Hymn text by Anonymous, ???-???. View the full text of this hymn.

mormon-missionaries

At the time of writing, there are 64 known countries and territories where missionaries are not allowed preach the Gospel (there are 246 countries and territories in the world). This includes countries with political environments unfriendly to LDS missionaries (such as China, Sudan, and North Korea), countries where missionaries used to be allowed to preach but no longer are (such as Israel, Iran, and Syria), and a variety of other countries in a variety of situations, clustering in Africa and the Middle East.

Missionaries?

Yes

No

Total

Countries

182

64

246

% of Countries

74.0%

26.0%

100%

Population

 4,751,309,705

 2,389,286,845

 7,140,596,550

% of World Population

66.5%

33.5%

100%

Area (sq. km)

 100,558,132

 35,368,466

 100,558,132

% of World Area

74.0%

26.0%

100%

Overall, there are proselyting missionaries in 74% of the world’s countries and territories. By population, these countries account for only 66.5% of the world’s population, largely because China’s 1.4 billion people are in a non-proselyting country. The 66.5% itself is overstated, as it implies equal missionary coverage across the world’s population, but the work is just beginning in India, the world’s second-most populous country with 1.2 billion people. Were India in the “no missionaries” column, there would only be proselyting missionaries in the countries representing 49.1% of the world’s population.

Most Populous Countries With No Missionaries
Country

Population

China

1,365,330,000

Bangladesh

156,546,000

Vietnam

89,708,900

Egypt

86,725,600

Iran

77,547,000

Burma

61,120,000

Algeria

38,700,000

Sudan

37,289,406

Iraq

36,004,552

Morocco

33,305,500

While it’s been a couple of years since new countries opened to missionaries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Republic of Macedonia opened in 2012), the international expansion of missionary work has been prolific. Missionaries are in 55 more countries than when I was born (in 1983), and have expanded into 90 new countries in the past 50 years.

This hymn, “Jehovah, Lord of Heaven and Earth,” is about the gospel spreading from pole to pole, bringing in new nations, and growing as the Lord’s kingdom on earth:

Jehovah, Lord of heav’n and earth,
Thy word of truth proclaim!
Oh, may it spread from pole to pole,
Till all shall know thy name;
Oh, may it spread from pole to pole,
Till all shall know thy name.

We long to see thy Church increase,
Thine own new kingdom grow,
That all the earth may live in peace,
And heav’n be seen below;
That all the earth may live in peace,
And heav’n be seen below.

Roll on thy work in all its pow’r!
The distant nations bring!
In thy new kingdom may they stand,
And own thee God and King;
In thy new kingdom may they stand,
And own thee God and King.

Outside of prayer, there is generally little each of us can do individual to bring the distant nations into the fold. We’re at the mercy of foreign governments being receptive to Christian missionaries. As we sing this hymn, we look forward to the day when the Church increases, when it spreads from pole to pole, and all the earth lives in peace.

Right here at home, though, there is plenty we can do. We each have a personal responsibility to share the Gospel—to be examples of the believers, for sure, but also to open our mouths and invite others to hear the good news of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only when each of us as Latter-day Saints takes personally and seriously this charge will we see the final verse of this hymn take form:

One general chorus then shall rise
From men of ev’ry tongue,
And songs of joy salute the skies,
By ev’ry nation sung;
And songs of joy salute the skies,
By ev’ry nation sung.

The day will come when the Gospel is preached in every nation. Until then, we’ve got work to do.

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