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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

Hopefully you are doing pretty well. I am doing great! Though Mountain Home seemed to be a great area, we have some good things going on here. Though one of the members corrected me when I said was transferred to Salem. He said the appropriate word is "exiled." Which seems pretty fitting, I doubt you can get any further from Tulsa. Another member added that this area had been a "punishment area." So, I guess it is just another one of my typical assignments. Though, we seem to have quite a bit of member support for such a small branch. Plus, unlike Mountain Home we have a master key to the building (that is a big sign of member trust).

Mom mentioned the Wal-Mart Super Center in her letter. Elder Ricks and I both agree that this is the smallest "Super Center" that we have seen. Rumor has it that the town fathers have limited the size of the Wal-Mart. Though, it is larger than the Wal-Mart Express in Filippin, AR.

It might be of interest to dad that our Branch mission leader is a piano tuner. So, we have some pretty good accompaniment for our Branch. Plus, it is nice to hear him play when we go over to see him.

We had a pretty funny experience this week. Elder Ricks and I went out looking for a place to do service. We went to the community center and Elder Ricks said something like, "We are missionaries for our church and we are looking for a place where we can do service regularly." The lady responded, "What?" Elder Ricks then repeated something similar and the lady responded, "I don't understand." Consequently we went back and forth for a little while. Finally, another lady jumped in and said that they had no service needs. After leaving we reflected on what we said and we believe the lady might have thought that we wanted to hold "church services" there. Oh well, I guess it is just another instance of a missionary understanding.

Later that day, we did find a place to do service. We are helping out at the Salem Senior Center by helping with the food preparation. So, I got a free baseball cap that reads "Senior Center Supporter" to keep my hair away from the food.

Another fun experience this week! I got to put on a bright orange vest and latex gloves while carrying a bright blue bag. In case you haven't guessed, I was cleaning America's highways. This activity had nothing to do with last week's ride in a police car. We were cleaning the small stretch (.8 mile) that the Branch "adopted." I got a few pictures so don't worry, you will get to see my very fashionable outfit.

Also of interest, yesterday was Elder Ricks' 20th birthday. Some members got him some small gifts. Plus, we have a cake in the refrigerator! In fact, we've eaten pretty well this past week.

Since we are a small Branch, we get to help out with Scouts. Elder Ricks is an Eagle with 1 palm, so we really enjoy helping out. Though, there are not very many boys. Plus, we had 5 minutes notice to teach the youth Sunday School class. The Branch President was sitting in our class, which made me a little nervous, but it went well. One of the youth even commented that our thrown together lesson on "Faith" looked like we had spent some time preparing. I really enjoyed it!

Some information about the Mother's Day phone call. I have re-charged my phone card. Our church time is 10:00 to 1:00 CST. What time do you go to Church, I don't remember? Let me know if there are any other special requirements for the time. Elder Ricks comes from a family of 12 children, so he might have quite the family conversation. Though, I am pretty sure that I will get my fair share of time.

Though, it is interesting to hear that mom will be close to me on May 4th. I will be thinking of you, and looking forward to the Mother's Day conversation. Enjoy your trip, and the thought that this will probably be the closest we get for 2 years! Hopefully the conference goes well.

Also, thank you mom for the population/tick/etc. information. See if you can find any other info on alternate tick removal techniques. I have heard a few.

Thank you dad, your stories about your father are great! It is always wonderful to learn more about my ancestry. Plus your thoughts and feelings about things are pretty amusing. Thank you for taking the time to write the stories down!

Some quick answers to questions. We have a Toyota Corolla 2002 (until the car cleanliness competition this Thursday.) Elder Ricks is from Gilbert, AZ. He is curious though, what is the population of the Phoenix area? He went to Chandler-Gilbert community college. He thinks that he will be transferring to Arizona State. We have some investigators, but I will describe them later due to a lack of time to continue writing.

Things are going well! I miss you and greatly appreciate all of you. Take care!

Elder Mike Robinson