Church News - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Country information: Guyana

Published: Friday, Jan. 29, 2010

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Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 772,000; Members, 3,935; Branches, 16; District, 2; percent LDS, .51 or 1 in 196; Caribbean Area; West Indies Mission.

On the north eastern coast of South America, Guyana is a republic in the United Kingdom commonwealth of nations. Its population is 57 percent Christian and 37 percent Hindu, and speaks English and Amerindian dialects.

Senior missionaries Benjamin and Ruth Hudson entered Guyana on 19 August 1988, and held a sacrament meeting in September of that year. Among those who attended was the Majid Abdulla family, who had been baptized previously in Canada. The first convert was Indra Sukhdeo, who was baptized on 23 October 1988, by Majid Abdulla.

The Church gained legal recognition in February 1989, and a small branch with Benjamin Hudson was organized in Georgetown in March. In February 1990, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve blessed the land and attended services with 45 members and investigators. Kenrick Latchmansingh was called as the first local branch president in 1990.

On 15 September 1992, President Desmond Hoyte, Guyana's head of state, was a special guest at a luncheon hosted by Elder Stephen D. Nadauld of the Seventy and J. Richard Toolson, Trinidad Tobago Mission president.

By late 2002, membership reached 1,251, a ten-fold increase in 10 years, making Guyana the fastest growing area of the West Indies. The first meetinghouse was dedicated on 15 March 2003 in Prashad Nagar. Some 250 members attended the dedication.

The Georgetown Guyana District was organized on 21 December 2003 with Wayne D. Barrow as district president. The district is comprised of three branches in the capitol Georgetown, as well as one in the eastern port city of New Amsterdam, and one in Patentia in western Demerara.

In 2003, membership reached 1,340. In 2005, membership reached 1,845.

Sources: Benjamin and Ruth Hudson, Interview, 2003, Church Archives; John L. Hart, "Taking Root in 'Land of Waters,'" Church News, 18 May 1991; "Guyana Leader Hosted," Church News, 7 November 1992; Wayne Barrow, "Guyana Growing, First Chapel Dedicated," Church News, 19 April 2003; Jacob Swensen, "'Forgotten' Guyana Carving Gospel Mark," Church News, 8 May 2004.