LDS Church removes last 99 missionaries from Liberia
As economic conditions have continued to deteriorate in Liberia, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Thursday it will temporarily reassign 99 full-time missionaries to missions outside the country.
On Thursday, the church released the following update:
“Economic conditions in Liberia have continued to deteriorate, leading to increased difficulties in obtaining basic supplies and conducting missionary work. For this reason, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has decided to temporarily transfer the remaining 99 missionaries out of that country. We continue to pray for all people in Liberia at this difficult time, and we look forward to missionaries returning when the situation improves.”
On Feb. 2, the church released a statement sharing its concerns about the ability to get adequate supplies into Liberia, and said it was reducing the number of missionaries in the country.
At that time, about 23 missionaries who were nearing their scheduled departure date were returned home, and the remaining 99 missionaries in the Liberia Monrovia Mission were given adequate supplies.
The Liberian economy has faced uncertainty the past two years due to declining mining exports, rising inflation and currency depreciation, according to a report by the African Development Bank Group.
The report also said, “Liberia is recovering from the Ebola crisis between 2014 and 2016, which plunged the economy into a recession, with real GDP contracting by 1.6% in 2016 due to capital flight and a fall in private investment. Real GDP growth recovered to 2.5% in 2017, largely driven by mining (gold and iron ore), forestry, and agriculture as economic activity resumed.”
Liberia’s population is estimated at 4.8 million, 71% under age 35 and nearly half under age 15, according to the bank group.
Liberia is home to some 13,200 LDS Church members, spread throughout 48 congregations. The church’s missionaries have been in the country since 1987.