Left to right: Brayden Sprickerhoff and Andrew Smart, arrived in Terrace last month as part of their mission work. Since then they have been serving the community through free yard work.(Binny Paul/Terrace Standard)

Left to right: Brayden Sprickerhoff and Andrew Smart, arrived in Terrace last month as part of their mission work. Since then they have been serving the community through free yard work.(Binny Paul/Terrace Standard)

Winning hearts one yard at a time: Two travelling missionaries serve B.C. communities through chores

Brayden Sprickerhoff and Andrew Smart will be serving communities like Terrace for the next two years

Brayden Sprickerhoff and Andrew Smart are making their way into the hearts of Terrace residents one yard at a time.

The 18-year-old travelling missionaries who arrived in Terrace last month, have been offering free yard work to residents as a way of serving the community where they live.

Sprickerhoff and Smart are on their very first mission work with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They were both assigned to British Columbia where they will be spending two years, travelling from community to community.

The religious organization has been running the program for decades, where young missionaries (18-years and older) are trained for several weeks and dispatched to serve in communities across the world.

Smart hails from Utah and Sprickerhoff from Toronto. They both met when they arrived in Terrace.

Before coming to Terrace, they each served in communities on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland and northern B.C.

In Terrace, the boys put across their free services – wood splitting, yard works etc. – on online community bulletins and have been helping out residents.

So far the response has been tremendous and they have been undertaking an average of three projects a day, in addition to volunteering at a local soup kitchen.

After every six weeks or so, volunteer missionaries can be rotated and sent to different communities by the head of the church’s mission who oversees the program in B.C., Smart explained.

The boys expect to be in Terrace for another month or two, after which another set of missionaries will take their place here.

“So there will always be people to do yard work in Terrace,” adds Sprickerhoff cheekily.

Both boys grew up watching family members undertake this mission work and travel to foreign communities and wanted to do the same someday.

“I wanted to be able to go do my part for the world,” Smart said. There was some apprehension while undertaking this decision to commit two years of their lives, they said.

“You drop everything, leave your family and friends…. So there is a lot of hesitation and it was a big commitment coming at 18 for me, ” said Sprickerhoff who wrapped up his biomedical studies in school before heading here. For Smart, who completed his vocational training in welding to be a part of the oil industry back home, mission work seemed scary to begin with but it is turning out to be a rewarding experience. It gave him an opportunity to see how their efforts can affect other people’s lives in a positive manner.

“Some days you get doubts in your head, but overall you just love the work that you’re doing and the people around you,” he added.

In serving people selflessly, getting to know them in a personal way and learning to love them, the boys say, they learned how to truly love and find themselves.

“You serve people, talk about Jesus Christ, and we’re just trying our best to help people out where they are and meet them,” Sprickerhoff said, adding, “There’s always needs, and there’s a whole lot of suffering in the world and we’re just doing our best to make them happier.”

Talking about religion is an important pillar of their mission, while working on people’s yards is not always easy for them, Smart explains. And sometimes people are not receptive, not because they are aggressive, but because they don’t see the need for religion. “And that’s OK too, says Smart, adding, “We always offer to talk about Christ, if someone wants to learn its always nice, but we never force it on anyone.”

Their combined experiences so far has been life changing. Apart from the natural beauty of their environments, the interactions with people and the warm welcome they received in communities has been remarkable, they said.

“Everything is so compact in Toronto and I’m so used to skyscrapers, buildings and the only tree is the one the city plants right in front of your yard,” said Sprickerhoff.

“Coming here, everyone is friendly and there’s a sense of community. I like it here. The people are a lot more nicer.”