The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a new leader for the Africa Central Area of the Church which covers 17 countries.
Elder Ian S. Ardern has officially begun his duties as the president of one of the Church’s 23 geographic areas worldwide.
He will be assisted by Elders Thierry K. Mutombo and Paul B. Pieper.
Upon assuming his new duties as area president, Elder Ardern pledged his commitment to working hard to build up the church together with other faithful in the Africa Central Area.
“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,” he said upon assuming his new role on August 1, 2023.
The Africa Central Area of the Church has nearly 180,000 members 63 percent of whom live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC followed by Uganda with 13 percent, Kenya 11 percent while DRC has 7 percent membership. The remaining 6 percent of members live, in descending order, in Tanzania, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Burundi, Rwanda, Gabon, and the Central African Republic.
The Africa Central Area is growing rapidly on average at 9% per year from 2018 to 2022. It has 14 missions, and one operating temple in Kinshasa, DRC, two under construction in Nairobi, Kenya, and Lubumbashi, DRC.
The new 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 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.
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 blessed with four children.