BETA

Country information: Marshall Islands

Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 64,500; Members, 4,476; Districts, 2; Branches, 11; Mission, 1; Percent LDS, 7, or one in 14; Pacific Area; Marshall Islands Majuro Mission.

The Marshall Islands are made up of two atoll chains in the Pacific. Kwajalein is the largest atoll and Majuro is the capital island. The Marshalls became a trusteeship of the United States in 1947 and self-governing republic in 1979.

There are no records of missionary activity in the Marshall Islands or visits by Latter-day Saint members prior to World War II. The first known Latter-day Saints in the Marshall Islands came as members of the armed forces during World War II. Missionary work in this island group began on the Majuro Atoll in 1977 under the direction of the Hawaii Honolulu Mission. The Marshall Islands became part of the Micronesia Guam Mission on 1 April 1980.

MAJURO

The first missionaries to the Majuro Atoll were William Wardel and Steven Cooper, who arrived on 3 February 1977. Eldred Fewkes, a Church member who had come to Majuro for work, arranged to hold meetings in the Seventh-Day Adventists' church until another location could be secured. He was the group's initial leader. Misao Lokeijak, who had been introduced to the Church earlier in Hawaii, was baptized on 23 April 1977. By the end of that year there were 27 converts on the island. Victor and Beatrice Merrill, the first missionary couple to serve in the Marshall Islands, arrived in Majuro on 11 March 1978. Misao Lokeijak was called to be the first native branch president on 11 May 1978. By the end of 1979, there were 177 members on the atoll. A seminary program was started with the 1980-1981 school years. A second branch was formed at Rita in July 1982 and the Majuro Branch was renamed the Laura Branch. Orlo Hall, who served with his wife Meinel as a missionary couple, was assigned by mission president Joseph B. Keeler to organize the Majuro District. They arrived in October 1984. Hall was set apart as district president on 30 December 1984. Shortly before their arrival, construction of meetinghouses for the Laura and Rita branches had begun in September. The meetinghouses were dedicated on 13-14 January 1986, respectively. Church membership has steadily increased and the Majuro District now includes the Ajeltake, Delap, Jenrok, Laura, Long Island Majuro, Rita, and Uliga branches.

On 1 July 2006, the Marshall Islands Majuro Mission was organized from the Micronesia Guam Mission with an estimated 12,704 members in the mission.

Stake — 1

(Listed alphabetically as of Oct. 1, 2009.)

No. / Name / Organized / First President

2837 / Majuro Marshall Islands / 14 Jun 2009 / Arlington Tibon

KWAJALEIN/EBEYE

The Kwajalein Island Branch was organized in 1978, made up entirely of U.S. citizens serving in the military or as civil service personnel (the entire island is essentially a U.S. Army installation). A servicemen's group had existed on Kwajalein prior to a branch being created. The most populous island of the Kwajalein Atoll is Ebeye. Kepiloni Foliaki and Michael Steele began missionary work on Ebeye on 16 May 1989 and baptized Mary Kekuhuna on 11 June 1989. The Ebeye Branch was organized in June 1990 with Renoun Sylvester as president. The Kwajalein District was organized on 12 May 1991 with John Haldeman as president. Bruce Saunders and Joel Robison began missionary work on the neighboring island of Lae on 27 December 1991 and a branch was organized on 10 August 1992.

That same year the Ebeye Branch Relief Society began a project to pick up litter to beautify their island. After the sisters had done this a few times, the queen of the island, First Lady Emlain Kabua, joined them. On 7 November 1998, after years of negotiations, mayoral approval was granted and an agreement was reached for the Ebeye Branch to lease space for a chapel to be constructed in a storm shelter the branch had been meeting in for years. Because building space was limited on the island, the Church agreed to share in the cost for a school addition to be constructed at the other end of the shelter. During the remodeling of the shelter, the Ebeye 2nd Branch was organized on 22 October 2000. The two branches celebrated the dedication of the chapel portion of the building on 18 March 2001. The Lae Branch held their first conference on 12 May 2003, even though the branch had been organized since 1992. The 40 branch members invited their non-member friends and family to attend. In all, 110 people were in attendance out of a total island population of 400. The Kwajalein District now includes the Kwajalein, Ebeye 1st, Ebeye 2nd, and Lae branches.

Source: Micronesia Guam Mission, Brief History of the Micronesia-Guam Mission, 1980-1990, 1990, Church Archives; Hawaii Honolulu Mission, Annual histories and historical reports, Church Archives; Majuro Branch, Historical reports, Church Archives; Majuro District, Historical reports, Church Archives; Kwajalein Branch, Historical reports, Church Archives; Kwajalein District, Historical reports, Church Archives; Lae Branch conference report, Church Archives.

Stakes — 1

(Listed alphabetically as of Oct. 1, 2009.)

No. / Name / Organized / First President

Majuro Marshall Islands / 4 June 2009 / Arlington Jabat

Mission — 1

(As of Oct. 1, 2009; shown with historical number.)

MARSHALL ISLANDS MISSION

Eletutu Weto

Delap Island, Majuro Atoll

Marshall Islands

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