Teacher Brings Back Language Skills and Life Lessons From Russia

John Park

Mickey+Reynolds+as+serves+in+a+mission+trip+to+Yekaterinburg+Russia.+He+helped+in+schools%2C+orphanages%2C+churches+and+hospital+during+his+stay+as+a+missionary.
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Teacher Brings Back Language Skills and Life Lessons From Russia

Mickey Reynolds as serves in a mission trip to Yekaterinburg Russia. He helped in schools, orphanages, churches and hospital during his stay as a missionary.

Mickey Reynolds as serves in a mission trip to Yekaterinburg Russia. He helped in schools, orphanages, churches and hospital during his stay as a missionary.

Photo By Mickey Reynolds

Mickey Reynolds as serves in a mission trip to Yekaterinburg Russia. He helped in schools, orphanages, churches and hospital during his stay as a missionary.

Photo By Mickey Reynolds

Photo By Mickey Reynolds

Mickey Reynolds as serves in a mission trip to Yekaterinburg Russia. He helped in schools, orphanages, churches and hospital during his stay as a missionary.

John Park, Staff Writer

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     Paired up with a fellow American, he walked down the busy street into the store. Reading out the label, “zhir”, he grabs the supposed cheese and checks out. As he gets home with his missionary partner, they began making tacos. After the first bite, they both gag in disgust. Realizing their mistake in confusing “zhir” the Russian word for lard for “syr” the Russian word for cheese, they ditch the idea of tacos.

     Coach Mickey Reynolds was involved in a mission trip to Yekaterinburg, Russia and a few other cities on the western edge of Siberia from February of 2007 to March of 2009. This was a mission trip with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. With the language skills he learned while on the mission, Reynolds hopes to be able to offer Russian language classes as an option at LHS in the future.

     “[Once] I decided I wanted to serve on a mission and so I submitted my paperwork and asked to become part of the ministry,” Reynolds said. “Then they decided where they [needed] me to be, and so they offered me the opportunity to go to Russia and I accepted it.”

     Reynolds had to be able to interact with the people of Russia so he was assigned to visit and learn at the church’s language center. There he was given the opportunity to be taught by real college professors.

     “So once [I] signed up for the ministry and got involved in the missionary work, if you’re going to learn a foreign language, we actually [had] a language center were [I] could study and learn, “ Reynolds said. “and so I did that for three months with just immersive study of the language, then once I moved there it was on me to really study myself and the best language development came when I just started interacting with other people.”

     Once he was in Russia it took him a total of eight months to feel completely comfortable speaking the language with native speakers.

     Reynolds left with a group of eight different people in America all ranging from different areas of the United States including Minnesota, Colorado, Utah and Texas. Once his missionary group was in Russia though, they met up with missionaries from Eastern Europe as well.

     “Everyday was different, something new,” Reynolds said. “Like on a Sunday, we’re at the church for most of the day. Other times we’re out meeting people who want to learn about our church. Some nights we had our English club where we [taught] people English, and some days we would be at schools or orphanages doing different service projects.”

     Reynolds mainly served in Yekaterinburg, Russia, located on the Iset River east of the Ural Mountains. He also served in other cities on the western side of Siberia. Reynolds has also been on various different mission trips to Sweden and Kazakhstan, which were both much shorter mission trips both lasting for less than a month.

     “I would just encourage anyone, whether it’s missionary work or just career choices,” Reynolds said. “[Really] any chance you get in your high school or academic career when you get a chance to go visit another country for a significant period of time it’s gonna open up your mind and your thinking a whole lot.”

I would just encourage anyone, whether it’s missionary work or just career choices. [Really] any chance you get in your high school or academic career when you get a chance to go visit another country for a significant period of time it’s gonna open up your mind and your thinking a whole lot.”

— Mickey Reynolds

     Once he had returned home from the trip Reynolds continued to major in Russian and then worked in the translation industry for about three and a half years. Once his kids are grown and out of the house, he has plans for him and his wife to travel around the world and even travel back to Russia.

     “You get to see how other people live and how blessed we are as Americans versus what other people go through in other countries every day,” Reynolds said. “[Seeing people] who live in poverty and who don’t have access to education and all the things that we’re blessed with in America so any chance you get [to visit other countries, mission trip or otherwise,] I would highly recommend it.”