missions, including six in the United States, were announced this week by the First Presidency. Eight new missions were announced last week. (See March 6 Church News.)
The new missions announced this week are: Brazil Florianopolis, Brazil Recife South, California Carlsbad, California Roseville, Canada Toronto West, Colorado Denver North, Nebraska Omaha, New York New York South, and Tennessee Knoxville.The two new Brazilian missions bring the total in that country to 19, while the new California missions bring to 14 the number in that state. With the new mission in Toronto, Canada will have seven missions, and with six new missions in the United States, the U.S. will have 85.
All the missions become effective about the first of July. Presidents of the new missions will be announced later.
With headquarters near Joinville, where the first missionaries came to Brazil in 1927, the new Brazil Florianopolis Mission will have a membership of 4,839 in two stakes and two districts and a total population of 1.3 million. The Brazil Curituba Mission, from which the Florianopolis mission was divided, will retain 18,250 members in seven stakes and seven districts and a population of 3.4 million.
Curituba Mission Pres. Sebastiao L. Oliveira said the new mission is an answer to the prayers of the members. "Everyone is excited about the new mission. The area within the old mission is very large and hard to administer," he said. "We think the division will help very much."
He noted that the Ipomeia area, near the city of Joinville where many Germans settled earlier, is a pioneer area for the Church in Brazil.
Members are very supportive of missionary work, the mission president explained. They provide lunch for the missionaries and give them referrals. Priesthood leaders provide support, and stake missionaries also join with full-time missionaries and help them teach, he said.
BRAZIL RECIFE SOUTH
The Brazil Recife Mission will be divided to create the Brazil Recife South Mission. The new mission will have 17,000 members in five stakes and two districts, and a population of 6.5 million. The Recife mission will retain 22,000 members in five stakes, and a population of 7.2 million.
Brazil Recife Mission Pres. Donald L. Clark said the mission is one of the most successful in Brazil. Because of the growth, five stakes were created within the past 13 months. He said each companionship of missionaries has a goal to contact and discuss the Church with about 100 people per month.
"Many of the members have friends and relatives in cities we haven't been able to get into," he said. "With more missionaries, we will be able to take the work faster."
He said one reason members are motivated to help missionary work is because it takes 2 1/2 days by bus to travel to the temple in Sao Paulo. "One of our main goals is to work hard so we'll be prepared when the Lord decides to place a temple in this area. This will be a very special blessing."
The California Carlsbad Mission will be created from a division of the California San Diego Mission. The Carlsbad Mission will include 11 stakes and 32,798 members in a population of 2 million. The San Diego Mission will retain 31,599 members in 10 stakes and a population of 2 million.
"Missionary work is going well in Carlsbad," said Pres. Jay L. Christensen of the San Diego Mission. He said the Church is well-known in the Southern California area. Missionaries are teaching people who visited the San Diego Temple during its open house.
Missionaries teach primarily in English and Spanish, but also work with Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Hmongs, and in sign language. Work among the Asians continues, but progress isn't as rapid as it was a few years ago, he said.
However, the Mormon Battalion Visitors Center missionaries and a multi-region family history center in San Diego attract many non-members. The San Diego Temple open house has raised interest in the Church substantially.
Missionaries are also seeing some progress in the desert areas of Lake Havesu, Needles, Brawley, El Centro, Calexico in California and in Yuma, Ariz., which remain in the San Diego mission.
The California Sacramento Mission will be divided to create the California Roseville Mission. In addition, the Sacramento mission acquired three stakes -- Lodi, Stockton and Manteca -- from the California Fresno Mission. And the California Santa Rosa Mission gave the Eureka Stake to the new mission and acquired the Davis Stake from the Sacramento mission.
Roseville, a suburb of Sacramento, will retain some of the stakes in metropolitan Sacramento. The new mission will have 37,862 members in 11 stakes and a population of 1.2 million. The realigned Sacramento mission will have 37,989 members in 11 stakes and a population of 1.6 million.
According to Pres. Paul G. Ripplinger of the Sacramento mission, work in the area of the new mission is progressing vigorously with conversions coming from throughout the mission, but mostly centered in the populous Sacramento area. "We have a lot of minorities in the mission speaking Spanish, Hmong, Laotian, Tagolog (Filipinos), Tongan, and Samoan," he said. "Every inch of the mission is covered by wards and stakes. At least 80 percent of the people we teach are referrals from members."
CANADA TORONTO WEST
From a division of the Canada Toronto Mission will be created the Canada Tornoto West Mission, which will have 11,924 members in five stakes and a population of 4.3 million. The existing mission will be renamed Canada Toronto East Mission, and will keep 8,059 members in three stakes and a population of 6.4 million.
