News Story

Missionary Service Runs in Australian Family

For Australian couple Patrick and Jane Mathers, and many members of their family, sharing their faith and serving communities around the world through missionary service are natural parts of life. 

Patrick and Jane, from Tocumwal, New South Wales, are currently serving an 18 months mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kenya. Four of their 16 grandchildren are serving as missionaries in other parts of the world — Jake Mangakahia (Canada), Samuel Mangakahia (South Korea), Jordan Taylor (New Zealand), and Miranda Taylor (USA).

Jake and Jordan have put on hold careers in ballet and Australian Rules Football, respectively, so they can serve their two year missions.

The Mathers and their grandchildren are six out of the 80,000 plus Mormon missionaries currently serving worldwide.

As humanitarian missionaries for the Church in Kenya, the Mathers identified a need for greater access to clean water in a Masai community on Elias’ Mountain.  The villagers live four and a half hours from the nearest city and women walk for two hours on trails through brush and over hills to collect buckets of water, before walking back another two hours to their homes.  

Many times the watering place would be dry and the women would return with no water at all. Cattle were herded all day toward watering places by the village’s children. 

A water project, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was organised. Volunteers, including many villagers, dug trenches, connected pipes, checked for kinks, installed spigots in five different locations, and poured cement.

A community celebration was held upon the completion of the project, with local villagers expressing gratitude to those who assisted them to bring clean water to their area. Hundreds of people are benefiting from the clean water that is now available.

“We were very blessed to be part of this great water project,” Patrick Mathers said.

The Latter-day Saints’ Kenya Nairobi Mission President, Gary C. Hicken, said of the water project, “There are no coincidences, the Lord’s hand was in this effort as each man came with the knowledge and skills needed to complete this work.”

Coming to Kenya is somewhat of a homecoming for the Mathers. They left Africa in 1975 to settle in Australia, where they joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Patrick’s grandfather, Henry Mathers, was a missionary for the Church of England in Kenya many years earlier. He promoted higher education during his missionary service, helping to found a technical college in Kenya.

Read more about Latter-day Saint missionaries and the Church’s humanitarian services.

Watch the Youtube video below on the Church's humanitarian efforts.


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