New 2017 Mission Presidents Called to Serve in Brazil, South Africa, U.S., and More

Contributed By Ryan Morgenegg, Church News staff writer

  • 25 January 2017

The following new mission presidents and their wives have been called by the First Presidency. They will begin service later this year.

Brazil São Paulo South Mission

Pedro and Glicia Acosta

Pedro Aurelio Mendes Acosta, 59, and Glicia Maria Menezes Dos Santos Acosta, three children, Glória Ward, Manaus Brazil Rio Amazonas Stake: Brazil São Paulo South Mission, succeeding President Phillip E. Broadbent and Sister Laura J. Broadbent. Brother Acosta serves as an assistant area auditor and is a former mission presidency counselor, stake presidency counselor, branch president, and stake family history center director. Systems analyst supervisor, Corporation of the President. Born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, to Juan Anair Acosta and Ananda Mendes Acosta.

Sister Acosta is a former stake Primary presidency counselor, ward Relief Society and Young Women president, public affairs director, and seminary teacher. Born in Manaus, Brazil, to Lindolfo Cardoso Santos Filho and Edna Menezes Santos.

Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission

Steven C. and Cindy Bednar

Steven Craig Bednar, 53, and Cindy Kay Christensen Bednar, four children, Reading Ward, Centerville Utah North Stake: Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission, succeeding President Bradley K. Johnson and Sister Rosemarie M. Johnson. Brother Bednar serves as a temple ordinance worker and ward Primary teacher and is a former bishop, high councilor, elders quorum president, and missionary in the Netherlands Amsterdam Mission. Managing partner, Manning Curtis Bradshaw & Bednar, PLLC. Born in Provo, Utah, to Richard Lee Bednar and Saundra Rochelle Knudson Bednar.

Sister Bednar serves as a temple ordinance worker and ward Primary teacher and is a former ward Relief Society president, ward Primary secretary, ward Sunday School teacher, and ward Young Women adviser. Born in Bountiful, Utah, to Robert Albert Christensen and Kay McCullough Christensen.

Guatemala Guatemala City Central Mission

Barbara S. and Casey B. Cluff

Casey Benjamin Cluff, 46, and Barbara Sue Hansen Cluff, four children, Nauvoo 1st Ward, Nauvoo Illinois Stake: Guatemala Guatemala City Central Mission, succeeding President Melvin G. Markham and Sister Susan Markham. Brother Cluff serves as a bishop and is a former ward Young Men, Sunday School, and elders quorum president and missionary in the Costa Rica San José Mission. Area temple facilities manager, Corporation of the Presiding Bishop. Born in Provo, Utah, to Benjamin Ferrell Cluff and Pamela Gay Hill Cluff.

Sister Cluff serves as a Primary pianist and is a former ward Young Women and Primary president, ward Relief Society and Primary presidency counselor, and missionary in the Japan Fukuoka Mission. Born in Denver, Colorado, to James Edward Hansen and Shauna Lee Anderson Hansen.

Texas Lubbock Mission

David G. and Melody Hales

David Glen Hales, 59, and Melody Winder Hales, four children, Manhattan Beach Ward, Torrance California North Stake: Texas Lubbock Mission, succeeding President David Heap and Sister Mary Heap. Brother Hales serves as a stake president and is a former stake presidency counselor, bishop, high councilor, and missionary in the Florida Ft. Lauderdale Mission. Aerospace IT project manager and principle engineer. Born in Clovis, New Mexico, to Glen Herbert Hales and Sarah Mari-Lynn Marcil Hales.

Sister Hales serves as a stake music chairman and ward Relief Society teacher and is a former stake Young Women presidency counselor, ward Young Women president, and ward Relief Society presidency counselor. Born in Cedar City, Utah, to Paul Squire Winder and Dorothy Graf Winder.

South Africa Johannesburg Mission

Dane O. and Ruth Marie Leavitt

Dane Okerlund Leavitt, 60, and Ruth Marie Jolley Leavitt, six children, Cedar 2nd Ward, Cedar City Utah West Stake: South Africa Johannesburg Mission, succeeding President Michael A. Dunn and Sister Linda Dunn. Brother Leavitt serves as a ward Young Men president and is a former Area Seventy, stake president, stake presidency counselor, bishop, and missionary in the New York New York Mission. Executive chairman, Leavitt Group. Born in Cedar City, Utah, to Dixie L. Leavitt and Phyllis Anne Okerlund Leavitt.

Sister Leavitt serves as a Gospel Doctrine teacher and Primary activity days leader and is a former ward Young Women president, ward Young Women and Primary presidency counselor, and stake camp director. Born in Salt Lake City to Aaron Floyd Jolley and Dorothy LaVon Salisbury Jolley.

California Ventura Mission

David H. and Stephanie Nakken

David Herbert Nakken, 58, and Stephanie Smith Nakken, five children, Mesa Hills Ward, Cedar City Utah Cross Hollow Stake: California Ventura Mission, succeeding President Dell C. Felix and Sister Maurine Felix. Brother Nakken serves as a Gospel Doctrine teacher and is a former stake president, stake presidency counselor, bishop, high councilor, ward Young Men president, and missionary in the Canada Alberta Mission. Retired owner and general manager, Parkway Autoplex. Born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, to Herbert Henry Nakken and Janet Margetts Alger.

Sister Nakken serves as a Gospel Doctrine teacher and is a former ward Young Women president, ward Relief Society presidency counselor, seminary teacher, Sunday School teacher, and missionary in the Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission. Born in Delta, Utah, to Phillip Ray Smith and Lorene Black Wilhelm Smith.

Adriatic South Mission

Brent D. and Nena Rawson

Brent Dee Rawson, 60, and Nena Helene Newell Rawson, four children, Inverness Ward, Klein Texas Stake: Adriatic South Mission, succeeding President Louis Weidmann and Sister Esther M. Weidmann. Brother Rawson is a former stake president, stake presidency counselor, bishop, bishopric counselor, Pathway missionary, and missionary in the Italy Padova Mission. Global controls manager, ExxonMobil. Born in Ogden, Utah, to Harlen Dee Rawson and Ida Carolyn Hatch Rawson.

Sister Rawson serves as a ward Young Women presidency counselor and is a former stake Relief Society and Young Women presidency counselor, ward Relief Society president, Pathway missionary, and seminary teacher. Born in Thomasville, Georgia, to Buford Austin Newell and Margaret Jane Roberts Newell.

New Zealand Wellington Mission

Luisa and Newman N. Soloai

Newman Neru Soloai, 60, and Luisa Kava Kavea ‘Etuate Soloai, five children, Lynfield Ward, Auckland New Zealand Mt Roskill Stake: New Zealand Wellington Mission, succeeding President Roger C. Hudson and Sister Carol A. Hudson. Brother Soloai serves in a stake presidency and is a former bishop, branch president, and missionary in the South Dakota Rapid City Mission. Coordinator, Seminaries and Institutes. Born in Auckland, New Zealand, to Neru Soloai and Filo’nunu T. Foua Soloai.

Sister Soloai serves as a ward Sunday School teacher and is a former ward Relief Society and Primary president, seminary teacher, and missionary in the Tonga Nukualofa Mission. Born in Nga’unoho Vavai’u, Tonga, to Kauni Kavea and Emeline Falehau Fangupo Kavea.