The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has experienced remarkable growth in South America since the continent was dedicated by Elder Melvin J. Ballard on Dec. 25, 1925.
At the time, President Russell M. Nelson — who was born on Sept. 9, 1924 — was only 15 months old. During the prophet’s lifetime, the Church has surpassed 4 million members. There are also currently 18 temples, with the Concepcion Chile Temple dedicated on Oct. 28. The Barranquilla Colombia Temple, scheduled for dedication on Dec. 9, will be the Church’s 19th temple in South America.
But what many don’t know is that when Elder Melvin J. Ballard dedicated South America, he made a prophecy that the Church would grow slowly at first, but then become great, as an “acorn” grows to an “oak tree.” Now, there are generations of members of the Church on the continent.
President Nelson just concluded his South American ministry tour, visiting five countries in nine days. During his tour, he stated that the work of the gospel has just barely begun.
“We are witnesses to a process of restoration,” he said. “If you think the Church has been fully restored, you are just seeing the beginning. There is much more to come.”