The continued growth of the Church, and the desire for priesthood leaders to further strengthen members and leaders throughout the world, has prompted the creation of new missions in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean, and the realignment of four missions in Japan.
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have approved the creation of three missions the Ukraine Dnepropetrovsk Mission, the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission and the Puerto Rico San Juan East Mission. This brings the total number of missions to 347.
The missions in Japan will be realigned in early March. The new missions will open between now and early July.
In Japan, the boundaries of the Hiroshima, Nagoya and Tokyo missions are being realigned.
Portions of the Japan Tokyo North Mission and Japan Tokyo South Mission are being consolidated and will be known as the Japan Tokyo Mission. The newly aligned Japan Tokyo Mission will be concentrated around the greater Tokyo metropolitan area and its 10 stakes.
The Japan Kobe Mission will include the Osaka-Kobe area, with its four stakes and another stake in nearby Kyoto. It is one of three areas in Japan with multiple stakes in a metropolitan area.
The Church in eastern Ukraine has grown to the point that it is now beyond the capacity of one mission president to administer effectively.
The creation of the Ukraine Dnepropetrovsk Mission from the Donetsk mission will allow the mission president and missionaries to concentrate on strengthening existing branches and expand into other large cities located within reasonable commuting distances of Dnepropetrovsk.
President Dale E. Anderson of the Donetsk mission anticipates strengthened leadership for central Ukraine with a new mission. "We'll be able to better serve the area," he said.
"The local leaders are marvelous, faithful people. The Church is doing well in Ukraine," he continued. "Converts are faithful and retention is good."
In the Africa West Area, the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission was created from a division of the Ghana Accra Mission.
The countries of Togo and Benin will also be transferred from the Ghana Cape Coast Mission to the Ghana Accra Mission.
The new mission will combine neighboring countries to reduce travel and administrative demands. Priesthood leaders will have more opportunity to care for new members and to conduct Church affairs in this area, which is among the most productive in the world.
There are approximately 38,000 members in the three missions of Ghana Accra, Ghana Cape Coast and Sierra Leone Freetown, with 10,000 in the Freetown mission.
In the Caribbean, the Puerto Rico San Juan East Mission has been created from a division of the Puerto Rico San Juan and West Indies missions.
The current Puerto Rico San Juan Mission includes the island of Puerto Rico, the U. S. and British Virgin Islands, and the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.
The West Indies Mission includes the remaining islands in the Lesser Antilles and the neighboring South American countries of Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
The division of these two missions will create the Puerto Rico San Juan West Mission, renamed from the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission. The mission headquarters will be centered in San Juan and the mission will cover the western half of Puerto Rico. It will also include the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.
The new Puerto Rico San Juan East Mission will also be centered in San Juan and will contain the two stakes and one district in eastern Puerto Rico, as well as the English-speaking countries of the Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, Dominica and Barbados.
The current West Indies Mission will remain headquartered in Trinidad and will be renamed the Trinidad and Tobago Mission. It will cover all of the French- and Dutch-speaking countries and islands in the Caribbean Area and will continue to oversee English-speaking Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The French-speaking areas are Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, and St. Martin. The Dutch-speaking areas include Suriname and the northern islands of the Netherlands Antilles, including St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba.
The new mission will reduce travel demands and allow the mission president more contact with missionaries and local priesthood leaders.