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Excerpts from Mike's Letter Home:


Dear Family,

Once again it is that wonderful time of the week in which I am writing to you. We started this week off with a District outing to go bowling. What was interesting was that one of the Elders had never been bowling before (Elder Flinn). He did not do that well his first game, but really picked up up well after that. However, one thing is for sure I really need to read a book on bowling with as often as it comes up as an activity. To actually know what I am supposed to be doing would really help. Instead of just what my trial and error over the years has yielded. Oh well, that is just another one of those many things to do after the mission.

Wednesday I went on exchanges to Ava. I was with Elder Kidd, from Riverside, CA who has been out about 3 months. The first thing we did was leave the Zone to get their car repaired. So yours truly got to spend another hour and a half of his mission at a car dealership. This time it was for replacing the door seals while the car was still under warranty. It was a Toyota Corolla (like I had in Salem.)

Also of interest on the exchange was Elder Kidd's bicycle. He told me that it was skipping gears and wouldn't go into the lowest gear. So, I messed with his bicycle for awhile and got it all straightened out. I credit this repair from watching Elder Slatter do it on someone else's bike, though it is not that difficult. However, I was very happy I knew how to do it.

On Saturday, we went out with the combined Young Men's and Elders Quorum service project. It was kind of interesting in that so many people raised their hands that they would come the Sunday before, but attendance was really lacking. In fact, the only Elders Quorum member that showed up was the member who owned the land we were clearing off. With the lack of adults, they needed people to run chain saws. They asked us to do it, not wanting young men to use them. I have only heard some missionaries say it is against our rules, it cannot be found on paper. They handed it to me, so I agreed. Though, I think any of the young men would have had more experience than the guy from California. Anyways, per traditional Scouting experience, I did not start off with the little 12-13 inch chain saw. I started with an 18 inch one. It was a lot more hard work than I thought. I always thought the people with chain saws had it easier than those with the axe, but now I am not so sure. Anyways, it was great to have the experience and learning about them. At last count I still have 2 arms and 2 legs.

Church was also interesting this week. A man showed up and introduced himself to me and said his wife was sick, so he decided to try a church a little closer to home. I gave him our number and told him that we hoped he felt welcome and to call us if he had any questions. Anyways, I went over to tell Elder Weeks about this (we stand at opposite doors greeting people), and he said, "Interesting, and we will begin today with 'If you could hie to Kolob' for the opening hymn." Normally, I rejoice in the few times you get to sing that hymn but today was not one of them. Anyways, it was also a special Sunday because the entire Bishopric gave talks. However, it probably made us look like the many other churches where you have clergy preachers. However, there were no rising sermons as expected. Though, the talks were pretty good. As I approached this man at the end of Sacrament, he was headed for the door at high speed, so I just told him to call us if we could do anything for him. Oh well, that is just how it goes sometimes.

Dad also mentioned something about a grocery strike. I have heard nothing about that, so if you want you can elaborate. I am still getting my food at good old Wal-Mart, which is very anti-union for it's employees.

On Sing Noel, I hope dad gets to play on a combined 'O Holy Night', which I agree that the organ adds quite a bit to. Though, it is very interesting how a change in leadership yields to a change in how the program is run. Hopefully dad appreciates a little more time singing. Though, I am sorry to hear that dad's new composition may not be sung. It would be interesting to see if you want to send me a copy. Hopefully some day I will be able to write one as well, I think it would be something great to do. Though, it would be hard to rival 'Hush!'

I am glad to hear that mom and grandma got off to a safe start to Ireland, though it might be a late one. When do they return? Hopefully they enjoy their trip and all the scenery. Also, thank you mom for taking care of the BYU housing and everything. Though, thank you dad for being willing to take care of it if mom was gone. It is hard to believe that the time is close enough at hand to worry about this stuff, but thanks for your efforts once again. Also, if dad complains about this being slow online, imagine online registration from the dorms (you are on the campus network with everyone else, it was so bad... I went next door and tried getting on using my neighbors computer.)

Congratulations to Jared on the First Class and all the merit badges. It is wonderful to hear that he is enjoying Scouts. It sounds like he is progressing nicely. Let me know if there is anything I can do. Yes, I remember earning the Scout of Stake award. It is not easily forgotten, except when you make a website timeline. But, it is good to hear that I have not yet lost the title. The possibility of going to Chawankee again is very interesting, since with work it might be my last time for many years. I am not sure though, some pros and cons as you could imagine. Let me know who is going that I might know. I would probably also want to take my car (and possibly my laptop since we have been separated for so long). Anyways, send more of what you think. It is a tough decision.

Once again, I am happy to hear that you had a good visit with Jeff Sorenson. Is he everything you expected in a companion of mine?

I guess last but not least is clothing. With winter approaching, I probably could use a pair of long underwear (the bottoms would probably be sufficient, we can always put on more coats, sweaters, etc. but the bottom is suit pants only.) Though, that is probably somewhat dependent upon where I am going to be this next transfer, which I will let you know.

Thank you for sending the Church News articles about the fires, they were interesting to read. Also, thank you for the labels. The National Security Agency paper on internships was also very interesting. It seems like what the NSA has is more inline with Computer Science majors, so I will probably want to look into that one. Even though it involves a polygraph. Though of course, this is an idea that is on the back burner right now.

Well, anyways that should be about it for now. Hopefully, I will be able to whip out a form Christmas letter for you to type for me. Anyways, I greatly miss you all and wish you the best!

Elder Mike Robinson