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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

It has been a pretty good week, with a few surprises. Monday night we went up to Rolla (with permission) to our Branch President's (Paul David Ownsby) house and taught he and his wife a practice first discussion. We also had dinner with them. Sister Ownsby made Couscous and I really enjoyed it. It was Elder Johnson's first time having it, but he liked it as well. We really enjoyed getting to know them better.

On Wednesday we went to help the mutual group. They were picking up trash along the highway, so we helped even though we were in white shirt and tie. I really wonder what people thought as they saw two guys in ties and orange vests, picking up trash. Anyways, with everyone there, it went much quicker than when it was only the four of us. After trash pickup, they had a massive sponge water fight. We inevitably got wet. Though, we also had some fun getting others wet.

Friday was the big surprise! At 7:00 a.m. the Zone Leader and District Leader knocked on our door. I was still in my PJs because I was just about to jump in the shower. They tell us that they are having a surprise exchange with us to make sure that we are all on the "same page" for when the new Mission President gets here. However, they wanted to further complicate things by having everyone work in Salem. So, I had to plan another schedule quickly. I was with the ZL in the morning and the DL in the afternoon. Elder Johnson had the opposite.

Things went pretty well, since we had some appointments scheduled. Elder Johnson pointed out that I had unintentionally got back at the DL since he ended up tracting practically all day. They finally left us at about 4:30 - 5:00 p.m. I am not the biggest fan of exchanges, so surprise exchanges are particularly low on my good times list. Though, I guess I should be thankful that I have a nice ZL. They brought some donuts with them to help make up for the inconvenience. It was a nice gesture, but it didn't fully cover it for me.

Our dinner appointment for Friday canceled on us. So, we got invited to participate in a baby shower at the church. Though, we mainly came because they said that there was free food. We got to enjoy 3 different types of taco salad! It was not a bad meal. We played a game where we got and lost clothes pins based on whether you said or caught someone saying the words "baby" or "I".  I tied for second place.  The mom-to-be won.  She is the daughter-in-law of someone in the branch and was just passing through.

On Saturday, our dinner appointment canceled. However, they gave us some money to go out and eat. Elder Johnson and I decided to order some pizza. So, I called the order in. They tell me, "Hello Mr. Peterson", probably reading the name off of CALLER-ID. I began to order for Elder Johnson, "a large with mushroom", then come the response "Yuck! pause) but okay." I didn't mention that I agree with her.  Either way, the girl was pretty rude throughout the entire call. It almost makes me wonder why anyone would continue to order from them. The pizza was pretty good, but then again we haven't had pizza in quite awhile.

Sunday was pretty good as well. We had a lot of visitors, but we had quite a few people out of town as well. Elder Johnson gave a talk on service, I gave one on pride, and then the Branch Mission Leader (Brother Barnard) gave a talk on member missionary work. Everything went pretty well, but I was a little bit tired of talking after I finished teaching Gospel Principles. So, as you can tell we had a pretty good week.

Dad's description of the AGO convention sounded great. I hope that I may some day make it to one. I think that my appreciation for music has increased greatly. Also, I even knew the name Dr. Michael Hicks. He is pretty famous for writing the "As Sisters in Zion / Armies of Helaman" medley. I am glad that dad a great time! It is also great to hear that dad got to sit by Clay Christiansen. What an experience. What did you talk about?

Anyways, I should get going. I miss you all so much. Hopefully Grandma and Squirt get to feeling better. Take care!

Elder Michael Robinson

Happy 4th of July!