TERRACE HAS two finely dressed visitors looking to help residents with yard work and addiction issues.
That is if you are willing to spend some time chatting about their faith.
While the popular term for their religion is Mormonism, Elder Bingham and Elder Edge prefer the traditional name The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This marks the distance they wish to maintain from fundamentalist settlements such as Bountiful B.C., which was the subject of a highly publicized court case involving charges of abusive polygamy several years ago.
It may seem premature for Bingham and Edge, both Americans, to already wear the title of elder at age 20, however their current mission is part of a coming-of-age—relocating from town to town to serve their traditional two years as full-time missionaries after which they will settle and marry back in the States.
“We don’t like people knowing our first names,” says Elder Bingham. Abandoning their given names is part of the missionary calling and signifies their new identity. In exchange they have taken on the designation of elder, which they see as meaning “teacher.”
Dressed in black suits with white collars, Bingham and Edge have been going door to door offering their free labour and counselling.
“The first step towards overcoming addiction is faith,” advises Edge. “Spring work is coming,” he adds, saying that he wishes to help people clean up their lawns and gardens.
Helping mend social issues and doing community work is an important part of the LDS mission, says Bingham, as it “shows people we are willing to help.”
Far from their homes in Idaho and Utah, Edge and Bingham find the Terrace community to be “receptive and loving”—at least open-minded about their invitation for “souls to come to Christ to receive the restored gospel,” Bingham says.
“I’m kind of an outdoorsy guy,” says Edge. The natural beauty surrounding Terrace and the diversity of the community attracts these two wanderers who see signs of a god’s handiwork in the vast mountain ranges.
The two missionaries share a basement apartment here. To celebrate Bingham recently hitting the one year mark of his mission, they recently hit the local bowling alley.
Their trip so far has included visits to Penticton, Williams Lake, Burns Lake, Chilliwack and The Sunshine Coast. There is no set date for their departure from Terrace.