Kenya Nairobi Mission President Assignments

Two days ago the LDS Church News released new mission president assignments for 2018. The affiliated mission adjustments garnered a bit more media attention (5 new missions, 19 missions to be merged with others), but that’s not what caught my eye. It was the inclusion of wives with that list of new mission presidents.

Historically, the announcement of new mission presidents was slightly different. In 2017, the list of 123 new assignments gave the name of each mission with its current mission president in one column and new mission president in another. No wives were listed. The 2016 announcement of 168 new assignments was the same: mission name, current mission president, and new mission president. Same with 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and, well, you get the picture.

But this year they dropped the name of the current mission president and added in the new president’s wife:

So what’s the deal with referring to the wife as a “companion”? Apparently, “mission president’s companion” is a semi-official title for the calling of a mission president’s wife, though it’s public appearance is sporadic. In a 1998 Deseret News obituary, a woman is celebrated as having served four times as “Mission President’s Companion.” The title “mission president’s companion” is used in this 2017 Mormon Newsroom announcement and quite often in this 2011 Church News article. The 2011 article even explained some responsibilities, “Mission presidents’ companions provide assistance in everything from health care to training to counseling.”

Yet the title is conspicuously absent in other places. Take this 2013 Mormon Newsroom press release describing the creation of the new “Mission Leadership Council.” This was at the same time the role of “sister training leader” was created, a leadership responsibility necessitated by the increased numbers of women entering the mission field after the age change. The Mission Leadership Council was to consist of “the mission president and his wife, assistants to the president, zone leaders and sister training leaders.” During this press release, it was also announced that the mission president’s wife would assume new responsibilities: “Additionally, the wives of mission presidents are now being asked to play an enhanced role in training and caring for sister missionaries, subject to their individual and family circumstances.” But nowhere is a wife of a mission president described as a “companion.”

And then there’s lds.org, which doesn’t seem to register anything for “mission president’s companion” (or “president’s companion”):

Searching for “president and companion,” “presidents and their companions,” “presidents and companions,” or “presidents’ companions” is more successful, though you’ll never get more than a half dozen results each (if that). For example, “president and companion” yields the recent February news release, a 2003 Ensign article, a 2005 article appearing in both the Ensign and Liahona, and Elder Rasband’s personal bio.

So it’s understandable that members, like me, aren’t familiar with a title of “companion” for the mission president’s wife. Which is why, in a 2016 poll by the online Mormon journal SquareTwo, hundreds of Mormon women indicated they’d like to see the wife of a mission president be given an official title. Authors Valerie Cassler and Neylan McBaine reported that, with over 400 predominantly centrist/orthodox LDS women responding, 96% of respondents wanted to see a change to the title of “mission president’s wife.” People weren’t shy in offering suggestions. Funny enough, “Mission President’s Companion” was offered as an alternative, but not a common one. It’s in the “other” category on SquareTwo‘s description (emphasized below).

The question of what to change her name to resulted in less uniform answers. The majority (58%) suggest also calling her “President,” or some variation: co-president, presidentess, presidenta. “Why can’t they both be mission presidents?” was a common refrain in the comments….

Other suggested names for the mission president’s wife included “matron”, signaling a desire perhaps to have some uniformity in our women’s titles as it would echo the current “temple matron” appellation. “Mission matron” and “temple matron” allow both callings to gain in stature and indicate similar partnerships with their male equivalents. Overall, 23% of respondents indicated that “mission matron,” “mission matriarch,” or “mission mother” felt right to them.

Other terms offered by a few individuals included Mission Advisor, Mission Counselor, Mission Leader, Mission President’s Companion, Mission Associate President, Mission Administrator, and “use Mission Father and Mission Mother.”

Questions:

  • What do you think about the changes to the 2018 announcement, omitting the previous mission president’s name in favor of the new president’s wife?
  • How do you feel about the title “Mission President’s Companion”? Is there another title you’d prefer for a mission president’s wife?

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Church Announces New Mission Presidents for 2018

The First Presidency has called 111 new mission presidents, effective July 2018. They will serve three years.

