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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

Once again thank you so much for your letters. It is always a joy to hear what is going on at home. By the looks of this letter, you probably have noticed that my new apartment has a typewriter. Actually, we have a fax machine as well. Though, we don't use it, since the ink cartridge or something is worn out. Plus, who would I be sending faxes to anyway? Oh well, typing is faster, I know you enjoy hand written letters more but I have quite a few people to write at the moment. Typing is faster, so I can write more of those people.

This week was not too exciting on the missionary side of things. We have been told to put a lot of effort into sharing the "Finding Faith in Christ" video with members because the commercials will start airing soon and at the very end they say "Call this number of ask your Mormon neighbors." So, we have been informing all the Mormon neighbors about it. Consequently, I know that movie really well now. You should be getting a copy on DVD with the April edition of the Ensign. So, if you want to watch it about 80 times in a row, you might catch up to me. Though, it is a pretty good movie and it has allowed me to meet a lot of the membership here because we have been going to all their homes and sharing the video with them. So, I feel like I am learning a lot of names really quickly. So, I guess having it really is a blessing to me, since I get to meet everyone.

Also of note, I became a "seasoned" missionary this week. We were out chopping wood on Thursday and upon our return I found a tick on me. Luckily, it was just on me and not in me, so it was quick and easy to remove. Still, I guess it is just the start of getting a few more over the course of my mission.

The other thing that kept me on my toes this week is that I got pretty darn sick. Not so sick I had to call the office, but it was still horrible none-the-less. I am better now, but it was not a fun few days.

We heard that Elizabeth Smart was found, and that is wonderful. We did not really get any details, but it is surprising that she was found. Though, my companion didn't even know who they were talking about since he has been out for 20 months. Speaking of which, today is my 8-month mark! No parties planned though, only P-day.

Also interesting is that we heard there was a special on A&E about Mark Hoffman. One of the members was explaining the story to us, and I was correcting him on the details. Sometimes it pays to have read the book.

I think that is about it for Mountain Home news. Wait a second, we had a tire replaced on our car. It was uneventful, simply the tread depth was not sufficient, so we had it replaced at Wal-Mart. Which also happens to carry fish. Bizarre!

Now for a little news from Poteau. If you remember the house I once described with lice, ticks, cockroaches, etc. Adult Protective Services of Oklahoma finally got after the owner. The Branch did a giant on-going service project scheduled the day after I left, to help her clean up. It will take quite a bit of work. Sadly, in my recent letter from the member who is an inmate, I have been informed that his release date has been pushed back to August 29th. He is still remaining positive and says that he has felt the Savior's love strongly, helping him get through it all. I hope that I will be able to remain that positive during the trials of my life.

Mail wise, I have only received mom's postcard from New York forwarded to me. I assume that the weekly letter from transfer week will be forwarded to me shortly. Though, I have enjoyed your weekly letter sent to me in Mountain Home.

Mom's story about airport baggage was quite amusing. I think personally, I would have spent ten minutes and then went down to the hotel restaurant to ask to borrow a knife. I also heard that they have cut the weight limit down to 50 pounds per bag, which is not good. I guess I really did go on my mission at the right time. Plus mom mentioned Dan and his baptisms. Anyways, I wish him lots of luck and I am glad to hear of his success. I should have my 3 baptisms in May (if not sooner).

Also, thank you for the heads up on the new mission president. We were only informed of the name on that Wednesday. When I got mom's letter with the mini-biography on Thursday, I was very pleased. I am very happy that there is no mention of ex-military. I don't think we would need that tight of a ship here.

Dad talked quite a bit about Stake Conference. I wish you lots of luck, but I would also like to describe the Mountain Home Ward Choir a little bit to you. The director is kind of old, and she directs but the pianist isn't really watching her. So, when we have fermata, good luck deciding how long to hold it. However, one of the choir members asked "How loud would you generally like this hymn that we are singing? Mezzo Forte?" Then came the response, "Medium loud would be good, perhaps getting softer to medium piano by the end." We pretty much just try it again with no comments or ideas of things to fix. Also, they are not very good at giving us our notes before we sing our parts, so I am often taking a shot in the dark. I can sing pretty well when my part is clearly defined or I have some awesome singer sitting next to me, so I am just hoping for the best. Also, I keep reminding myself that there are plenty worse choirs in the church. We also sang one of the men's numbers out of the hymn book in four part SATB. Not pretty. Anyways, I guess it is really the sing and the desire to do so that is important. Though, I do greatly miss home and such things as Sing Noel. Perhaps some day I can do that again.

Dad also mentioned his arthritis is a little more recently. I wish you the best of luck with it. One guy in the Poteau Branch had it pretty bad, but it improved. He cited "Coral Calcium" as a miracle drug. So, you might look into that if you desire. Though, I do not endorse or condemn the product, mainly because I don't know too much about it. So, you may or may not want to give that a little research.

I am sorry to hear that my goldfish has passed on. How old do we think it lived to? Either way, it was one old and amazing fish.

Let me end this letter telling you about one of the interesting characters in the Mountain Home Ward. He is the building and key coordinator. He is pretty tough about the rules. He makes each missionary sign for their key. Of course, only one missionary has a key at a time, so each time the Senior Companion changes you have to go in and fill out a sign out sheet. This is not too bad, and I can understand that to an extent.

Last P-day we were at the building and just out of curiosity I checked the classroom doors. They were all locked. I told Elder Stipe that this surprised me because that is against Church policy. (It is because of an incident when someone broke into a church and only stole a thousand or so dollars of electronics from the Library, but had chopped through all of the costly fire doors trying to find more. Fire doors are expensive). Elder Stipe commented that, church policy didn't matter so much, they are breaking the fire code. This guy also had someone come in and screw all the windows shut. So, if you hear of a fire at the Mountain Home building, the news could be quite sad. Oh well, I guess it is just like if you had put a young Mikey in charge of building security, similar measures would be in place. Even though, now I appreciate some of the lower security, because keeping most of the doors unlocked now makes sense to me. Are we afraid someone might easily break into the building and then make off with the folding chairs from an unlocked classroom? I think not. So, I guess I have matured a little in that respect.

Anyways, you should be getting some more film soon. I have one to ship off, and another which is pretty close. I hope you are enjoying them and seeing the sights.

Lastly, thank you Grandma for the card. I really appreciated it and hearing from you. I had heard that Mr. Rogers died, and that was sad. Just another sign of growing up for me I guess. Thank you for the article.

I miss and love you all. Take care and good luck!

Elder Mike Robinson