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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

Well yet again I typed most of my letter and then the computer stopped responding. However, this is one of the few times that I blame the computer. My window just disappeared and I couldn't Alt+Tab to get to it. Elder Nelson had a similar experience at the same time, so the systems here in the Mena library aren't that good. Plus, it's not laid out to be comfortable when typing, so it's much harder to do than in other locations.

Anyways, greetings from Mena, Arkansas. Since you asked it is pronounced Me-Nah. It is a rather small town in comparison to Bartlesville. Though there is a Wal-Mart Supercenter, they take advantage of the fact that they are the only place around. Consequently they do not cover some of the more generic products that have less mark-up than the name brand. I have already had a problem or two with that. So, it might be quite the expensive grocery transfer. Especially considering it is a small branch with few dinner appointments. The last Branch President said the missionaries could only be over if there was an investigator. That of course kills dinners in a branch. Even though, Stake Presidents had told President Nielsen we should be getting fed 7 nights a week. Anyways, we have 3 this week, one of which has already canceled. Apparently, it is time for me to try a bigger hand at cooking. Bartlesville only had 3 empty nights in all of June, which we worked up wasn't that good when I got there.

Elder Nelson is my companion here. He is the second oldest of 6 children. He is from American Fork, UT and went to college for a year at Southern Utah University. Our birthdays are really close, since he was born January 7th, 1983. He towers over me being 6'2" or 6'3". That is not that tall, I am just used to short companions. Interesting thing is that he goes home six weeks after I do. He also was just with another missionary who ended his mission in Mena, Elder Lynn. Now he will end mine and then his own. That has got to be tough. Anyways, he seems to be a great guy. He was a runner back in High School, so we definitely don't have that in common, but it should be a good transfer.

We are driving around a white 2004 Toyota Corolla, since mom is always curious. Our area is big and we don't have too many miles. I was aware it was a car area before I sent my bike home. And luckily, Elder Lynn just left his bike. So, I have something to ride whenever we decide to get some exercise.

Church was kind of interesting. The Stake President showed up and sat in the back. Although, he had to leave early due to some family reunion responsibilities. He had a lot of his family there, filling up the church. It looks to be quite a small branch with a big building. The Stake Patriarch spoke as well as a high councilman. The Stake Patriarch mentioned a time he did laundry on Sunday and his garments were destroyed. Not a piece larger than a quarter. He took the message as do not do laundry on Sunday. However, those of us in the back took it a step further...don't drink the water. Gospel Principles is taught by a man who sells satellite TV for a living.

Good news is that we were approached on Sunday and asked to teach two 8 and 10 year old girls. So, we are likely to have a baptism. In fact, we had 3 non-members (over 8) at church if you were counting numbers as we used to do. We have one lady who is dating an inactive who is responding very positively to the church. Not too much else going on.

It was a little challenging leaving Bartlesville. I really liked it there. It was hard saying good bye to our convert family, they are really awesome. Though, I am positive we will stay in touch. Good news is that Elder Chester Green, I believe was made senior companion and Elder John Green would now be home (in Oregon with his parents). The hard part was packing realizing I would pack, unpack...and then pack again in six weeks. I am hoping my baggage is fairly close to fifty pounds but I do not know. We shall see. I got to go over the bridge that the barge crashed into over 2 years ago on the transfer loop. That was kind of interesting.

That is pretty much about it for now. Things are going pretty well. We have Elder Oveson coming out to the mission this week. I will see him on Wednesday. A week later I will be going on exchanges to Poteau and seeing a few familiar faces (including those at the Salvation Army). So, we will be keeping pretty busy.

Anyways, I hope you are all doing well and I wish you the best. I truly miss you, and it's hard to believe it is almost done and that I am one of the oldest missionaries out here. Best wishes to you and I love you a lot. Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Elder Mike Robinson