“Seven New Stakes Created in 28 Hours in Lima, Peru,” Ensign, Apr. 1988, 77–78
Seven new stakes were created in Lima, Peru, during a 28-hour period over the weekend of January 30–31.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve presided over the change, which divided eleven existing stakes into a total of eighteen stakes. The action took place in six separate conferences attended by more than ten thousand Church members.
“You ought to be as thrilled about this as you can be,” Elder Ballard said, addressing the first conference. “This weekend is a great tribute to each of you.”
Elder Ballard spoke to overflow congregations at each meeting. Members began filling the seats at the Bellavista Ward meetinghouse at 7:00 A.M. for the 11:00 A.M. conference held there. Many who couldn’t find seats in the chapels or cultural halls viewed the conferences over closed-circuit television outdoors or in auxiliary rooms.
Tight scheduling allowed Elder Ballard to speak at all six conferences. At some sessions he excused himself soon after delivering his address to allow himself time to travel to the next conference before it began.
The seven new stakes created during the conferences are: Chorrillos, Vitarte, Las Palmeras, Comas, Las Flores, Maranga, and El Olivar. The existing stakes from which the new ones were formed are: San Luis, Lamanita, San Felipe, Central, Callao, San Juan, San Martin, Palao, Limatambo, Magdalena, and Villa Maria.
Fourteen new stake presidencies were called during the conferences. “I was surprised at how many would quietly nod their heads and tell us that they knew in advance the calling was coming,” Elder Ballard said, referring to the dozens of people who were called to leadership positions. “When we asked them how they knew, they’d tell us that the Lord had let them know. So many of these men had received a spiritual confirmation of the calling they were about to receive, and they were well prepared for it.”
“Each mission in Peru needs more missionaries,” Elder Ballard stressed in his talks. He told the members, “We can’t send many more from the United States. Where will they come from? Here.”
He asked each ward and branch to establish its own mission fund with the help of its members. “Sending your young people on missions will require faith, and the Lord will bless you to be able to do this in proportion to your faith in him,” he said.
Elder Ballard said the day would come when missionaries from Peru would travel to other countries, and even to other continents, to preach the gospel.
“The whole Church is watching what is happening in South America,” he said. “It’s really a miracle what is taking place here. Did you know you are blazing a great trail for the Church?”
Elder Ballard noted that it was his grandfather, Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve, who in 1925 dedicated the continent of South America for the preaching of the gospel.
Elder Charles Didier, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and President of the South America North Area, and his counselors, Elder Angel Abrea and Elder Derek A. Cuthbert, also members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, each had responsibility for two of the conferences.
With the new stakes, Lima now has the second largest number of stakes in any city outside the United States. Only Mexico City, Mexico, with twenty-two stakes, has more.