A Utah man serving his Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission in Sweden died after being hit by a car.
Mason Lewis Bailey, 19, and his mission companion were walking along a road near Stockholm on Sunday, on their way to an appointment, when the car struck Bailey, according to a statement from LDS Church spokesman Cody Craynor.
Bailey, from Richfield, died the same day.
"It’s devastating," said Bailey’s aunt, Nicole Persons, with whom Bailey lived before departing for his mission. "We’re all in shock waiting to wake up from the bad dream. But we also know that it was important to him to do the Lord’s work and be obedient. He wanted to share the gospel and serve. He passed doing something that he loved."
Bailey had been serving in the Sweden Stockholm Mission since July.
Bailey grew up in Richfield and Provo and moved back to Richfield full time during his junior year of high school to be close to extended family and his favorite outdoor activities. "He loved fishing, hunting, four-wheeling. He’d explore the canyons, ride his horse, play baseball," Persons said. "Most of all he loved to be around his family and friends. He was the happiest person, with the biggest smile on his face. He made everybody feel special."
During his senior year, Bailey graduated with high grades, was an Eagle Scout and was voted "most influential" by his classmates, Persons said.
"He had a charisma about him that drew people in."
Bailey’s companion was not hit and was uninjured in Sunday’s crash, Craynor said in the statement.
"We are mindful of Elder Bailey’s family and loved ones during this difficult time," Craynor said, "and unite our faith and prayers with all church members, who mourn at the death of a missionary."
A memorial service will be held in Sweden before Bailey’s body is returned to his family, Persons said. He will be buried in Richfield, but the family doesn’t know the date of the funeral. Bailey’s parents are Rochelle and Lewis Bailey.
Bailey made an impact in the time he had, said Kenneth Thomas, president of the Richfield East Stake.
"He was really an exceptional young man," Thomas said. "He was very well liked … . Whenever I saw him, he had a smile on his face and was positive and enjoyed life and was anxious to serve."
Bailey was among the first wave of 18-year-olds allowed to serve missions after the LDS Church lowered the age requirement, Thomas said. Bailey had filed his mission papers while he was still in high school.
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.