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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

It has been a pretty eventful week. Not that exciting, but we did have some good things happen. We also had some pretty good dinner appointments, but that is beside the point.

A week ago Sunday, an older member of our ward who was battling congestive heart failure for 7 years passed away. She received a blessing, the sacrament, and her visiting teachers mere hours before she passed away. She was well liked among the ward, she had quite a few jobs and was a secretary at Conoco Phillips for about 37 years. She had quite the list of accomplishments. She told everyone that she wanted to rest, and everyone knew that she meant the final time. She was still very sharp at the time, only the body was going out. Since she knew it was coming, she had been surrounded by family.

The funeral was Wednesday at 2:00 (my first mission funeral). It went really well, and the family seemed to think it was a good ceremony. One commented, "Simple, but very dignified." The family was pretty much not members, but they seemed to think it went well. The grandchildren got up and gave a few comments, apparently Grandma was awesome at scrabble, bowling, and she really enjoyed Wheel of Fortune. One commented that Grandma would go on a trip with them after graduating from high school or college. She went to Hawaii with grandma and another relative who graduated about the same time. She said it was embarrassing, there she was 17 and her grandmother looked better in her swimsuit at 69. Overall, it was a good ceremony and we took down the overflow chairs and walked home.

Tuesday morning Elder Green asked me to speak at district meeting and give a spiritual thought. I decided to look up the scriptural reference for "Nearer my God to Thee" and see who could guess the song. It was guessed rather quickly, and then I asked if anyone knew any historical significance to the song. A long pause and nothing. Elder Green then jokingly said "well, they played it in the movie Titanic". He was greatly surprised when I started off explaining more about the Titanic and the disaster. I of course talked about the band and their heroism as well, something that the hymn was really about. It was a pretty good thought.

Saturday we once again worked on our recent convert's house. It is going really well and it appears we are almost ready for sheet rock. Maybe in the next week or two. Anyways, we framed some windows and they look really nice. We corrected some door frames, plugged some small holes with silicon in the roof, and worked on the drive way a little bit. They bought about $400 worth of rock for the drive way (he didn't have to pay to transport it, since he could use his work dump truck)! Still, the ground is very damp and you sink in it. Hopefully, we will get it worked out a little better.

The excitement of Saturday was working on the Back Hoe. Yep, your son now knows how to run a back hoe. I bet you never guessed you would see the day. He gave us a little bit of time to dig on our own. We were far enough from the house not near anything, so there was no real risk of anything. They are amazingly easy to use and much more responsive when you drive them than you would expect. Still, it feels weird to be moving that big piece of equipment. We were using a caterpillar 420D IT.

Today is the first official day of non-suit season!!! Celebrate with me! Anyways, there will be no more suit seasons on the mission, and I have taken my suit in for dry cleaning. Actually, a member who works at the dry cleaners is taking it in for me. But anyways, hopefully it looks better when it's done. It's been a little while since it was cleaned.

Let's see there have been a few things I have forgotten to mention in my past letters. First off about a week ago Elder Green and I were in the Wendy's drive through. The car in front of us went forward and then backed up. It apparently hit the car in front of it. The driver of the car that got hit looked pretty mad. He gets out and looks at his bumper. Elder Green and I can't see anything, didn't hear anything, and didn't even know that they had collided. The guy is still pretty mad and pulls off to the side and sits there. The other driver gets their food from the drive through and pulls over to the side. Then the cops pull up. Anyways, out of the cop car comes two women cops. Elder Green and I kind of laugh, because one of the drivers looked like a little punk kid, and we both doubted he would be responsive to authority, especially women cops. Anyways, we get out of there pretty soon with our food. It seemed pretty dumb to call the cops for a 1 MPH collision in the drive through. I know that back home there wouldn't have been enough damage for a police report.

Another interesting thing that we have seen was some land with tons of horses. Our convert explained to us that they are all government horses. He explained that out in places like Utah the government determines how many horses the land can naturally support and since the horses are held dear by Native Americans they cannot kill any that exceed that number. However, they do try to sell the extra horses cheaply, but not many people want wild horses. So, they transport the older ones to land out here (Kind of like an old folk's home for horses). Anyways, the land owner just has to provide the land and keep the fences in good shape. The government provides the hay and other horse necessities as well as pays the land owner $3 a day. There is a guy making about $21,000 every day just from having horses sit on his property. He has hired one hand to take care of all the work. It sounds like another way the government spends money uselessly since they are just waiting for the horses to die. Though, I am sure the land owner really enjoys the business. Apparently this is done quite a bit.

I guess that is about it for now. Things are going pretty well. We have interviews with President Nielsen on Wednesday morning. Elder Green has to do another baptismal interview for some children in Independence.

Hopefully all is well at home. Keep up all that you do, I greatly appreciate it all. Take care, and stay well. I miss you.

Elder Mike Robinson