- Associated Press - Monday, March 3, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A 19-year-old Mormon missionary died in Sweden after being hit by a car.

Mason Lewis Bailey died Sunday in Stockholm, where he had been serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since July, spokesman Eric Hawkins said.

Bailey was walking to an appointment with his companion when he was struck. The other person was not hit by the vehicle.

Bailey is from Richfield, a small city in central Utah.

“We are mindful of Elder Bailey’s family and loved ones during this difficult time and unite our faith and prayers with all church members, who mourn at the death of a missionary,” Hawkins said in a statement.

The fatal accident marks the first missionary death of the year. Last year, 12 missionaries died in what was an abnormally deadly year for proselyting members of the faith.

There are usually only a few deaths of missionaries each year.

Eight of last year’s deaths were accidents, including two electrocutions and three people who were fatally struck by a car while riding a bicycle.

The only death in 2013 that wasn’t caused by an accident or health problems was Jose Daniel Encarnacion Montero, 20, of the Dominican Republic, who was struck by a stray bullet in August while on mission in Colombia.

Spurred by an historic lowering of the minimum age for missionaries in October 2012, the Utah-based faith has more ambassadors serving around the world than at any time in the church’s history.

The 84,600 missionaries serving now are up from about 58,000 in the fall of 2012.

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