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

Country information: Madagascar

Published: Friday, Jan. 29, 2010

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Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 20,654,000; Members 4,769; Stakes 1; Wards 8; Branches 9; Missions 1; Percent LDS, .023, or one in 4,331; Africa Southeast Area.

Madagascar, previously known as Malagasy Republic, became independent from France on 26 June 1960. It is in the Indian Ocean east of Mozambique and is the world's fourth largest island. It's people speak Malagasy and French. Fifty-two percent of the people follow traditional beliefs, while 41 percent are Christian, and 7 percent are Muslim.

The first member of the Church in Madagascar was Saholivololona Rabevazaha Andriantseheno, who was baptized on 3 June 1982 in Italy where she was a student. She soon returned to Madagascar where she was the only known member in the country for several years. Razanapanala Ramianadrisoa was baptized on 1 November 1986 in France where he was a student. When he returned to Madagascar in 1988, he began teaching the gospel in his home. As a result, Jean-Claude Rafenonirina was baptized on 9 November 1988, the first person to join the Church in Madagascar. The Antananarivo Branch was organized on 23 September 1990 with Ramianadrisoa as president.

The first missionaries to serve in Madagascar were Fred L. and Eileen Forsgren, who arrived on 3 March 1991. On 7 June 1991, Elder Richard P. Lindsay of the Second Quorum of Seventy and Africa Area president became the first General Authority to visit Madagascar. He met with Antananarivo Branch members and presented the prime minister, Victor Ramahatra, with a copy of the Book of Mormon. The second missionary couple to serve in Madagascar, Marvyn and LaVeeta Hogenson, arrived in May 1991, the same month the first young missionaries, Jason Tarbet and Jeffry Gifford, arrived. The Church received legal status on 13 July 1993.

The Hogensons returned for a second mission and served from December 1993 to August 1994. During this period, the seminary program and the auxiliaries were introduced. The first missionary called from Madagascar was Rondro Mbolatiana Razafiarison, she served in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission from 1995 to 1997.

The Madagascar Antananarivo Mission was created from a division of the South Africa Durban and South Africa Johannesburg Missions on 1 July 1998. The first meetinghouse in Madagascar was dedicated in the capital city of Antananarivo on 9 May 1999.

The Malagasy translation of the Book of Mormon was published in February 2000. A Malagasy issue of the international magazine, Liahona, first appeared in April 2000. Six months later, the Antananarivo Madagascar Stake was created on 17 September 2000 with Dominique Andriamanantoa as president.

In December 2001, violence erupted, followed by a declaration of martial law. On 18 April 2002, mission president, John R. Hill, had all 54 missionaries who were not citizens of Madagascar evacuated from the country. A welfare system was put into place to help the members affected by the crisis. Mission personnel and missionaries returned in July 2002.

In 2001, membership was 2,428.

Sources "Gospel Pioneers Still Making Inroads on Diverse Continent," Church News, 26 January 1991; Marvyn and La Veeta Hogenson, "Rich Harvest of Souls on Island of Madagascar," Church News, 4 February 1995; Borgna Brunner, "Countries of the world, Madagascar," Time Almanac 2004; South Africa Durban Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives. Stephen T. Case, "Unity Amid Diversity, the Durban South Africa Stake," South Africa Country Web Site: http://www.lds.co.za/Artview.aspObjectID=238, accessed 23 June 2004.

Stake — 1

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

No. / Name / Organized / First President

2572 / Antananarivo Madagascar / 17 Sep 2000 / Dominique L. Andriamanantoa

Mission — 1

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

(327) MADAGASCAR ANTANANARIVO MISSION

B.P. 5094

Antananarivo 101

Madagascar

MALAWI

Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 14,269,000; Members, 742; Branches, 3;Percent LDS, .005 or 1 LDS in 19,230; Africa Southeast Area; Zimbabwe Harare Mission.

