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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

It has been a pretty slow week. Only 3 baptisms. Just kidding, it has been great with some ups and downs. Something of interest, Elder Green received a birthday package from his sister this past week. It included some black socks (can you ever have enough?), California Avocados (they are costly and not that good here), and some slang flash cards. She said that he's been away so long he is probably speaking "hick" now and needs to get back into the groove of things. They are pretty funny, and it is even helping me learn a little slang here and there. Some things I always wondered about, now I know what they mean.

Tuesday night we did something a little different. Our investigator called us up and we took him out for some all you can eat ribs at Dink's BBQ. It was pretty good, we all really enjoyed it. We then went and bowled one game.

On Wednesday morning we had interviews with President Nielsen. He told me that he had only received one letter to the President from me since we last met and that was from my last area. I reminded him that though the letter was from the last area, I sent it from this one. His great words of advice to me were "your mission is like a fruit, squeeze as much as you can out of it." He also mentioned that I don't have too much longer left. He asked me how the new area was. I told him it felt like "I was home." He was kind of puzzled and I explained how I had served in First Ward. As I left interviews he stopped me and said it looked like my hair was thinning in the back. Elder Green kind of agrees with him. I admit that I cut my hair pretty short this time. I also believe that I found another gray hair or two. So, this week is definitely not a "good hair" week.

I went on exchanges with Elder Hughes (a 6 month missionary from Battle Ground, Washington) to Independence, Kansas. Elder Slatter (who went with Elder Green) told me that we had an exciting day planned. We had a pretty good dinner appointment with a family in Peru, Kansas and they had us moving tons of furniture for them. We exchanged back the next morning. Elder Green let me know that he made Elder Slatter walk a ton (not bike) and didn't go tracting.

Elder Slatter had interviewed our investigators for baptism. The Mission President or one of his counselors was supposed to come up and interview them, but due to busy schedules he authorized Bishop John to perform the interview. That went really well, and Bishop reported back to President Nielsen that the father of the family is the most prepared person he had ever seen for baptism.

Friday we went to the church to fill up the font half way. We saw the people fixing the water heater. After 20 minutes they came and told us that the problem was not what they thought it was and "it can be fixed, but not by tomorrow". So, we filled up the font half way so that it could warm up to room temperature and we turned on the room heaters (which, with church buildings either works overly well or not that well, this time it was the latter). Later that night we returned for the wedding practice. They got someone from First Ward there practicing the music. Since it was a person who is a more accomplished pianist than I am, I just let them take over that responsibility.

We then showed up early on Saturday with the First Ward Elders to boil water and put it in the font. After about 2 1/2 hours of boiling, we concluded that we had not even made a dent on temperature or water level. We concluded that approach was hopeless and helped prepare the church for the wedding. It was a nice little ceremony. We then had a nice little reception in the cultural hall (for the 37 people who came). All went well, and we took a few pictures.

The only bad thing is that our ward mission leader goofed up big time on the programs and there were only about 15 good ones. It was so bad, that Elder Green, and the family, and I all had a hard time getting one for our mementos. The program proceeded well, and we arrived at the baptisms. I baptized the father. I completely submerged him and quite a few people agree. Then as I was pulling him back up his toe popped up. Our ward mission leader then jumped in and said "Do it again." So I did it again in the cold water. then as mother got in, her toe just tapped the water and she was already freezing. She got in and Elder Green did well. For the daughter, he actually picked her up and placed her in the water right where the baptism was to be performed so she didn't have to be wet too long. That went well also, though she too complained about the overly cold winter water. I then gave a talk about the Holy Ghost and received many compliments. We then went to Golden Corral with the family and friends to celebrate (about 17 of us).

In PEC meeting the next day, we talked quite a bit about this coming week"e;s baptism. We are stilling planning for Wednesday's baptism, since the young man has a full leg cast there is a lot of planning involved.

Sunday we confirmed the family members. It was a great experience and the father even cried, and said he felt the spirit like a fountain then and when he took the sacrament for the first time. We received hugs from him, and his wife on the stand. One of the members heard someone comment, "That is what we need more of in the church." We had a very spiritual testimony meeting as well. Pictures are on the way.

Also of interest is that we will be teaching seminary this coming week on Thursday. We are covering 1st Kings 18 - 19. Really interesting is that the teacher will still be there.

That is it for now; I am running out of time. I wish you all the best. I love you so much.

Elder Mike Robinson