The names of the new mission presidents and their companions are listed by area below. Biographies of each mission presidency couple will be published throughout 2018 on news.lds.org.

Mormon Newsroom reports today that in an effort to better fit the needs of each region of the world, the Church will adjust the number of its missions from 421 to 407, realigning the boundaries for 19 missions, as well as creating five new missions, on July 1, 2018. (See related story.)

AFRICA SOUTHEAST AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
Republic of Congo KinshasaFrancois and Mireille Mukubu
Madagascar AntananarivoCory L. and Elva M. Duckworth
Zimbabwe BulawayoJimmy Carter and Lindiwe Amanda Okot
Zimbabwe HarareTasara and Shamiso Makasi
AFRICA West AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
Cote d'Ivoire YamoussoukroKirk D. and Jacqueline D. Sherman
Ghana KumasiStephen C. and W. Rosely Webster
Nigeria CalabarEmmanuel A. and Adiza Nelson
Nigeria IbadanPatrick and Elizabeth Appianti-Sarpong
ASIA AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
Cambodia Phnom PenhJohn W. and LaCinda Lewis
China Hong KongDennis L. and May Phillips
India New DelhiBradley R. and Danna L. Hansen
SingaporeGreg P. and Sheila Mackay
Taiwan TaichungBradley W. and Cynthia J. Card
Taiwan TaipeiMichael L. and Shelley P. Peterson
Thailand BangkokTodd Melvin and Noelle Green Hammond
Vietnam HanoiRoss A. and Carrie A. Chiles
Asia North Area
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
Japan FukuokaSpencer F. and Jane Neubert Mack
Japan NagoyaRonald M. and Teresa Judd
Japan TokyoJ. Kimo and Kaye D. Esplin
Korea SeoulBradford G. and Ann W. Taylor
BRAZIL AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion 
Brazil BelémMauro and Rosa Almeida
Brazil Belo HorizonteTo be announced
Brazil CampinasJohn T. and Keri J. Marsh
Brazil CuiabáFrancisco D. N. and Evelina Granja
Brazil Porto Alegre NorthDee Lon and Bonnie C. Jones
Brazil Porto Alegre SouthFernando and Miriam Souza
Brazil Rio de Janeiro SouthHeltmar M. and Mariluce G. Gunça
Brazil Salvador SouthMichael C. and Marla P. Biddulph
Brazil São Paulo EastStephen D. and Lynne Miller
Brazil TeresinaAdonai R. and Simone Cavalcanti Lago
CARIBBEAN AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion  
Barbados BridgetownAlan L. and Elizabeth H. Fisher
Dominican Republic SantiagoMichael B. and Amelia D. Cowan
Haiti Port-au-PrinceHarold and Sabine Jules
Jamaica KingstonFred A. and Lina O. Parker
Trinidad Port of SpainKyle K. and Melanie Baird
CENTRAL America Area
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion  
Costa Rica San José EastDenis José and Yadira E. Aguilar
Costa Rica San José WestGerardo E. and Ada Valladares
Honduras ComayagüelaMarvin E. and Diana E. Mejía
Europe AREA
 MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
Belgium/NetherlandsJo and Linda Buysse
Denmark CopenhagenMichael and Joan Olsen
England BirminghamDavid J. and Lisa A. Hughes
England LondonDavid W. and Deborah L. Checketts
France LyonChristophe G. and Isabelle S. Giraud-Carrier
Germany BerlinTo be announced
Norway OsloWayne and Patrice Tew
Portugal LisbonBrent D. and Joan W. Fillmore
Scotland/IrelandMark A. and Denise R. Macdonald
Spain BarcelonaCraig D. and Laurel E. Galli
Spain MadridPhilip K. and Cathy H. Bussey
EUROPE EAST AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
Ukraine DnepropetrovskRichard L. and Joni Wirthlin
IdAHO AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
Idaho PocatelloStephen M. and Heather Southward
MÉXICO AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
México CuernavacaAlejandro H. and Elisa Treviño
México GuadalajaraMiguel A. and I. Patricia Reyes
México México City SouthGregorio E. and Alma A. Casillas
