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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

It has been a pretty interesting week. It was pretty warm this whole past week, and then suddenly the temperature dropped on Sunday. So, I may have to bust out the summer clothes yet. Though, we have the car this week (it's a car share with a Red 2003 Chevy Malibu) so that should be nice. Anyways, we started the week off on Tuesday with District Meeting. Elder Slatter is the district leader (yes, my former companion.)

On New Years Eve, we went to a members house had a little food and played a few games. I won at the game Pit, with a score of 240, with second place at 90. It is somewhat of a stock market game. Though, I was about the worst player in the stand on one leg, bend over, and pick up a progressively smaller paper bag with your teeth game. However, I put the bag on top of things and competed, because they never specified it had to be on the floor. We then went home and waited out the night. We were up for the big 2003 - 2004 turnover. Though, I don't think that I have ever done anything too interesting for New Years Eve.

We woke up New Years Day to a phone call. The person told us that there was going to be a wedding at the church, with a lot of non-members and food. So, we decided to go. We showed up and someone asked the Bishop if there were any pianists there. The Bishop remembered hearing me play one day, and pointed over at me. So, I have played at my first wedding now. I guess that makes me somewhat more accomplished. Anyways, I just played a few of the family songs in the hymn book. I guess I will have to work on the Wedding March some day. Though, there is a bit of time to practice here. The wedding however was a rather small event, since both of them had been married before. Food prep, ceremony, reception, and clean-up took just under 2 hours. I personally hope that my wedding some day will be a bigger deal. Elder Green got asked to give the opening prayer.

Saturday Morning, President Nielsen showed up unannounced at our door around 9:15 a.m. He banged on the door repetitively. However, we had left at around 9 a.m. He was with the APs bringing some new beds to 1st Ward and he decided to stop by and see us first. So, President called and left us a message on our phone.

We returned President's call that night. We didn't believe it was him, it certainly did not sound like him, though the words he used seemed to fit. He thought that we were sleeping in since the door was locked (strange for a missionary apartment), the lights were off, and the curtains closed. Elder Green reminded him that we were from California and a little bit more security minded. He asked us why the blinds were closed then. We told him just because we are gone we don't need people looking at our stuff.

Anyways, we had left at 9 a.m. to help our investigator family with their house. They are building in 1st Ward, but we are helping them. This time we installed some insulation. Since we didn't know what we were doing, neither Elder Green nor I wore long sleeved shirts. Elder Green put most of it up, and had some itching and terrible coughing. I cut most of it to length, and really didn't have much of an itch, which greatly surprised Elder Green. From my experience with insulation, I guess that I am not as bothered by it as most people, which I am truly thankful for. We also patched some holes in the roof. My solution was to put some silicon in the holes. However, the owner said the first bad hail storm would wash the silicon out. So, he had us trying to screw holes into the rough, and then put a board below the roof to screw into. It was quite interesting since I was running all over the room trying to figure out where Elder Green was drilling, so I could place a block under it. We had to communicate a lot by yelling, even over a saw that others were using.

We had a pretty good Sacrament meeting. There were a few pretty good testimonies, but most I cannot remember. Elder Green told me of a time when he was serving with an Elder Hill. Apparently the Bishop there found it very funny to sing There is A Green Hill Far Away, every Sunday. I didn't even think of that one. Anyways, Elder Green got up and bore his testimony that if it wasn't for his home teachers he never would have gone on a mission. I was touched and got up and shared how Ron Pierce came for 9 years, and was instrumental in our return to church. A lot of people thanked us for sharing them. One lady was happy that we told the youth that we weren't perfect life long members, and that it takes a lot to get on a mission. The Elders Quorum President enjoyed our testimonies, but said we stole his first idea for what the lesson was going to be on. Apparently, he didn't want to try topping it. Either way, I think Elder Green & I are very thankful for home teachers.

We also passed our dinner calendar around on Sunday; all but 3 days left in the month were filled (One of which is Grandma's birthday). We also went to Choir practice. It went well, but it is interesting not to be singing with the person accompanying you (he is out of town). I got complimented on being a good singer as well. But really, it was only because I counted out a rhythm that none of the other basses did, and hit the notes loudly & clearly. Though, the Bartlesville Wards have a lot more musical talent than anywhere else I have served. The accompanist we have has studied some with the Tabernacle.

I just sent home 2 rolls of film, and some checks for cashing. Please let me know that you received these along with the package I sent from Miami. Also interesting was last week after sending my e-mail I met one of our old investigators from when I was trained. He was dropped because he is really busy (and he is one of the few people I believe that to be true.) He was nice and asked about Elder Marshall.

It was very pleasing to hear about the feedback on Dad's CD. I find it interesting that you got responses form Brothers Christiansen & Longhurst. It is funny, because growing up in our house they almost seem like celebrities and to get letters from them an unbelievable honor. Though, the organ world probably has a lot nicer people who are well known than in other areas of interest. Congratulations Dad, you truly deserve all the praise!

Mom mentioned her experience with the professor for her tic-tac-toe move program. It is interesting how that goes. I had an experience in the opposite. When I was in my first CS class at BYU, I come in with some code and show the TA how it runs. He reviews my code and says, "Finally, someone that thought a bit about it and did it the way I would have." Apparently, no one put a bunch of thought into a simple program. It was interesting all the rest of the semester I head people complain that he was the hardest TA there. Personally, I walked in, he must have remembered who I was and I got signed off really easily on all the rest of my projects for the semester. So, there are different ways how that situation can go.

Anyways, I think that is about it for now. Elder Green & I are doing really well. It is fun to be with someone that thinks somewhat like me. Take care, and I hope grandma is doing better.

One Week till my 21st B-Day!!! Yeah. Oh yeah, forgot to mention President Nielsen scheduled a 5 hour Zone Conference that day. So, Tuesday will be our P-day next week. So, sadly my B-day is not P-Day. Luckily, we have a dinner appointment though. I doubt we will tell them it's my birthday however. We shall see. Almost to my 3/4 way mark. January is a great month! Miss you!

Elder Mike Robinson