Skip to main content.

This page’s menu:

Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

Thank you once again for your continual letters. I really enjoy receiving and reading them. Not to mention, they usually provide me with a few more things to write about. It is not that I have nothing to write about, but a few more ideas always help.

Anyways, there have been a few interesting things that have happened this week. We did not wash the car on Monday because we were having a car cleanliness competition at Zone Conference. We have these about every 3 months and the winner can change to any car in the Zone. While this is a great incentive to clean the car, there is an unfair advantage to those that have newer cars. Either way, it is very common to take a few hours the day before and totally clean, wash, and wax the car. This was our plan, but it unfortunately was snowing that day. Since we did not want to wash our car while it was snowing, we decided to wash it in the morning before with we left for Zone Conference.

Elder Sorenson and I awoke the next morning and we rushed through the morning routine. We had some ice on the top of the car, but we figured the warm rinse water of the car wash would take care of it. So, we proceeded to wash our car at 7:45 a.m. in weather that was in the low to mid 20's with snow still on the ground. The rinse water was not warm enough to efficiently melt the ice on our car.

So, I suggested we switch to the scrubbing brush that shoots out soap. Sadly, the soap was frozen in the hose that led to the brush. Not discouraged, I turned over the brush and used it (a little above the car, not to scratch it) to scrape off some ice. That worked! Elder Sorenson then sprayed the soapy water over all the car. By the time he had returned to rinse it, a lot of water had frozen to our car. But now, since it was not thick, it just took a little while under the rinse to melt and rinse clean. We then sprayed the light car wax on. Then, we used the spot-free rinse. Since the car was now warm, the water was not freezing. Since our car wash does not have a dryer, we drove up to Fort Smith, AR to air dry the car.

This normally works fine, but driving 65 MPH in cold temperatures created kind of a splotchy ice effect. Basically, it appeared as if we had driven down from Canada in the middle of an ice storm. Since we did not have too much time, our solution to this problem was to park in the sun and hope most of it melted by the time they came to inspect it. Looking around, we were not the only one with icicles hanging down from our car. Though, I think ours had the most ice.

After the inspection, we were informed that it appeared as if we had all driven through a snow storm. Though, we were thanked for our efforts in adverse weather conditions. The winning car was described as "if you want to see a car that looks like it just drove off the lot, look at this one." Surprise, Surprise it was the most recent one to drive off the lot. Plus, it was the Zone Leader's car. That means they had the shortest distance to travel (less drive to get it dirty) and consequently more time to clean it. I estimate this car has about 4,000 miles on it, in comparison to ours with  46,244.

Our car received a "good" general appearance. Since our car had so much ice, they gave us a "?" on both washed and waxed categories, since they could not tell. Our tires were at 32 and 33 PSI, though we had inflated them to the mission standard 35 that morning (the weather and driving probably had something to do with that). Our car coordinator (Elder Scott) told us that 2 vehicles in our Zone had a tire pressure of 55 PSI. So, as you can see I do not recommend buying used mission vehicles, because quite a few missionaries abuse them! (Do you know what it does to drive a car without oil, Elder Robinson?...... Dad).

As you can see, we had quite a bit of fun this morning before Zone Conference. Before I go on to tell you about Zone Conference, I should mention that Elder Sorenson always carries around note cards to write down notes and quotes. First off, we had a normal opening to Zone Conference. I said the opening prayer. Though that is not much of a surprise, our Zone Leader (Elder Beveridge) has had me say a prayer at the past 3 Zone Conference. This is kind of an old tradition from when he was serving adjacent to me in Bartlesville 2nd. Whenever we would visit their apartment on P-day, Elder Beveridge would call on me for each and every prayer. So, when we both were transferred to the Fort Smith zone and he became Zone Leader, he has frequently called on me for prayers. Though, he has not called on me to do both the opening and closing prayers at the same meeting. Still, I enjoy this little tradition going on and luckily I do not think anyone has caught on yet.

We had a few small workshops that we rotated through during Zone Conference. In our workshop on goals, we were talking about how goals should be applicable and reasonable. The Zone Leader teaching the workshop (Elder Chipman) had moved on some and wasn't paying close attention to our District Leader (Elder Powell), who also was not paying close attention. Our District Leader, talking about applicable goals said, "When I'm on a mission, I'm not going to set a goal to find a wife."& To this, the teacher said, "Yeah, our goals should be something attainable." After this, some one said "Ouch" and we all got a little chuckle.

The other big highlight was President Peterson's talk to us. He was playing a video of the Prophet speaking and every once in awhile, he would pause it and add his comments. Though, this was one of those VCRs that would start to play again if it had been paused a little while. It started to play and President Peterson turned around to pause it again. He jokingly commented, "The Prophet is always interrupting my remarks." Elder Sorenson then quickly reached for his quote note cards to which President Peterson responded "No, Elder" motioning Elder Sorenson to put the card away. Elder Sorenson wrote it down anyway. To which President Peterson said something like, I fear when "I'm going to be standing at the judgment, Elder Sorenson is going to come in with his index cards."

