Growth of the Church in three areas of the world, with the attendant need to care for missionaries and new converts, has prompted the creation of new missions in Brazil, Philippines and the Pacific.
The First Presidency approved the creation of the Brazil Cuiaba Mission, the Philippines Butuan Mission and the Marshall Islands Majuro Mission, bringing the total number of missions throughout the world to 344. The missions were created in July and are now in the process of being organized and staffed.
President Cesar Augusto Seiguer Milder of Brazil was called to preside over the Brazil Cuiaba Mission, President Charlie Garcia Revillo of the Philippines, over the Philippines Butuan Mission, and President Nelson Lorell Bleak of Panaca, Nev., over the Marshall Islands Majuro Mission. (Please see related story link for biographies and photos of the new presidents and their wives).
The new presidents and their wives attended the recent seminar for new mission presidents, which concluded June 29.
In Brazil, the Manaus and Brasilia missions were divided to create the Brazil Cuiaba Mission. Approximately 4.5 million people reside in the new mission where missionary activity is strong. Vast forests of thick foliage cover much of the Manaus mission, dividing the populated areas by great distances. The new Cuiaba mission will ease travel demands of missionaries and leaders and allow the mission president greater access to missionaries for administration and training.
The Brazil Cuiaba Mission becomes the 27th mission in the country where approximately 930,000 members reside.
The Philippines Butuan Mission, created in the south, becomes the 15th mission in the Philippines. The reorganization of the Davao and Cagayan de Oro missions to create the Butuan mission will provide more missionaries in a productive area of the Church, where mission presidents of the two original missions worked with 11 stakes and led members in 17 districts.
Approximately 70,000 members are among the 12.9 million people residing within the three Philippines missions that were reorganized.
In the South Pacific, approximately 35,000 members reside among the scattered islands and the 1.7 million residents in the Fiji Suva and Micronesia Guam missions, from which the Marshall Islands Marjuro Mission is formed.
Distances and the lack of frequent flights make travel among these islands spread over thousands of miles challenging and time consuming. Mission tours require several weeks to complete.
The Marshall Islands Majuro Mission was created by the realignment of the Fiji Suva and Micronesia Guam missions. The first known members in the Marshall Islands came with the armed forces during World War II. The first missionaries arrived in February 1977. By the end of that year, there were 27 members.
The Marshall Islands Majuro Mission includes the nations of New Caledonia, Kiribati and Nauru. Christmas Island, a remote, 140-square-mile atoll located 2,000 miles east, which is 1,160 miles due south of Honolulu, is also part of this mission.
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