News Story

Elder S. Mark Palmer and Jacqueline have Arrived

New to our Area, Elder S. Mark Palmer and his wife Jacqueline Ann Wood have been in Africa a fast few weeks. They are so happy to be here.

Jacqui, who was born in England, where her family joined the church, moved to Nigeria as a young child.  Her father was doing a teacher exchange.   She remembers a little about that time and especially the singing and beautiful smiles.  When she was 8 her family moved to the United States.  There, she met and married Mark.  She had served a mission to Spain and was studying at the University of Utah.  In 1981 a good friend “set them up” on a blind date and they were married 6 months later.  They have celebrated 35 years together.  Jacqui loves music and has served in the Church as a choir director, organist and “singing” nursery leader, her favorite calling.

One father who came to pick up his child after nursery asked, “Do you have to try out for this calling”?

Other Church service has included working with young women, primary children, in the woman’s organization (Relief society), and teaching youth in an early morning religious studies class she tenderly recalls included her own children.  They have six children, 2 sons and 4 daughters, all born and raised in Texas who have blessed them with 9 grandchildren and two more awaiting arrival.

Elder Palmer was born in New Zealand where his father was a sheep farmer.  There his family was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and later his father became the director of the Church’s distributions center.  Elder Palmer learned to love farming and especially enjoyed fly fishing; something he says he may be able to pursue, “in another lifetime.”  

He received his Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Auckland.  And, after a Church mission in New Zealand moved to the United States where he attended Brigham Young University.   While there he earned a Masters of Business Administration and met Jacqueline Ann Wood.   He founded SMP Ventures, a real estate company, and served as president since 1993.

When asked about his “callings” in the Church Elder Palmer stated, “One of the things in the Church that is really unique is that we have a lay ministry.  We believe that when we are asked by a prophet,  stake president, or bishop to teach others or to lead others it is an opportunity to serve.”

Since serving a full-time mission as a young man, Elder Palmer has served in many callings including bishop over a smaller organized membership, stake (diocese) president, mission president, area seventy and now as Area Presidency Counselor.  The world is divided by the Church into 14 areas and Africa Southeast is his assignment.

He said, “Seventy is a calling found in the bible for those who go out into the world to testify of Jesus Christ.”

Together they said they have always been ready to serve wherever they are called.  

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