Also of note from Zone Conference was that we will now have 2 more items to be giving out to media referrals. One is a pamphlet call "3 Simple ways to become a Happier Family" ( and a video called "Finding Faith in Christ." We are excited to have some new tools, because it is always nice to have something a little different.

Also of interest was that the second and third hours of church was canceled. Not only did it snow Thursday, but Sunday as well. So the weather somewhat hampered church attendance. That is understandable since it was the worst snow since I have been in Poteau.

An exciting part of our week was we got taken out to dinner by Brother Buchanan. He took us to Warehouse Willey's, which seems to be the most happening place for Poteau dining. There is always a crowd there when we drive by. It has a nice atmosphere with tons of old things hanging from the wall and crates that look like they are about fall off overhead shelves. The food was great! It was a little pricey, but well worth it. Elder Sorenson even said that the waitresses were briefly fighting over who would bring me the A-1 sauce. Though, in my mind what we heard them say was a very brief decision making process invoked by the desire to be helpful to the other (and no, I am not just saying that). Either way, it had no bearing on my and Elder Sorenson's liking the restaurant. If I ever end up in Poteau again, it would be a good place to stop for a meal.

Also interesting was yesterday I had my first dinner at the Branch President's (President Ward) home. They have a very large and busy family. Our Branch President was one of the most successful District Attorneys for drug prosecution in the county. However he has been busy training for his new job as a District Judge. Interestingly enough, I believe that it is one of the professions where promotion means a pay cut. Just something to think about.

We had a great dinner there. As Elder Sorenson put it, what made it really great was the family maintained a little bit of "picking" on one another. It made the evening most fun and enjoyable. An example was Sister Ward went into the kitchen to cut the pecan pie. President Ward then whispered to us, "she left it in the oven too long." Sister Ward gave up, and since she hadn't told us what was for dessert she asked "Is ice cream alright?" To that, President Ward promptly responded, "Yes dear, it will go great with the pie you made." Sister Ward paused and then said "Are you sure you want that?", with a kind of puzzled look on her face. We all responded in the affirmative.

President Ward then said loud enough for his wife to hear, "Yeah, we've been having some problems with the oven, sometimes it's 75 ˚ to hot or it is way too cold." So, after Sister Ward dished up the pie, she told us, "just eat the center of the pie." However, yours truly was not satisfied. I earnestly attempted to breakthrough with my fork on the part of a normal pie that you would call the crust. Elder Sorenson suggested that I ask for a knife. Though, Sister Ward then said, "You don't have to eat that Elder." So, to not be rude, I discontinued my quest to penetrate the crust. Either way, the filling in the pecan pie had caramelized. Though, we all enjoyed the pie. It was actually pretty good with ice cream. So, all in all, Sister Ward had fixed a great meal and we all had some good laughs.

Now to respond to some of your quality letters. I am sorry that the last letter or so two has been arriving late. That is sad to hear. I know how much I enjoy receiving your letters each week.

You asked about the name change to "Elder M. Joseph Robinson." There were a few things that inspired it. First, I figured dad could just cover the "M" and claim he wrote it (hee, hee). I also thought it sounded more like a general authority and figured now is one of the few times in my life when I could use it. Mostly though, I was just curious if you would notice and say something about it.

The new movie coming out, "The R.M.", sounds interesting. That is something I will probably have to see after I return. Hopefully, it is as good as "Single Ward." Though, you never know. It is surprising to hear that "The Other Side of Heaven" release date is so far away. We have been told that when it is released, we will probably watch it in a Zone Conference. Which is something we have all been looking forward to. I consider myself lucky for having seen it before my mission.

I am glad to hear that all the cars have been detailed. That is something I wish I could see. Also, I have wondered if professional detailing is something that would turn the old mission cars into car cleanliness competition winners? Though it would probably be a pretty penny to try. Something we don't have as missionaries. So, keep my car looking nice!

We have only heard very little about the Columbia disaster. If you could, I would like to see a list of the crew. All the information we hear is very limited. Our one source for news is a telephone service called Tell-me. They have limited news from the Associated Press, we listen to it every now and then.

Thank you very much for the information about the Sea Base. The news of the new ship is wonderful. I figured that is why they would have to close for such a large construction project. Either way, I am lucky that I am on my mission and not looking for a job. Who knows what the future holds for me job wise?

Elder Sorenson and I have grown a little tired of our normal music. We have started to occasionally listen to the Sing Noel CD again. If you can, it would be greatly appreciated if you could send copies of some other years (I don't need tape copies).

Also, thank you for the Valentine's Day card. I really appreciate it! Though I will not be sending out cards for this holiday. Perhaps because I cannot easily buy them like Christmas Cards. Or, I don't want anyone getting the wrong ideas. Or, I don't think that it is a holiday that missionaries should be sending cards out for. Or perhaps I don't want anyone feeling left out. So, I don't exactly know the reason, but friends should not be expecting Valentine's Day cards. Hopefully this extra long letter will suffice. I am thinking of all of you though!

I miss you all, and as always I send you my best! Take care and Happy Valentines Day! May God bless you.

Elder Mike Robinson