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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Parents,

I hope you are doing well, once again. It is always a joy to receive your letters and hear from you.

First off, let me begin with the excitement of the week. Your 19 year old, stellar example of the perfect son (okay, maybe not quite that good) went to prison this week. Luckily, they let us walk straight out the front gate after a couple of hours. As you may (or may not) have guessed, your son did nothing wrong. Though I was walking around quite a few inmates. It wasn't too scary, considering it was Oklahoma's most minimum security prison (the guards don't have guns, the fence is wooden and about 3 to 4 feet high). It is where they send the exemplary inmates who are almost done with their sentence. If an inmate attempts an escape over the small fence, it is a mandatory minimum of an additional 20 years of incarceration.

Anyways, I will explain why we were there... so you don't think we are trying to teach people who cannot run away from us. We went to visit an ex-communicated member who is there. He was an active member of the church. His circumstances of being in prison are most interesting, there was no physical evidence yet he was convicted and sentenced to 3 years...which he doesn't want to appeal, since the maximum punishment is life.

I learned most of the facts from a member in the Branch who looked into it. I am not saying the man is totally innocent, but with the lack of evidence, lenient prison term, and meeting the man you can tell he isn't quite guilty of what he was accused of. Though he may have done something wrong. Either way, I guess the message is to be very careful in life (even around members of the Church). He was a nice guy to meet and the good news is that being in jail gave him enough time to read the entire standard works.

Let me thank dad for the inspirational dinner appointment story. Hopefully, I won't see anything like that on my mission. Dad also asked about the chapel. It is a real chapel (small one), but it looks more like an office building. It has an old Hammond organ, though no one plays it.

Now let me tell you about the Poteau building expansion scheduled to begin in February. Salt Lake requires 125+ people to attend Sacrament meeting for 3 months straight before they will expand. Poteau usually has 60 - 70, and it is crowded. The first counselor decided to get a friend who is a fire marshal to determine what the maximum occupancy of it was. It is 55. So, they got it in writing and lo and behold Salt Lake approved the expansion. We wanted a nicer expansion (such as a baptismal font), but you must be 35+ miles from the stake center and we are only 32. When they mentioned finding a new plot of land, they agreed for that upgrade as well. I find the little technicalities amusing.

We cover a few neighboring cities such as Wister, Spiro, Monroe, Heavener, etc... My new apartment is a little bigger than the Bartlesville one, though I miss the Bartlesville one and Elder Marshall. The weather here is varying, one day it's 40 degrees, the next it's 70. So needless to say, each day is different. We are required to wear our suits now (Nov. 1st to Mar. 1st). Also of interest is our Branch mission fund is $4,000. They plan to help the young men going out in the next couple of years.

Anyways, I wish you the best. Send Grandma my love. Take care (Happy Thanksgiving).

Elder Robinson