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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

This week has been pretty slow. On Tuesday and Wednesday the cars were "grounded. " The snow was just bad enough to prevent us from driving. So, we really could not leave the apartment those days. Mission policy would allow us to get a ride from a member under the conditions, but no members were readily available. However, I do wonder why having a third person there makes all the difference. We assume that they must think that we are not endangering the mission car, so it is acceptable. But why have one more person out in the adverse weather? Oh well, we survived it. However, we felt as if we had been cooped up to long. It was thrilling to get back to work on Thursday.

We took a real quick trip to see the Spiro Mounds this week. The Spiro Mounds is a group of about 12 dirt mounds containing remnants of an Indian culture that lived there from 850 - 1450 A.D. There are some nice artifacts, but not too many. However, it was nice to see and take a few pictures. There was a lot of interesting history behind it.

Another excitement of the week came on Friday. Our District Leader was telling us about his Thursday, during district meeting. It involved pulling off the road a little only to get their car (a Ford Escort) stuck in the mud. He told us of how his companion and he got very muddy trying to drive and push it out of the small ditch of mud they had gotten into. Anyways, they used some large rocks for traction and eventually got out. They then went and rinsed the car off and continued to work even though they were pretty muddy. He expressed how he felt that the Lord had blessed them the rest of the day for their efforts. It was a nice little story.

Following district meeting, I went on an exchange to Greenwood, AR with Elder Mitchell (our DL's companion). That day was Elder Mitchell's 2 year mark and he goes home March 8th. He is a nice guy and I have enjoyed previous exchanges with him. Anyways, we drove out to help these less active who were moving to their other house for a few months. The plan was that we would help them box up some things and then have dinner with them. Well, we drove and turned on to the long driveway to their home. Elder Mitchell then looked at the cars that were parked outside their home. Elder Mitchell said, "They are not home."

In an effort to save time and miles (which their car was short on), I asked Elder Mitchell if I should continue or just turn around there. He responded indifferently, so I took a quick glance around and began to turn around on the driveway. I pulled off the driveway onto the surrounding dirt to complete the large U-turn. Though this ground appeared very solid, right below the top layer was a lot of mud. Needless to say, we got stuck. Looking at the situation, we concluded that a rear wheel drive vehicle would not have been stick in this situation.

Elder Mitchell got out and tried to push as I attempted to go in reverse. That only resulted in flying mud. We then tried using rocks and boards for traction, but our efforts were in vain. After asking if it was possible the family might return later and if there were any other members that lived near by, I realized that nothing short of a miracle would get us back on the road soon.

The miracle then occurred. The next door neighbor had seen us out struggling in the mud. He pulled up in his large pickup truck and informed us that we were "overdressed" to be playing in the mud. He saw the Oklahoma license plate on the car and said "ah... I see why this happened." We promptly replied that neither of us was from Oklahoma. He must have assumed we were from Arkansas, because he did not ask us any further questions about where we were from. Either way, I don't think my telling him that I was from California would have helped anything. We had to jerry-rig the chain he brought to attach to the car, because the holes used for towing were too small. Anyways, he helped pull us out of the ditch with his truck and we thanked him. I got quite a few pictures of the situation.

After being pulled out, we tried to straighten up the mud on the side of the driveway. We then proceeded to drive to a car wash. Since this had happened the day before, this was the second day in a row that this car had been washed.

Then we went to pickup Elder Mitchell's dry cleaned suit that he had taken in the day before because it had gotten muddy. As the lady handed it to him, Elder Mitchell responded "I will be back very soon" (to drop off the suit he had on). The lady asked him why and he explained the whole situation. She politely suggested, "Perhaps you should just pray harder or something."

In addition to all this, all of the appointments fell through for this exchange. Elder Mitchell was upset because this was the second day in a row all this had happened to him. So, he offered to take me to the local Chinese restaurant for dinner in celebration of his two year mark. I enjoyed myself and thanked him of course. So, I guess the real excitement is that this week was that my car trouble did not involve the Focus. Don't worry though, we have to take the Focus in this week for the second part of the factory recall. So I may just have another Focus story coming this week.

I am glad to hear that you both enjoyed your mini-vacation. I will have to take one of those some day. Also, it is wonderful to hear that the kiosk is still standing tall. Thank you for the pictures. It sounds like you saw a few food movies too. Hopefully you are still maintaining a list of good ones for me.

Dad mentioned that "clean" is the watch word for now at home, for the visitors from mom's work. He also said "I wish you could participate." Let me remind you that if I was not on a mission, I would be at college. Therefore, I would still escape the house cleaning. Though, I would have to deal with the monthly cleaning checks in the dorms. However, you know that I always had perfect 10's on those.

Mom brought up the possibility of being transferred. It now appears even less likely that will happen. It is still a possibility, but not likely. I will let you know though as soon as I hear. Don't worry about sending things to my current address, I will fill out a change of address form if I am transferred.

Once again I would like to thank you for your continued letters, They have been arriving later in the week. Letters that you send to me that are post-marked for a Monday are arriving on Friday. This not bad, but things from Grandma are arriving sooner. For the past two weeks I have received things from her on Friday along with your mail. The big difference is that her correspondence is post-marked on Wednesday. So, go figure what is going on with the postal service.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy the two rolls of film that I sent home. Take care, I love and miss you!

Elder Mike Robinson