A New Area Presidency is Announced for the Africa Southeast Area

News Release

On April 5, 2018, The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced new area leadership assignments for each of its 21 global geographic regions, which will take effect August 1, 2018Elder S. Mark Palmer will serve as the new Africa Southeast Area President, with Elder Joseph W. Sitati serving as First Counselor and Elder Joni L. Koch serving as Second Counselor.

                  
                

    

Elder Kevin S. Hamilton has served faithfully in the Africa Southeast Area Presidency, first as a counselor and currently as Area President. In the April 5, 2018 announcement, The First Presidency assigned Elder Hamilton to serve as First Counselor in the North America Northeast Area Presidency requiring a change in the Africa Southeast Area Presidency. During Elder Hamilton’s service in the Africa Southeast Area, church membership has steadily increased facilitating the building and announcement of four temples in the Area. Two temples, the Durban South Africa Temple and the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple, are under construction and nearly complete with two additional temples announced, one in Nairobi, Kenya and one in Harare, Zimbabwe.

   
                              

Elder S. Mark Palmer was born in Te Puke, New Zealand. He is currently serving as First Counselor in the Africa Southeast Area Presidency. Prior to his call in April 2016 as a General Authority Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Palmer had served as a full-time missionary in the New Zealand Wellington Mission, elders quorum president, high councilor, high priests group leader, counselor in a bishopric, bishop, counselor in a stake presidency, stake president, mission president and Area Seventy. He married Jacqueline Ann Wood in 1981. They are the parents of six children. Elder Palmer was founder of SMP Ventures, a real estate development company prior to his call to full-time church service.

         

           

Elder Joseph W. Sitati was born in Bungoma, Kenya. He is currently serving at Church headquarters as an Assistant Executive Director in the Missionary Department and a member of the Boundary and Leadership Change Committee. Since joining the Church in 1986, Elder Sitati has served in a number of Church callings, including branch president, district president, counselor in a mission presidency, stake president, Area Seventy, and mission president. He also served as the Church’s international director of Public Affairs for Africa. He was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in April 2009. He married Gladys Nangoni in 1976. They are the parents of six children. Prior to full time Church service, Elder Sitati served as an executive for Reach the Children, a non-governmental charitable organization. He had also worked in several positions with the Total Group, the fourth largest oil and gas company in the world.

               

Elder Joni L. Koch was born in Joinville, Santa Catarina, Brazil. He is currently serving as Second Counselor in the Africa Southeast Area Presidency. Prior to his call in April 2017 as a General Authority Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Koch served in numerous Church callings, including full-time missionary in the Brazil São Paulo North Mission, bishop, stake mission president, stake president’s counselor, stake president, Area Seventy, and president of the Mozambique Maputo Mission. He married Liliane Michele Ludwig in 1988. They are the parents of two children. Before his full-time church service, Elder Koch worked in senior management positions at Cargill Foods, APM Maersk Group, and most recently as the CEO of Conexão Marítima Ltda.

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