`Serving. . . very, very important'

Representative of the many devoted couples who have accepted calls to serve full-time missions are Jay and Joy Mortensen, who recently completed their third mission in Nairobi, Kenya.

Members of the Wapello Ward, Blackfoot Idaho Stake, they trained new leaders and taught and baptized investigators in the five branches of the Chyulu District near Nairobi.During their 18 months in Kenya, "The membership doubled in each of the five branches," said Elder Mortensen. "When we first arrived, one of the branches up in the mountains had eight people. It grew from eight to 40. We had people walk two hours to be taught the gospel."

He explained that they saw dozens of new members baptized during their mission. At the end of their 18 months, the Mortensens reported that the new converts had a retention rate of 97 percent.

"The first thing we learned was to love the African people," said Elder Mortensen. "We love the people very, very much.

"To us, serving a mission is very, very important. The Church needs couples everywhere."

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