The first known Latter-day Saint to live and work in Malawi was Dr. Donal A. Brody. In 1953, while in London, Brody befriended a physician from Malawi, Hastings Kamuzu Banda. Banda became prime minister in 1964 and the founding president of Malawi in 1966. In 1969, Brody was asked to be a business and economic advisor to President Banda, and served in that capacity. He lived in Malawi, from 1969 to 1977. Thereafter, he returned annually until Dr. Banda's passing in 1997. Brody served a total of 31 years as Honorary Consul General.

In 1978, shortly after the revelation extending the priesthood to all worthy males, missionaries in Toulouse, France, taught McDunstan A. Minikwa, a native of Malawi. Minikwa was converted, but returned to Malawi without being baptized, telling the missionaries he wanted to be baptized after the Church was established in Malawi. A year later, however, Minikwa was once again in France and sought out the missionaries. He was baptized in Tarbes, France, on 10 July 1979, the first Malawian to be baptized.

In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Malawians, who were either living abroad and had met the missionaries or had somehow found Church literature in Malawi, began to write Church headquarters asking that the Church be established in their country. The presidency of the International Mission, which had jurisdiction over nations with no official Church presence, corresponded with these people and sent Church literature.

One such person was McFarlane N. Phiri. While visiting a friend in Mzuzu in 1978, Phiri noticed James E. Talmage's Articles of Faith on a bookshelf. Phiri's friend, who was not LDS, said he could have the book. Phiri read the book, was converted, and began corresponding with the International Mission and later with the Area Presidency in England. Phiri moved to Sitima Village and began to teach his family and friends about the Church.

In January 1991, Elder Richard P. Lindsay, of the Second Quorum of the Seventy and Africa Area President, went to Lilongwe, Malawi, and met with American Latter-day Saints working in the country. He set apart Jerry Mills as lead elder. The first baptism in Malawi was performed at the U.S. Ambassador's residence, where Mills baptized his daughter. In July 1991, Phiri traveled 100 miles by bus to meet Elder Lindsay.

After waiting 14 years, missionaries serving in Zimbabwe, Brian and Betty Peedle, drove to Sitima Village in July 1992, where they taught and baptized Phiri and 32 others, the first convert baptisms in Malawi.

Following these baptisms, missionary couples traveled to Malawi from Zimbabwe for about a year. Soon thereafter, unrest in neighboring countries prevented the missionaries from going there. The Church gained legal recognition in Malawi on 25 April 1995 and Malawi was assigned to the Zimbabwe Harare Mission. James Palmer, an LDS diplomat stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe, was the presiding elder in 1997 and often traveled to Sitima to teach and assist the people.

In 1999, Elder Dennis E. Simmons of the Seventy and president of the Africa Southeast Area, accompanied by President Frank Bagley of the Zimbabwe Harare Mission, visited the Sitima members. After observing their faithfulness, Elder Simmons organized the Sitima Village Branch on 23 May 1999 with Phiri as branch president.

In September 1999, Dan and Berylene Frampton, who were serving in the Zimbabwe Harare Mission, were sent to Malawi as the first missionary couple to live there. They lived in Blantyre. Though Sitima Village was several hours away, they regularly visited President Phiri and the branch. Within a year, membership of the branch increased to about 200. "We baptized more than 20 each week for four weeks," said Elder Frampton. They were assisted by Malawians Leonard and Mary Nchika, who had joined the Church in Zimbabwe, but moved back to Blantyre. The Sitima Village Branch met at President Phiri's home under a bowery. A second branch was organized in the country on 30 July 2000 in Blantyre.

In 2001, membership was 326. In 2002, membership reached 377.

Sources: Donal A. Brody, Telephone conversation, 11 May 2004; Brian and Betty Peedle, Interview, June 2000, Church Archives; McFarlane N. Phiri, Interview, May 2000, Church Archives; James Palmer, Interview, October 2000, Church Archives; McFarlane N. Phiri Autobiographical Sketch, 2000, Church Archives; Dan and Berylene Frampton, Interview, May 2000, Church Archives; John L. Hart, "Village Branch is a Testimony of Enduring Faith," 18 November 2000 Church News.