Pres. Glenn T. Potter of the Toronto Mission observed that the Church has been involved in missionary work in the mission longer than in any other area outside the United States. "Canada is the only place the Prophet Joseph Smith bore his testimony outside the United States. Here, Parley P. Pratt found John Taylor. The Lord has been moving on this area for a long time," said Pres. Potter.
He said Toronto is a gathering place for people who come in hopes of immigrating. They come from upwards of 100 lands and speak 90 languages. However, many are not given immigration rights, and they return to their homeland. Some of these are converted and return to further the Church in their own lands, such as Nigeria, Ghana, Sri Lanka, and in the Caribbean.
"We do a lot of street contacting and tracting," he said. "We also use members a lot. We try to use members with the missionaries when teaching the lessons. When wards get behind the missionaries, conversions increase, and retention also improves."
He added that, "we have an exceptional caliber of missionaries. The Missionary Training Center really does a good job of training them. New missionaries come to us extremely enthusiastic, and missionaries here just love to train them."
Colorado Denver North
The Colorado Denver Mission will be divided, creating the Colorado Denver North Mission. The new mission will have 40,000 members in 13 stakes and 1.6 million members. The existing mission, to be renamed Colorado Denver South Mission, will retain 50,000 members in 11 stakes and one district and have a population of 1.9 million.
This division will reduce the size of one of the larger and more successful missions in the United States, said Pres. William K. Farrar of the Denver Mission, who will complete his three-year service this July.
"This division will give both new mission presidents an opportunity to work more closely with stake presidents," he said.
He noted that the mission is rich in cultural diversity. "We find success among all nationalities of people. We have many Spanish branches in our mission, and basically, the people are integrating well. In the Vail Branch [Golden Colorado StakeT talks are given in Spanish and in English; it is a good experience to attend the branch and participate in the cultural diversity there."
The Nebraska Omaha Mission will be created from a division of the Missouri Independence Mission. The new mission will have 12,532 members in four stakes and one district, and a population of 1.9 million. The Missouri Independence Mission will retain 23,058 members in seven stakes, and a population of about 3 million.
The new mission will be headquartered near the historic Winter Quarters area, now part of greater Omaha, said Pres. Thomas R. Murray of the Independence Mission. "There is a very active missionary effort in the four stakes of the new mission - Kearny, Lincoln, Papillion and Omaha," he said. "There has been a definite upward trend in baptisms in the missionary work in that area in the past six months."
Included in that effort have been inner city branches in several areas, including a successful Vietnamese Branch, where two young men were recently sent on full-time missions.
The historical ties of the Church to the community are strong, since Winter Quarters was the first city in Nebraska. "We have a very good relationship with the community and historical societies," he said.
New York New York South
The New York New York Mission will be divided to create the New York New York South and the New York New York North missions. The new south mission will have 6,453 members in one stake and one district and a population of 7.3 million. The north mission will have 7,200 members in two stakes and a population of 4.5 million.
Missionary work is proceeding extremely well in the area, said Pres. Sheldon F. Child of the New York New York Mission. "The creation of a new mission is a compliment to the missionaries now serving and those who have served in the past," he said. "It is also a tribute to the priesthood leaders and the auxiliaries. The members are being very supportive of missionary work."
He said missionaries are serving in the five boroughs of New York City, and in many areas in upstate New York and Connecticut, as well as in Bermuda, which will be in the south mission. "It is a great mission. It gives us lots of variety with cities, and suburban and rural areas. We find success all over. The Lord is preparing the hearts of the people to hear the gospel, and many are being brought in.
"We have so many people in our mission that we could really use twice as many missionaries - that's why the mission is being divided."
The new Tennessee Knoxville Mission will be created in a division of the Tennessee Nashville Mission, and will have 8,599 members in three stakes within a population of 2.7 million. The Nashville mission will have 10,972 members in four stakes and a population of 2.2 million.
"Knoxville has been a strong point in missionary work in the last couple of years," said Pres. Serge B. Woodruff of the Nashville mission. "Knoxville is a city that has a lot of potential for missionary work. There is a lot of vitality in Knoxville. The other large city in the new mission, Chattanooga, has a great history of the Church. The headquarters of the Southern States Mission was in Chattanooga for many years."
Pres. Woodruff said converts from the area are primarily established people, and more and more families are joinng the Church.
Media referrals are increasingly effective, and members are more involved, said Pres. Woodruff. "We just follow the Church program. Members are working harder than ever in bringing people in for discussions."