RICHLAND, Wash.-- Many Mormons complete a mission in young adulthood and now more are serving as missionaries than ever before.
In the Tri-Cities, 12% of the population is Mormon and now the younger generation within the religion is showing a greater involvement in serving their faith.
The Church of Latter-day Saints lowered the minimum age for missionaries in October from 21 to 19-years-old for women and from 19 to 18-years-old for men.
Since then, there's been a 38% surge in young missionaries. That's the biggest increase ever.
A local mission counselor tells says the change allows young people to serve before getting involved in other life commitments.
"There's a lot of interest in going before they go on to their careers or go on to college. This gives them an opportunity to serve in their faith before they get set in their career and obligated with things like college," said David Stapleton, mission counselor.
Stapleton says the big drop in the minimum age for women is allowing more of them to serve before marriage and increasing their interest in participation.
Stapleton told me the church estimates there will be 100,000 missionaries serving worldwide by the end of this year.