“Area Conferences for Africa, South America,” Ensign, Feb. 1978, 71
Saints in South Africa and eastern South America will be able to attend area conferences of the Church in late 1978, the First Presidency has announced. President Kimball will head the group of General Authorities that will meet with the Saints in the nations of South Africa, Rhodesia, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
More than 114,000 Saints live in these areas—50,000 in Brazil, 34,000 in Argentina, 23,000 in Uruguay and Paraguay, and 7,000 in South Africa and Rhodesia.
The conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, will be held on Monday and Tuesday, 23 and 24 October 1978; the conference in Montevideo, Uruguay, for the Saints in that country and Paraguay, will be held on Thursday and Friday, 26 and 27 October 1978; the conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, will be held on Saturday and Sunday, 28 and 29 October; and the conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, will take place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 3–5 November, immediately following the four days of dedication ceremonies for the new Sao Paulo Temple.
Area conferences of the Church have for several years provided Saints in areas of the world far removed from Salt Lake City an opportunity to listen to the messages of the leaders of the Church and meet them in person. Even though conferences are held in the most central locations possible, thousands of Saints still sacrifice a great deal, both in time and in money, to attend the conferences.
Since 1971, thirty-six area conferences have been held in thirty-four different cities. The 1978 conferences will be the first ever held in Montevideo and Johannesburg.
Today there are eleven stakes and four missions in Brazil, six stakes and four missions in Argentina, six stakes and one mission in Uruguay, and one mission in Paraguay. Considering that the Church’s missionary work only began in earnest in 1925 in South America, the last fifty-three years have seen tremendous growth in both strength and numbers in that area. Missionaries first arrived in South Africa in 1853, but it was not until 1903 that a permanent mission was established. Today there are a stake and a mission centered in Johannesburg.
Last year area conferences were held in the other nations of South America, so that within two years a great number of the Saints in those two continents, South America and Africa, will have had a chance to see and hear the President of the Church and other leaders.