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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

We had a very strange week. A lot of unexpected things happened. It almost seems like we had one per day. Anyways, lets get started with Monday. We called a less active family and asked if we could come over later in the week. The wife told us that her husband would be recovering from surgery. Politely, Elder Weeks asked what type of surgery he had. She told him it was a of a very personal nature. So, we agreed we would call back next week.

On Tuesday, we randomly stopped by an inactive member. We had tried many times before and had been told that he worked a ton. We found him home, much to our surprise. His ex-wife and her new husband live in our ward, so he said he goes down to Branson for church. He also told us about his mission to Arizona. He invited us back for dinner, so we returned and had dinner with him. To our surprise, we found another less active sister there. So, this was interesting.

Wednesday, we went out to visit one of our long term investigators (aka Professional Investigator). She has an inactive son who used to flee whenever we showed up. Slowly over time he has started opening up somewhat. He doesn't have that much of a testimony. However, he had come to a session of General Conference with his mother. We asked him how he liked it. He described feeling the spirit and feeling very comfortable. He said he was looking for some service to do, so we told him that the young men were splitting wood to sell for Scout Camp money. I didn't expect him to come, which he did, so that was one of Saturday's strange event.

Thursday, we had Zone Conference. It was a pretty normal meeting. Our Mission President was reviewing his new policy sheet. He has been teaching us about principles, policies, and guidelines. The first surprise was under the communications section. It stated that e-mail was allowed, but see the separate e-mail policy sheet. So, don't be surprised if some day you end up with an e-mail from me! However, since we are only supposed to use public facilities and there are not any in my area (libraries are in 3rd & 4th Wards). There are quite a few restrictions though, but who knows you may get one some day. Still, I would prefer receiving regular letters from you.

Later on, we were going over the music policy. He started talking about Zion's Camp and how it was really a challenge to see if the Saints would keep their covenants. He also stressed how Church leaders had come out of this ordeal. We had a similar experience as he revealed the policy that a small handheld CD player would be allowed. It shocked most of us, since that was one of the first things he got rid of when he got here. He explained that the paperwork clearly stated that there was no place for them in the MTC or the mission field. However the MTC was teaching the missionaries a pro-CD stance for the mission field. So, President Neilsen called the missionary department and asked. About a month later, they returned his call stating that the issue was taken before the missionary committee of the Church (including members of the the Twelve) and after talking about it. They decided to allow them since they plan to release more resources for missionaries on CD in the future. We were also told we were the first mission in the world to be informed of this, and that they were modifying the new missionary packets to allow CD players. It was rather interesting.

Saturday, we went out splitting lots of wood with the young men. Consequently, we were pretty tired and pretty sore. We also correlated with our Ward Mission Leader. That went pretty well. We later received a phone call for Elder Weeks. It was his father, and he was 30 miles away. He had called President Neilsen and received permission to call and also got our phone number (which, interestingly enough they said they would not be giving out anymore for our safety). Though he had permission to call, Elder Weeks talked him into coming down and visiting us for a little while. He took us out to dinner and Elder Weeks and he talked quite a bit. I felt a little out of the loop, since I really didn't have anything to talk to them about but that is understandable. However, I did get the privilege of riding in a semi, or as they say out here "a diesel." It was just kind of interesting.

Sunday was amazing. We had the primary program, so that was pretty neat in itself. However, we had 9 non-members in attendance. It is hard to believe. One of whom was a friend of a member and is writing a comparative religion essay for school. He said that he was learning a lot of things that he really likes about our Church and that he wants to read the entire Book of Mormon before writing his essay. He will be returning next week with his wife. The 8 year-old girl in our investigator family also got a part in the Primary program since she had been coming to church for a while. The family enjoyed it. She didn't speak up, which she blamed on lots of mad looking people in the audience. All in all, it was a great program and I felt the spirit very strong that day.

Also weird on Sunday, Elder James (from the 4th Ward) came up to us and said he needed to fill up the car. They had supposedly coasted in on fumes to church. They had borrowed the car from us on Saturday morning. When they filled up the car they forgot to record it in the log book.

The sad news of Sunday was that our investigator family might be moving in a little bit. The father of this family is being interviewed by the University of Georgia to work on their admissions staff. If he takes the job, he will have to start work in Georgia on December 1st. Nothing is for sure yet, but they did say that this has increased family prayers for guidance. It is kind of saddening, but they have already looked up the Church buildings in Georgia. They also wondered if they had to be members to subscribe to the Ensign, and we told them no. We also provided them with the Church Distribution Center website, so they could order more things like what they saw up at the temple. They are doing pretty well though, and they fed us a great Chinese dinner as usual on Sunday.

Dad's new tuner that he has on order sounds pretty interesting. I will have to give that a try when I get home. You may also want to have the piano tuned before I return, I have become somewhat more sensitive to that and plan to play before college. Hopefully dad enjoys it as well as the new DVD player! Anyways, congratulations on becoming an e-bay user. I think even I will have to do a bit more shopping there upon my return. Remember dad that it is okay to spend on e-bay if you can sell, sell, sell, as well. Though, do look at all the interesting products.

I am glad to hear that Squirt is doing much better and I too also hope that they got rid of all the cancer.

Thanks you so much for all of your support! I miss you greatly and wish you the best. Take Care.

Elder Mike Robinson