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    Vanuatu

    Fiji Suva Mission President Ebbie L. Davis organized the Port Vila Branch (a small congregation) in July 1973 with Lanipota Fehoko as president. Missionary work began in Vanuatu in 1974 after several Latter-day Saint Tongan families moved there. Elder Harman Rector Jr., of the Seventy (one of the highest governing bodies of the Church) and President Davis visited Port Vila in April 1974 to determine the possibility of assigning full-time missionaries to the island. Elder Rector felt it was essential that the area receive missionaries. Asaeli Mokofisi and Peni Malohifo’ou, two Tongans, began missionary work in Port Vila in January 1975. Over the years, government restrictions on visas slowed the work. Non-native missionaries were expelled from Vanuatu in 1982.

    Between 1987-1989, Fred Massing and Timothy Proveau, both natives of Vanuatu, were the only missionaries on the island. They found success and baptized more than 40 people, including several family members. More missionaries were eventually allowed and Church membership increased. Additional branches were organized in the 1990s on the islands of Efate, Espiritu Santo, Tanna, and Ambae.

    In October 1998, Tom and Janet Tarohati, the first couple to be called on a mission from Vanuatu, began their mission in their native land. That same year, seminary and institute classes for religious education were organized. At the request of Church members living on the island of Mere Lava, missionaries began visiting that island in 2002. The Church responded with aid via the missionaries in the wake of an earthquake in November 2002.

    President Gordon B. Hinckley, in planning a tour of the Pacific Islands, looked on a map of the South Pacific to see where he had never been and saw Vanuatu. He determined to visit there. He addressed the largest group of members ever known to have assembled in Port Vila when 2,212 members gathered in June 2003. Members filled classrooms, clustered around doorways and on the lawn, and sat outside the chapel where they caught a glimpse of President Hinckley through louvered windows. The full Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Christ was published in the Bislama language in July 2004.

    Richard Hunter
    New Zealand
    Phone:  64(9)488-5572
    Mobile: 64-21-240-7804

    E-mail: Hunterra@ldschurch.org

    8,786

    Total Church Membership

    1

    Missions

    2

    Family History Centers

    32

    Congregations

    North America

    9,253,590

    Total Church Membership

    192

    Missions

    2,866

    Family History Centers

    18,159

    Congregations

    109

    Temples

    South America

    4,038,045

    Total Church Membership

    94

    Missions

    979

    Family History Centers

    5,545

    Congregations

    17

    Temples

    Europe

    516,003

    Total Church Membership

    43

    Missions

    710

    Family History Centers

    1,422

    Congregations

    12

    Temples

    Asia

    1,155,764

    Total Church Membership

    42

    Missions

    333

    Family History Centers

    1,973

    Congregations

    8

    Temples

    Oceania (Pacific)

    552,825

    Total Church Membership

    18

    Missions

    338

    Family History Centers

    1,251

    Congregations

    10

    Temples

    Africa

    578,310

    Total Church Membership

    31

    Missions

    285

    Family History Centers

    2,004

    Congregations

    3

    Temples

    Worldwide Statistics

    16,118,169

    Total Church Membership

    421

    Missions

    159

    Temples

    30,506

    Congregations

    67,049

    Missionaries

    15

    Missionary Training Centers

    4

    Universities & Colleges

    404,270

    Seminary Students Enrollment

    357,760

    Institute Student Enrollment

    5,100

    Family History Centers

    10,238

    Welfare Services Missionaries (Incl. Humanitarian Service Missionaries)

    188

    Published Languages

    140

    Countries with Family History Centers

    189

    Countries Receiving Humanitarian Aid (Since 1985)