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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

It has been a pretty good week with a few surprises. Elder Weeks and I are still getting along fine and teaching together well.

The major event of the week was Zone Conference. I received my level 2 certification award. Due to an increase in the number of bicycle accidents in the mission, we watched a bicycling safety video instead of the usual car safety video. They did away with "media miles" on our car (extra miles when we have to deliver media referrals) and instead gave us more miles overall. We did not win the car competition, but we didn't try really hard either. Though, our car did look nice.

The general theme of our Zone Conference was "Principles to becoming an empowered leader, missionary, and teacher." So, we talked about the differences between principles, policies, and guidelines. President Nielson mentioned how he had been studying the past programs of our mission. He said that each program generated excitement, but they didn't produce results. He quoted Joseph Smith, "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves." So, we talked about principles and then he did away with practically every mission program. There is no more certification program, Sons of Helaman (obedience award), the three month training program, or even numbers reporting. Training now takes place anywhere in the mission. We are not reporting any weekly numbers except proselyting and service hours. Our District Leaders now call us up and ask us about how our goals are going instead of "How many first discussions did you teach?" It will be very interesting to see how this goes. I will definitely let you know how it goes.

We were taking with our investigator family and found out something interesting. Back in 1997, they were living in Nebraska. Some missionaries tracted into them. They said that it was the first house on the block that was even willing to listen a little. So, the missionaries left them with a copy of the Book of Mormon and a challenge to read and pray. They were thrilled that the message we were sharing with them (even the suggested passages to read) was exactly the same. So, that was a very positive experience.

Our investigators came to church again this Sunday, and all is going well. They are still asking wonderful questions that lead right into the next thing. We are very excited to be teaching them. Tonight, they are going to their third family home evening (this time at the Bishop's house.) So, all is going well for them and they are learning a lot.

Another interesting experience, Elder Weeks and I were biking by this couple standing on the side of the street. As we drew nearer, the girl shouted out to us, "Hey are you going to a Huffy convention or something?" Elder Weeks promptly responded, "Nope, that is tomorrow night." We both got a little chuckle out of it. Though, as we got further down the road we both agreed that Huffy makes bad bicycles, and probably wouldn't have have anyone who knew anything about bicycles at a convention.

Speaking of bicycles, I placed my order for a new headlight, spoke wrench, tire patch kit, seat, and brake cable. Upon inspecting my bicycle, I noticed that my rear disc brake cable is about to snap. So, I had to order some cable and will hopefully be able to borrow someone's wire cutters to fix it. So, I am still up to my usual bicycle self. Elder weeks isn't a big bicycle fan. But it feels very different to be the one in front, since Elder Slatter could really move.

It is wonderful to hear that dad has figured out his main problems with recording the organ. I am very much looking forward to the CD whenever I get it. It should be marvelous, and remind me of my dad's excellent organ playing (which, I now appreciate much more.) Even if you don't get the CD out to me soon, a list of the pieces would be cool to see. Anyways, keep up the the good work dad! Hopefully, you are enjoying the extra time with organ due to your retirement.

Mom suggested that I get some recipes from our investigator for Aunt Kathy to fix for Uncle Mark. Well, upon everyone asking for her delightful recipes she always responds, "I don't have any, and the quantities of ingredients vary by the day." Though, she makes some awesome food. We get to enjoy some of the marvelous leftovers as well! (Less money I have to spend and good food, yeah!)

I heard that BYU lost to USC. It's disappointing, but it won't affect my missionary work. It is just nice to know. I also received your package today. Thank you very much.

Anyways, I must get going. Tell everyone hello for me. All is going well, and we have some great things going on! I hope that grandma had a great Grandparent's Day! Take care, I miss you all very much!

Elder Mike Robinson