“Why Do Mission Boundaries Change?” Ensign, March 2018
Changes to mission boundaries occur from time to time according to the number of missionaries serving and the needs of each region of the world.
“We want missionaries to be in the best possible place and position to help people, whether through sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ or community service,” said Elder Brent H. Nielson, General Authority Seventy and Executive Director of the Missionary Department. “The pattern established by the Savior is to make a difference in individual lives, one by one, all over the world, which requires continuous planning and organizing.”
Effective July 2018, the Church will adjust boundaries of 19 missions, and 5 new missions will be created. The realignment of boundaries and the new missions will adjust the number of missions from 421 to 407.
The new missions will be Brazil Rio de Janeiro South, Cote d’Ivoire Yamoussoukro, Nigeria Ibadan, Philippines Cabanatuan, and Zimbabwe Bulawayo.
Boundaries of the following missions will be realigned to merge them with adjoining missions: Australia Sydney North, Bulgaria Sofia, California Modesto, California San Fernando, England London South, Greece Athens, Illinois Chicago West, Mexico Reynosa, Mexico Ciudad Obregon, Mississippi Jackson, New York New York South, Ohio Cleveland, Portugal Porto, Romania/Moldova, Russia Samara, Spain Malaga, Ukraine L’viv, Utah Logan, and Washington Federal Way.
Details about merging missions will be coming in future communications from mission presidents to parents of missionaries in the affected missions.
Since the age changes for missionary service were announced in 2012, the Church had created 76 new missions to accommodate a surge of growth from 58,000 to 88,000 missionaries. The initial wave of missionaries has since receded, as anticipated, and currently about 68,000 missionaries are serving.
This means that for the present, fewer missions are required. But it also means that appropriate placement of missionaries in areas of need around the world warrants particular attention.