México Puebla NorthRaúl and Brenda M. Barrón
México TampicoRussell A. and Kelly Robinson
NORTH AMERICA CENTRAL AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
Canada CalgaryStephen A. and Cindy Keung
Canada WinnipegCraig K. and Merry G. Hitchcock
Illinois NauvooMark J and Julianne Lusvardi*
Montana BillingsJared L. and Randa L. Larson
Nebraska OmahaJames N. and Deborah Ence
North Dakota BismarckScott L. and Lori B. Howell
NORTH AMERICA NORTHEAST AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
Canada HalifaxRichard A. and Gayle A. Low
Maryland BaltimoreThierry K. and Nathalie Sinda Mutombo
Massachusetts BostonFotios and Virginia Mavromatis
New York New York City
(Renamed from the New York New York North Mission)
Craig and Gayle Teuscher
New York UticaKyle A. and Kelli A. Vest
Washington DC SouthSteven G. and Toni B. Caplin
NORTH AMERICA NORTHWEST AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
Washington SpokaneMichael A. and Julie A. Thompson
Washington YakimaTom K. and Margi C. Jackman
NORTH AMERICA SOUTHEAST AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
Georgia AtlantaBret K. and Lisa K. Clayton
North Carolina CharlotteDetlef H. and Jutta H. V. Adler
North Carolina RaleighMatthew S. and Paige B. Holland
NORTH AMERICA SOUTHWEST AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion 
Arkansas BentonvilleJeff and Sara Strong
Nevada RenoTaylor G. and Carol Godoy
New Mexico FarmingtonJeffrey J. and Jolene Ackerman
Texas Houston SouthJeremy and Jenny Guthrie
NORTH AMERICA WEST AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion 
California Oakland/San FranciscoPaul M. and Maren J. Durham
California Santa RosaBradley J. and Lynne S. Bentley
PACIFIC AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
Australia AdelaideDerek A. and Colleen C. Marquis
Australia PerthPaul R. and Andrea K. Bennallack
Papua New Guinea Port MoresbyFinau and Lucy Hafoka
Samoa ApiaFrancis Arthur and Lanett Harmon Ho Ching
Vanuatu Port VilaJ. Benoit and Diane Duquette
PHILIPPINES AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
Philippines BacolodElmer and Leanell Sumagpao
Philippines CabanatuanRamon C. and Maria Fe Nobleza
Philippines LaoagMark M. and Cathlene J. Peterson
Philippines UrdanetaJose Antonio and Sariah Mia San Gabriel
South America Northwest Area
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
Bolivia La Paz El AltoJuan C. and Patricia Z. Borja
Colombia Bogota NorthFrancisco and Beatriz Valim
Colombia Bogota SouthRudy and Betsy Palhua
Colombia MedellinArmando and Dina Ceballos
Perú Lima CentralMichael B. and Cristin C. Strong
Perú Lima SouthMark A. and Kristin Richey
Perú PiuraJorge and Martha Vega
Perú Trujillo SouthArmando and Jessica Rebaza
Venezuela BarcelonaTo be announced
Venezuela MaracaiboPedro E. and Magdalena I. Hernández
SOUTH AMERICA SOUTH AREA
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
Argentina Bahía BlancaRobert W. and Katherine Ann Hymas
Argentina Buenos Aires EastDaniel G. and Heidi N. Gifford
Argentina NeuquénJorge R. and Iris S. Cardozo
Argentina Santa FeScott D. and Janice B. Hintze
Chile Santiago EastW. Todd and Carrie Parrott Brotherson
Chile Viña del MarJorge L. and Marina E. Romeu
Paraguay AsunciónKimball R. and Christine E. Hansen
UTAH AREAS
MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT and Companion
Utah Layton
(Renamed from the Utah Salt Lake City Mission)
Robert M. and Heather A. Call
Utah OgdenMark A. and Diane T. Hobbins
Utah OremGordon L. and Kristi Elizabeth Treadway
Utah ProvoAndrew M. and Helen O’Riordan
Utah Salt Lake City Temple SquareCraig G. and Julia W. Fisher*
Utah Salt Lake City WestKent A. and Karen McBeth

*Began serving in January

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