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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

Hopefully you have received the news that I have been transferred. If you have not, my new address is: 1000 S. Main St. #8, Mountain Home, AR 72653. Though I had said the probability of a transfer was low, things escalated on Tuesday & Wednesday.

This past week, I only received a letter from Dad, the bike screw, and one from Marjorie. I will assume that mom's letter from last week will be forwarded to me within the next week. However, it should be noted that our mailman in Poteau told me that due to some changes in the mail forwarding procedure, it might take a little bit longer for the initial forwarding. Though, I am still looking forward to mom's letter. Hopefully mom is feeling better.

Before leaving Poteau, the Salvation Army volunteers threw me a little party with cake and ice cream. It was great, and I am going to miss them. I put in 60 1/4 hours of service while I was in Poteau. They told me that I have been their very best price tag writer. They told me that one of my price tags were so clear, that a customer had actually complimented them on it (a first for the store), in addition to the number of complaints going way down.

Also, I went and visited the family which is investigating and had all 6 discussions. I got some pictures taken with them. They said that they would send me a picture or two from the baptism (which will probably happen in May). One of the member families offered me a steak dinner, if I am ever there again and give them a week's notice. Another member said to send him a copy of my wedding announcement (whenever that is) and he will send me a wedding gift. So, I am going to miss the great people of Poteau.

Transfer day was not too much fun, spending most of it in the back of a Dodge Durango extended cab truck with two other people. However, I had a little more time and room for packing than my last transfer. Still, the drive from Fort Smith, AR to Mount Vernon, MO was long and cramped. However, I did get to see a few old familiar faces on the transfer loop.

Interestingly enough, I now have the companion that I wanted when I left Bartlesville, Elder Stipe. He is from Missoula, Montana and was trained by my friend Elder Beveridge (Fort Smith Zone Leader and Bartlesville 2nd). The reason that I wanted to serve with Elder Stipe was he had the reputation for not speaking much, which would force me to talk more. Anyways, Elder Stipe is still pretty quite but he has come a long way.

The Ward out here seems pretty nice. Though, it will take a little time for me to get adjusted to Ward life again. Everyone is really friendly (in fact, we have a Brother Friend). Quite a few people even know where Mission Viejo is as well, which surprised me. We even have a Sister Robinson here as well. Though, that is her married name from a deceased husband who was adopted. Also, there is another lady from Safford, AZ. However, I cannot remember too much about our family roots from there, so if you get a chance let me know about that (and President Kimball's ties to us).

Anyways, the members seem very friendly and we only have four open days on out dinner calendar this month. So, we are doing pretty well. We just had a new Ward Mission Leader called here. He has been a member since November, so we will have to do some explaining of responsibilities to him. Though, that may be a good thing.

It is interesting to be here in Arkansas now. We shop at Wal-Mart store #11 and the cashier called the pillow that I was buying a "pillar". So, there will be some differences. I had to buy the pillow since the Elder before me took it with him. So, spent 3 nights resting my head on my trench coat. Also, Elder Stipe doesn't buy groceries as a companionship, which is the first time this has happened to me on my mission. The previous Elder ate most of his food before he left, so I have been eating pretty lightly the past few days. Though, I am stocked up not (at a considerable cost). To me, it just makes sense to buy things in larger quantities to save money. Oh well, this is a good experience for me.

The most interesting part of church was our special visitor, Elder Lee. He had just finished his mission on Saturday and his parents had come up to visit this Ward on their way to Nauvoo. Elder Lee had served here about six months ago and had chosen this Ward for his parents to visit. He had not been released as a missionary yet, since that will take place back home. Though, a lot of the Ward suspects that he is interested in one of the girls. This doesn't bother his parents at all, since his parents met while his father was serving as a missionary. It is kind of sad for us to lose Elder Lee. He was the one that had the reputation for being able to do the voice of the man that narrates the "Music and the Spoken Word" as well as general conference. It is quite amusing how everyone has some reputation out here.

Another interesting thing is that Elder Stipe has a GPS unit that he uses to assist the work. It is kind of nice. When something falls through, you can simply plot a map with all the members (active & inactive) around you, so you can quickly see who lives near where you are. Plus, it cuts down on the number of maps we have to carry around. Also, he writes down the coordinates on the ward list so future missionaries may stand a chance at finding someone's house that only has a P.O. Box (pretty common out here.)

More good news, there will be no more Ford Focus stories. We have a Mazda Protegé. Though, I know you were looking forward to more car stories.

Anyways, take care. I love you all and greatly appreciate your support. I wish you the best, and I am looking forward to hearing from you!

Elder Mike Robinson

P.S. We are working hard!