Salt Lake City mission proves to be a surprisingly multicultural experience
Robbie Taylor has returned from serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Taylor was assigned to the Utah Salt Lake City mission, where he worked in a variety of areas, from downtown to Grantsville, a ranching community on the road to Nevada that Taylor described as laid back and easy going. He also spent time in smaller cities such as Layton and Farmington.
While on his mission, Taylor spent his time teaching people and providing service, both in a community sense and to individuals.
Missionaries always work in pairs, and Taylor’s companions came from a variety of places – from as far as Korea and Brazil, as well as states from Hawaii to Virginia. He also served with fellow Canadians. He felt that working with partners from different backgrounds and interests taught him how to get along with people.
Because Salt Lake City is home to refugee and immigrant communities, Taylor was able to have a taste of foreign cultures. He worked with a congregation from Samoa, and also participated in some Spanish activities.
“They have cool parties,” he said.
While dining with a Filipino family, he was invited to try balut, a boiled, fertilized duck egg considered a delicacy in the Phillipines. He liked it, “it was tasty.”
Taylor also spent time with refugees from the Sudan.
“It was sad,” he said, “because what they want most is to go home.”
Missionaries have one day a week called their preparation day, when they take care of domestic things like laundry and shopping, and on some of those days, Taylor was able to visit historical sites such as the Latter-day Saint Church History Museum and go on a tour of the Salt Lake City cemetery where he heard stories about the many historical figures buried there. He also participated in the recreation of a pioneer handcart trek.
“It was fun, and a lot of hard, hot work,” he said.
Taylor feels that he has learned how to “fend for myself, how to deal with problems on my own and how to help others with their problems.”
When asked if there is one thing he would take away from this experience, he said “Don’t compromise the things you want in the future for the things you want now.” Overall, of his time away, he said “I’ve enjoyed it, and I’ve enjoyed who I’ve become because of it.”
He plans to attend Brigham Young University – Idaho in the fall, and hopes to continue to provide service to others throughout his life.