July 9th marks a momentous day for the LDS Church in Mali: the organization of its first branch. This West African nation is not alone in its growth. Both Guinea and Senegal, which border Mali, also received their own branches within the last year. Of the 17 countries that make up the Africa West Area, 10 now have LDS wards or branches.
Membership growth has been slow since the 1980s, but consistent missionary work has paid off. The low percentage of Christians in the country (around 1 percent) means that there are fewer Christians to convert as Church policy prevents proselytizing to Muslims. By 2008, there were less than 50 members. Now there’s a branch.