Monday, March 1, 2010

Article in Church News about New Mission

The New Mexico Farmington Mission will be created from portions of the New Mexico Albuquerque, Arizona Phoenix, and Arizona Mesa Missions. The new mission appears to be a renewed effort to increase missionary activity among Native Americans (particularly the Navajo) as perhaps two thirds of the mission area is the Navajo Nation. The population of the Navajo Nation is around 180,000 however, and the population of the entire mission area is around 675,000. Slightly over half the population of the new mission is in New Mexico (350,000). The population of the Arizona areas are about 300,000 while the Utah areas have only 20,000 people.

The decision to create the new mission also likely indicates that this area of the United States needs additional care and support from full-time missionaries as there are a large number of less active or inactive members on the reservations. A missionary serving in the small town of Teec Nos Pos (in the four corners in Arizona) reported that his branch likely had enough members to create two wards but only 40 attended Church meetings weekly. Apparently many of the inactive members lived with LDS families in Utah for placement programs when they were youth, joined the Church and returned home and stopped attending Church. Senior missionaries often assist in the smaller branches and help strengthen members and provide teaching and mentoring. Despite inactivity problems, two stakes function on the Navajo Nation in Chinle and Tuba City, both of which were created in the 1990s. Other stakes take in portions of the Navajo nation, such as the Kirtland New Mexico Stake and Holbrook Arizona.

Lastly the new mission will allow for increased effort in the already existing missions, the two in Arizona in particular numbering among the most productive.

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