Elder Ian S. Ardern Begins New Assignment as President of the Africa Central Area » Capital News

Elder Ian S. Ardern, General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has officially began his new duties as president of the Africa Central Area of the Church. He is assisted by Elder Thierry K. Mutombo, First Counselor, and Paul B. Pieper, Second Counselor.

The Africa Central Area includes 17 countries, of which 11 have a Church presence. Most of the area’s nearly 180,000 members live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (63%) followed by Uganda (13%), Kenya (11%), and Republic of Congo (7%). The remaining 6% of members live, in descending order, in Tanzania, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Burundi, Rwanda, Gabon, and Central African Republic.

This area is growing rapidly–on average 9% per year from 2018 to 2022. It has 14 missions, and one operating temple (Kinshasa, DR Congo), two under construction (Nairobi, Kenya, and Lubumbashi, DR Congo), and two announced (Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, and Kananga, DR Congo).

This assignment marks the third time Elder Ardern has served as president of one of the Church’s 23 geographic areas worldwide. Shortly after his calling as General Authority Seventy in 2011 he was appointed as second counselor in the Philippines Area presidency, where he served until 2016, the last two years as area president. During 2017 to 2022, he served in the Pacific Area presidency, the last three years as president. Prior to his current assignment, Elder Ardern had been serving as second counselor in the Africa Central Area presidency since August 2022.

Elder Ardern has devoted his entire life to the service of Jesus Christ. Prior to his calling as a General Authority in 2011, he served as an Area Seventy (2010-11), president of the Fiji Suva Mission (2005-2008), counselor in a stake presidency, bishop, and full-time missionary in the France-Belgium Mission (1973-75).

Elder Ardern was born on February 28, 1954, in Te Aroha, New Zealand. He joined the Church at age 8 when the missionaries taught his family. He earned a BA in Education in 1982 and MA in Education in 1994, both from University of Waikato New Zealand.

In 1981 he joined the Church Educational System as a teacher. He later became principal of the Church College of New Zealand. In 2004 he became director of the Church Educational System in the Pacific Area.

Elder Ardern was married to Paula Ann Judd in the Hamilton, New Zealand Temple on January 17, 1976, and they are the parents of four children.

Upon assuming his new duties as area president, Elder Ardern said, “The work of the Lord rolls forward through the effort of His faithful disciples. I count myself as one of those faithful disciples and with so many others in the Africa Central Area, I am committed to building up the Church, and teaching and testifying of Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world.”

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