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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

It has definitely been an interesting week. There were some very rewarding moments and some very sad moments. So, I guess I will start on the positive note. I was not transferred, that was nice!

Saturday night, we had a Stake General Priesthood meeting. Normally, missionaries do not attend these meetings, but due to a Ward mission leader training before the meeting, they invited us. It was totally awesome, since I had served in Mountain Home (which is in this Stake) there were tons of familiar faces. So, I enjoyed getting caught up with quite a few people. One member was even complaining that since Sister missionaries were put into the area, the taco eating competition he has is not the same. The Elders max was about 15, whereas the sisters are having about 5. When I did it, I lost count, but I probably had about 10 and also desert. That was quite amusing to hear, lots of people said they would like me back, and I responded "Call the mission president." Though, I seriously doubt anyone will call.

The real highlight of the week took place during that meeting. A man was called up to bare his testimony. Though it was an impromptu thing, I remembered working with this inactive when I was there. He had such a strong testimony and had overcome many challenges (smoking, co-habitation). He was sustained to become an Elder. It is really exciting to hear that though I don't have many baptisms, I am helping bring to pass changes in people's lives. I really do miss Mountain Home (and Salem as well).

President Petersen (Stake President) gave a wonderful talk about always telling the truth. Stating how different sides of the same story lead to many problems. He mentioned how when he gives marriage counseling, it always seems like that the other one that he isn't talking to is a "rat". He also mentioned a story where someone had said "Benjamin F. Clapp (a member of the Seventy, a long time ago) is on the road to apostasy" and how we are to seek out the will of the Lord and not point fingers (though Benjamin F. Clapp did leave the Church). It was a much more powerful talk than I am describing. The talk however did remind me of a President Peterson (Mission President) talk, which was awesome. So remember to stick as close to the truth in your stories, because even the truth has a somewhat personal slant to how we tell it.

Anyways, my new companion is Elder Weeks from Swan Valley, Idaho. He is 5'1", so I feel very tall. He seems to be a pretty happy, nice guy. We are getting along pretty well so far. He did not attend college before his mission. He has been out for 20 months. He is an Eagle Scout, as well. We have both been assigned to give a talk in Sacrament meeting this coming week. I was assigned D&C 90:24 for my talk. I will let you know how it goes.

Also exciting, is we have an investigator family who has come to church for two weeks. Which, amazed me considering their first sacrament meeting had topics of tithing, temple work, the second coming, and the gathering of Israel. The family is an awesome family. They ask us questions that follow the exact order of the discussions, so teaching them is a joy. They have gone to a lot of churches and felt discriminated against (she's from Taiwan, he's Caucasian), that the churches forced and pressured you into joining, that they were all about money, etc. So, they are enjoying the great contrast in our Church. They have lots of member fellowship, and the whole ward is excited to about missionary work because of them. So we are thrilled. Plus, the wife used to have a cooking show in Taiwan. So, she makes some awesome food (always a plus)! They are a real pleasure to teach and we hope everything continues to go well. Their 8 year-old daughter absolutely loves Primary and is already calling it "her Church', and wants to invite friends. So, there is some real good work going on in this Ward.

I guess the real down side of this week was of course finding out that Grandma 5 has passed away. It is most saddening, and I want to visit her grave after I get some. Though, I agree with you that counseling from the new mission president was not necessary, I would appreciate hearing about such things quickly. So, a phone call to the mission home would have been nice. I will continue to work, but do let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Anyways, thank you for all your support. I mailed home box with letters, a shoe to fix, and my old bicycle helmet. Let me know when you receive it. Take care, my family. I miss you tons!

Elder Mike Robinson