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Celebrating Christmas far from their home
Elder Clemans has advice for Terrace residents this Christmas season.
“We can give gifts in different ways other than wrapping them up,” said the Mormon missionary currently stationed in Terrace.
“We can help with the shelters, we can shovel someone’s driveway, we can help someone in need. Giving of Christ’s love is the ultimate gift. As human beings we can carry that love and give it to someone in need.”
Elder Clemans, 20, along with Elder Wyss, 23, are the new Mormon missionaries in Terrace, living in a basement apartment and working 11 hour days going door-to-door to recruit residents to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Clemans said there have been hundreds of B.C. residents baptized into the church this year. There are Elders on missions in towns all across the north, though the farthest west Mormon sisters are stationed is Prince George.
Mormon sisters serve about one and a half years while the missionary period for elders is two years. After that, ex-missionaries resume using their first names and settle down in their home towns to typical lives, no longer on the road.
Previous missionaries stationed in Terrace included Elder Edge and Elder Bingham, who liked to go bowling for a good time. Edge has finished up his mission, while Bingham is in Vancouver currently.
Clemans said he and Wyss are big basketball players, though are still looking for others to play.
“We play a lot of basketball. We haven’t played since we have been here but on my mission so far I have played lots,” said Clemans, saying that he started his mission in Prince Rupert.
Wyss wants Terrace residents to know the elders are there if they are needed.
They will shovel walkways and driveways and counsel residents on addiction issues, what Wyss calls “random acts of service.”
“Whatever it is, we try to help them come closer to Jesus Christ and experience the blessings we do,” said Wyss, adding that being a Mormon means you can talk directly to god and god will talk back to you.
“It’s super cool to see people overcome substances and become more independent and take part in spirituality instead of the a substance which gets in the way of them and God,” said Clemans.
They’ve climbed Terrace Mountain and think the Northwest coast is “where it’s at,” according to Clemans, though he isn’t fond of the westerly winds that can cut to the bone.
They are from Salt Lake City in the U.S. which has one of the largest populations of Mormons. The religious group made its way to Utah after being persecuted in other regions. The elders said a Mormon Christmas is focused on celebrating Christ rather than a visit from Santa.