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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

The most surprising moment of the week occurred on Saturday, Elder Stipe and I arrived home in the evening to find a message from President Peterson, "Elder Robinson, this is President Peterson returning your call, give me a call at the mission home when you get in." Having not called him, I found that call very strange. I was pondering whether or not to call him and tell him that he must have had the wrong missionary. After a few minutes I called in and got the message "You called about a $300 card and your eyeglasses?" President Peterson responded to my puzzlement by asking the person that wrote the note. We then pieced together the story together.

Thank you for giving me the money on my card to take care of this matter. It was probably not that urgent that it merited Mission Office relay, but thank you anyways. I will look into getting another pair of eyeglasses this week. Hopefully, the Wal-Mart vision center accepts the Wal-Mart gift card.

The exciting missionary story of the week took place on Saturday. We had about fifteen extra minutes in our schedule and we were wondering what we could do to fill the time. Fifteen minutes is such a short amount of time and there is not too much that would be effective in such a short block of time. We decided that it would probably be best to wash the car, since a member has commented that it looked a little dirty (which happens from the dirt roads). So, we were going to spruce up the car a little for Sunday. We pulled into the lot for the carwash and were wasting a little bit of time by looking at some paperwork, etc. when a car pulled in from off the street. It had a flat tire. Out popped a mother and her daughter (who looked about 7).

The mother started heading for a pay phone when we got over there and offered to help her change the tire. She didn't think that she had a donut tire, since it was a new small sports car. She checked the trunk and found the donut. Her daughter had proceeded to the pay phone anyways and called her father on his cell phone.

We changed the tire pretty quickly, it was pretty easy. The mother was commenting that she used to change tires on farm equipment, but then you have a mechanical jack. So, it took us only a minute or two to change this tire and then the husband pulls up, amazed that he had shown up and the situation had already been resolved (that doesn't happen often in life). They tried offering us $5, but we refused. Then they offered us $10 and told us to contribute it to the Church. We still refused, but they kept insisting and we kept refusing. It felt good to just offer some service, and my experience with the Focus helped out. So, this week's car story is not one that happened to me.

Other exciting news was that we had Zone Conference on Thursday. However, Wednesday night we arrived home to a message on our answering machine from our ride, stating that his car broke down. So, we had to drive the 2 hours to Springfield and back in our car. (We probably won't be as actively using the car this week).

It was a nice little meeting in which we received a lot of instruction. We now are officially abandoning the "Set" discussions. So, there will be no more memorizing of discussions for me. However, we will still be memorizing the words found in the discussions and will be focusing on teaching by the Spirit. Though, since preparation is a necessity for teaching by the Spirit, we are doing a lot of intensive study over the discussions. For the next six weeks, we will be leaving the apartment at 10 a.m. (instead of 9:30) so we can have some extra study time to create our own "discussion" outlines.  It is all pretty interesting, but still a lot of work none-the-less. So, in six weeks I should have a pretty intensive outline of what was in the discussions, as well as a lot more scriptures that I feel support the concepts. We all have some work of ahead of us.

President Peterson said that we should take it as a compliment that we are the first generation of missionaries allowed to do this. Though, having the discussions memorized from before, I believe will be pretty valuable to my teaching. So, our certification program has changed quite dramatically. We are also looking forward to seeing "The Other Side of Heaven", in our next Zone Conference. It will be a nice change of pace.

I received your box this week. That was really exciting. Thank you for the wonderful treats, etc. I tried the suit pants on and they fit really well. It is always wonderful to receive a package from home. Now I can eat "Reese's Puffs" instead of "Marshmallow Maties". That is a welcome change. So, they brought back my Reese's cereal. That is great, because they are great! (No pun intended).

I am enjoying myself here, it is very beautiful and the weather is wonderful (at least for now). So, good location, great people, I am doing pretty well. To answer mom's question about the apartment, it is the smallest one I have lived in on my mission thus far. We only have one bedroom, which means we do not have the room to store our bicycles inside. We keep them locked to each other outside and since we are only about a block from the police station and Mountain Home is not a high crime area, our bikes are pretty safe. The apartment is owned by one of the local members, so there might be some kind of discount going on. I believe that the missionaries have lived here for about eleven years now. We even have the Church logo painted on the glass portion of our screen door. Though, the small size of the apartment is going to make it difficult to take some pictures of it.

Mom also asked about service. We don't have a set service every week like we had in Poteau. We do all kinds of manual labor. This week, we planted some trees. Which seemed really easy in comparison to digging the post holes for the kiosk. The previous weeks, we chopped a ton of fire wood (the week I had a tick), and my first week in Mountain Home we burned a couple of huge brush piles that were made by one of the member's who is clearing some land to build a home. The other members helped salvage the wood that could be used as fire wood and Elder Stipe and I burned the non-useable stuff and guarded against it spreading into a "forest fire." Which, it did come close to since Elder Stipe wasn't so great about clearing a fire ring around his piles. So, hopefully this manual labor will help me lose a little weight.

Also, mom asked about our contacts. We have been mainly focusing on showing the "Finding Faith in Christ" video these past few weeks, so we really haven't really acquired any new contacts since I have been here. Though, we have a mother and son who will be baptized (the husband is already a member), when the Bishop feels that he knows them better and they start coming to all 3 hours of church (which they did yesterday.) So, the looks pretty good. We had dinner there Sunday and it was magnificent!

We also have another lady, probably in her late 20's, who has taken five of the discussions. However, her work schedule keeps her busy. She considers herself a member, and even told a co-worker that she was a member when we showed up. We also know that she is on "". So, she is probably looking for some Mormon guy or something. Though, I always think that the best way to find one would to be to come to church. She has come about 3 times in the 4 to 5 months that Elder Stipe has been here.

I guess that about answers all of the questions I have heard thus far. I would like to thank Dad for the family history. It was most enlightening, but it was a little hard to keep it straight with such things as "Grandma", which leaves me questioning, is he still talking about his grandma or my grandma. Still, it was wonderful to read and I really appreciate it.

The last item of business is that someone has a birthday coming soon. So, Happy Birthday, Dad! Just think, quite a while ago, you too were out on a mission. Hopefully, you are enjoying the organ music that I ran across at the Salvation Army. Also, enjoy this complimentary pass-a-long card for the new "Finding Faith in Christ" video (even mom doesn't have one of these). Hopefully, the gifts are not too cheesy, but I am a missionary.

Anyways, I love and miss you all very much. Things are going very well, and I am learning a lot, but it will never be "home." Though, Pumba in the Lion King does define home as "Where your rump rests", which I guess it technically is. Though, there is not too much resting going on in the mission field. Oh well, that was a random thought. So, take care, I love and miss you all!

Elder Mike Robinson