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The LDS Church is continuing, like many other Christian faiths, to spread its good news in the global East and South.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Thursday the formation of three new missions, including one in Vietnam.
The other two are on the African continent: the Democratic Republic of the Congo Mbuji-Mayi Mission and the Nigeria Owerri Mission.
The headline grabber, though, is the creation of the Vietnam Hanoi Mission.
Mormons and some LDS missionaries have been in Vietnam for at least a decade, says independent Mormon demographer Matt Martinich, but the Utah-based faith saw little growth until 2014, when it won official recognition and created a second branch, or congregation, in Ho Chi Minh City.
Having a mission in the Communist country "is very exciting," says the Colorado-based Martinich, project manager of the Cumorah Foundation. "With more than 94 million people, it has been very underserved and scarcely reached by LDS efforts."
Each of these three new missions will be created simply by realigning boundaries of existing ones.
The Vietnam Hanoi Mission is currently part of the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission, which has included a handful of Vietnamese-speaking missionaries who serve in Vietnam.
"Often called branch builders in Vietnam, missionaries in the Vietnam Hanoi Mission," an LDS Church new release said, "will continue to strengthen local members and branches."
The two African missions are important developments, Martinich says, but not surprising.
The Nigeria Owerri Mission is being broken off from the Nigeria Port Harcourt Mission.
This new mission in the heartland of Nigeria "might play an important role in that state," Martinich says, "with a specific outreach to the Igbo people."
This is the home of the Igbo tribe, one of whose most famous writers was Chinua Achebe, author of "Things Fall Apart." It also features the continent's largest Jesus statue at 28 feet high and unveiled on New Year's Day.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo Mbuji-Mayi Mission comes from a division of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa and Democratic Republic of the Congo Lubumbashi missions.
"It makes sense to put a mission there," Martinich says. "It has seen significant growth in the past four years since missionaries first arrived."
It will be interesting to see if the church installs a Congolese mission president there, he says. If so, that will be a further step in developing local leadership, carrying the American-born faith forward.
There are more than 400 Mormon missions worldwide.