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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

This week was pretty interesting. It all started on Monday (though that is normally when a week starts). Since it was our P-day and Spring Break for the youth in the Ward, we scheduled a paintball game. Which, as you know, was my first experience with it. It was kind of fun, but I don't think that I am a giant fan of it. I have no complaints with it, I am just not thrilled with it.

The most interesting part was that we had two adults take off work to come and play. It was really strange for me when someone yelled, "adults vs. youth". I looked around and realized that I would be on the adult team. That was a weird experience and I believe it is the first time that I have been on the adult team. Still, us old people won 2 out of the 3 matches that we played.

I got two people out in the first game. However, as you know me, I was very cautious the whole game, hiding behind trees, etc. I only fired when it was easy to get someone because I did not want to unnecessarily reveal my position. Also, I brought one of my white handkerchiefs in case I decided to surrender. Though, I really didn't use it.

The last game I had a little courage. I was in a crossfire with someone on the other team. I knew that I had tons of paintballs left because I hadn't fired many. Since my position was known, I could simply keep firing away and it didn't make a difference. Plus, you never know, I have gotten lucky and actually hit them. Then, the inevitable happened, my gun jammed. Since this was my first experience, I didn't know how to un-jam this gun. I tried the simple things I had seen a few other people do but wasn't working. I decided that I could not make it out of bounds without getting hit by the person I was in the crossfire with. Plus, I didn't want my opponent to quickly advance on my teammates. So, I sat there and just fired my gun every now and then (even though nothing was coming out) to give the appearance that I was still a threat to my opponent. After about a minute, the person realized that I wasn't firing anything, so he simply advanced on me and I surrendered to him. I didn't stand a chance without a working gun. Though, I didn't use my handkerchief.

It was a nice change of pace from missionary life. Luckily I didn't get hit by any paintballs. After this rousing round of paintball, we threw on our shirts and ties and headed to the Bishop's house for dinner. Since the Bishop's son had played, they were amazed at how fast we had got there. After dinner, we joined their family for Family Home Evening and we played a game of croquet. I lost at croquet. It was still an interesting contrast in activities for one day.

Tuesday, I went to get my new glasses at Wal-Mart (we did it on Tuesday since we were in a crunch for time on Monday). I tried to make my decisions and get out of there rather quickly. I was amazed when the guy told me it would take 5 to 7 days for me to get them. I know Lenscrafter's one hour service is not normal, but I was expecting about 3 days. So, hopefully they will call me about them soon. Hopefully, I will really like the glasses, and I think I will, I just wasn't the happiest about having to wait. I will let you know when I get them.

Also, thank you for calling the mission home and letting me know. That was probably the best thing to do. It let me get a little jump on the 5 to 7 days. Plus you got to talk to President Peterson's future son-in-law. Sister Peterson was not at Zone Conference last week because she was planning for the wedding. Though, President Peterson assured us that she would have preferred the far less stressful Zone Conference talk to doing the wedding planning.

I guess that I should also tell you what we did to celebrate Dad's birthday, we had a baptism. Yes, as unbelievable as it may sound, in less than 3 1/2 hours, we planned and carried out a baptism. One of the families in the Ward is moving to Vista, CA. We were having lunch at the grandparents (who are staying in Mountain Home) the day before the family was moving. The conversation turned to their granddaughter (who is about 8 & 3 months, so not a convert baptism) and the fact that she was not yet baptized. Jokingly, Elder Stipe said, well that can be taken care of tonight. Everyone seemed to like that idea even though it was far fetched.

The girl had already been interviewed for baptism, it just had not been done yet. So, they got on the phone and called the Bishop and we got the okay to fill the baptismal font. We helped them come up with a little program and it went well. Elder Stipe and I were both chuckling the whole time, finding it hard to believe that it was arranged on such short notice. Though, we felt bad for our Bishop who normally likes a lot of advanced notice about such things.

So, you can see we had a nice little celebration on Dad's birthday. Though, I guess that means that I have to apologize to Mom for not having one on her birthday. Sorry, but I don't control those things.

The other excitement of the week came on Wednesday, after District Meeting. A young man from the Ward gave us a ride to Harrison for District Meeting and we were to help him set the portable stage in the cultural hall. His mom had the whole thing arranged, we were to stop by the building coordinator's after we got back and get the key to the outside storage shed where the stage was. Well, we stopped by and the guy was not home. Since we don't have an entire day to be on call to setup the stage, we decided to get resourceful. The Ward Clerk lives just across the street from the church, so we tried there. He wasn't home, but his son was willing to loan two missionaries the key to the clerk's office. We got into the clerk's office and got into the master key cabinet (which I told you about) and got into the outside shed.

We pulled the stage out and set it up inside. We then locked everything back up. Then the building coordinator pulls up and unlocks the shed as we are walking up to talk to him. He looks in and says "The stage is not there!" The young man we were with explained that we had already gotten it and set it up. Then came a barrage of questions as to how we infiltrated the ultra-secure shed. The youth explained it to him and he let out a big sigh. He left, and we were surprised how well he took it. We returned the keys and everything was alright.

Also, I assume that you got your copy of "Finding Faith in Christ" by now. Make sure you hold onto it, so I can keep it with my mission stuff. Though, do enjoy watching it. We will probably be returning to more normal missionary work now that most members have a copy.

Well, that has been about all of the excitement of our week. I received Mom's mid-week card. We also received a slip to go pick up a package. Since we received it Saturday afternoon, we will have to wait until later today to pick it up. So, look forward to next week's exciting letter when I confirm it was the package you sent me and that it is alright. I know that the suspense is killing you. Thank you in advance for sending me some things.

Also, congratulate Jared on his work and desire to serve a mission. It is evident to me that I could have never realized all the possible changes that can occur, if I had not been out here. Still, I only think I am beginning to realize them. So, keep working hard and try to reach your goals. Also, tell him belated Happy Birthday. I hope he enjoys passing the sacrament.

Thank you Dad for informing me of the Consumer Reports low rating of the Ford Focus. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one. Though, I do believe that mine was probably worse than most.

The information that Mom included about the new BYU President was most unexpected. I was kind of hoping that President Bateman would still be there when I got back. Plus, I always wonder how they can pick someone who went to the "U" for such a position. Oh well, hopefully he does a good job.

Also, thank you for sending a copy of the old letter that I never received, it is comforting to know you are saving them. However, it also makes me wonder what is happening with our Post Office.

Anyways, to wrap it up ... I love you all and I hope that Dad had a great birthday! Take care and I will send you another letter next week.

Elder Mike Robinson