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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

It has been a pretty good week with some new experiences. First off, I got to return to lawn mowing. Since it has been winter, grass has not been growing. However, we got to mow some tall grass for one of our investigator families. In addition, one of the children in an investigator family made a small bet with Elder Ricks. He would prepare our car for the car cleanliness inspection, and if we won, Elder Ricks would have to eat a goldfish. If we lost, he would eat one. When they pressured me, I said that I would eat one of the goldfish crackers. However, we lost the competition. It had rained a few hours after the car was washed and waxed. It continued to rain up until the hour it was inspected. Consequently, we got marked down as not having washed or waxed. The rain prevented us from doing the cleaning we wanted. Also of note, we had the furthest of anyone to travel to Zone Conference. Also, it was the first day of the month and we used about one quarter of our monthly car miles to travel to the conference in Springfield, MO. This month is really going to hurt, mile wise. The good news is that Wal-Mart is temporarily sold out of goldfish (at least the cheap ones).

The real excitement of Zone Conference was that we got to watch "The Other Side of Heaven." This time the miracles in the movie did not seem that amazing. Instead, I found the love that Elder Groberg had for the people he served truly amazing. Though, that is something we have to continually work on as a missionary. We also talked about love, hard work, and obedience (or being teachable) as being three important keys to missionary service. So, all in all we had a good Zone Conference.

Also of note is that medical health laws have changed. So, we had to sign a document allowing the mission medical access to our health records. Do not worry, I wrote mom and dad's name in so you have access as well. They told us that we did not have to sign it, but if we did not, it might jeopardize our ability to serve a mission.

On Friday, Elder Ricks was pretty sick. Consequentially, he slept half the day and did not eat anything. I got a little bit more caught up on my journal.

On Saturday, we helped a member who has a broken leg. This family lives way out in the country. They are farmers and we were helping with the garden. We helped by shoveling cow dung into the back of a truck and unloading it on the garden. So, I have had my first dung shoveling experience. I am also very glad we are not farmers. They were using their teenage daughter's truck to transport the dung. Please let me know before you have any similar ideas in mind for my car (I will definitely tell you NO)! However we probably shoveled about 7 truck loads worth, in case you were curious.

Also interesting is that we had permission to listen to the radio yesterday night. This was of course due to an approaching storm and had nothing to do with Willie Nelson's 70th birthday. Our Zone Leaders call us from their bathroom. They were receiving large hail and the tornado sirens were blaring in St. Roberts, MO. We had a severe thunderstorm watch and a tornado watch. However, we experienced more mild weather than el nino weather with the exception that there was a little thunder and lightening that I slept through. However, that was because the storm traveled further north than us. Needless to say, I am doing okay.

Thank you mom for the cards you sent me, it really helped me out. Has Squirt broken anything around the house this year? What are you getting for Mother's Day? Anyways, calling you at 8 p.m. central time sounds good. We will have to change our schedule a little bit, but it should work out. So, I am looking forward to talking to you!

Thank you for sending my glasses. It is really nice to have them back. Because we get our mail from a contract carrier, standard mail procedures were not followed. The box, which I assume was insured for $300, was just hanging in a plastic bag on the flag on the mailbox. Elder Ricks said that is the first time he had seen them do that. Normally, they just drop it off at our office. Oh well, the package made it safely. For the record, I did not use any harsh cleaning products on my glasses (I know that Windex is bad for them). I was only using the solution you sent out with me. However after the coating started to wear off, I did try dish soap & water, which I assume is okay. The only thing that I can think of that might have caused the damage was that when it rained, I used the back of my tie to clean them off. Now, I only use my handkerchief.

Mom also was commenting on how there were not enough pictures of me on the last roll. Sorry, but there are more coming on the next roll.

I was saddened to hear about Jonathan Hatch. I sent his family a card. He was a great addition to our Priests Quorum. I am glad that you both could attend the funeral.

I want to thank dad for his insightful letter this past week. Dad truly does have a way with words (at least on paper). Thank you for answering my questions.

About the question "What is the one thing I have learned on my mission?" I will have to tell you on Sunday since I am running out of time for this letter. Yes, I know the suspense is killing you, Linda & Ali, but the answer will come!

Anyways, thank you for your continued support! I miss & love you all!

Elder Mike Robinson