Following instances of civil unrest in part of Nicaragua, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced earlier today that 169 missionaries serving in the country will be relocated.
"Due to growing political instability in Nicaragua, the Church is in the process of transferring 169 missionaries out of that country," said Daniel Woodruff, LDS Church spokesman. "This includes 37 missionaries from the Nicaragua Managua North Mission, all of whom were nearing the end of their service and will return home. In the Nicaragua Managua South Mission, 20 missionaries will return home while 112 missionaries will be temporarily reassigned to other missions in North America, South America, and the Caribbean.
"All 158 missionaries remaining in Nicaragua are being moved to areas that are safe."
This announcement comes shortly after the Church announced plans to build a temple in Managua, Nicaragua, during the 188th Annual General Conference held earlier this year in April.
Anti-government protests erupted in the capital city of Managua when President Daniel Ortega announced on April 22 plans to change social security and pensions in the country. According to BBC reports, more than 50 deaths have been reported as a result of the protests.
Despite his landslide victory in the most recent presidential election, President Ortega has faced opposition since 2014 when he forcibly changed laws regarding term limits within the country, according to CNN reports.
This is not the first time civil unrest in the country has caused missionaries to be removed or relocated. In September of 1978, missionaries were forced to leave the country due to civil war, and it wasn't until many years later, in the late 1980s that missionary work was able to resume.
Woodruff said Church leaders will closely monitor conditions and developments in Nicaragua.
With more than 98,500 members in the country, Woodruff stated, "We pray for the people there as they navigate this difficult time in their country."