I thought I was pretty mature at the age of 19. I was terribly wrong. As a fresh adult I was sent on a Mormon mission to the Dakota and Montana area. I felt ready to leave home and I felt even more ready to tackle this assignment. I quickly learned that I had plenty to learn. One of my first areas was Wolf Point, MT in the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. I was sent there during the winter months. I thought that I would thrive and bring salvation to the Assiniboine Native People. But this was a foolish thought. A thought that had been shared by many misguided white men of the past. I did not come to bring salvation, I came to be saved. And my salvation came in the form of learning about the importance of community.
I will not sugar coat some of the horrible situations that I saw on the reservation, but no matter how hard life was for the Assiniboine, they never gave up on their families and community. I never met a group of people that cared so much for each other. I never felt that way in my own community. Maybe I was cursed with affluence that my community never had a real reason to be close. But being around the Assiniboine, and feeling accepted by them, gave me the craving for such a community.
Coming back to Utah was, and still is, hard. I do not miss the cold winds of a Montana winter, nor do I long for the deep and heavy snow fall. However, the craving to be apart of a community still lingers within me.