Missionary Monday update on a Tuesday…

Max’s friends started coming home from missions this summer.

Many of them left right after high school (and didn’t do a college semester first like Max did), so it’s been two years.  
The first two came home when we were in Utah the first time.
When we came home it was SO fun to find them at our house one night:

Same kids, just refined and wise and even more wonderful.

We got to go to their homecomings (when they spoke in church about their missions), hang with them a little… and hear so many great stories.

Which was pretty awesome…

…except that it made my heart ACHE more than ever for that boy of mine to get on home!

When we were in Utah my friend’s son returned from serving in Max’s mission.  (My friend and I were so excited when we found out Max was going to the same place, and she helped me so much in helping Max prepare to leave since she had recently been through that process.)  We happened to be in town the day he was going to be reporting in church.  I was so giddy in anticipation to hear what he had to say, it’s so weird how that connection just made me so dang happy.  He did such a great job and it was so fun to meet him after hearing so much about him in Taiwan (he was Max’s Zone leader for a while and lived in the same house as he did for a little while too).

(Can we just pause for a second to look at Lucy’s face in that picture up there?  Ok, thank you, sometimes we just need to pause in life, right?  Man I love those girls!)

Not only did we get to meet this great kid and talk to him a little about Max and also talk to his mom, (who I adore and who is on the left below), Max’s new companion’s mom was there too! (on the right below):

How awesome is that??

(Those mom’s boys were companions when they lived in the same house as Max and now he’s companions with one of them…yes it’s a small, small world sometimes.)  He loves this new companion as well and had barely been assigned to serve with him so it was quite a wonderful coincidence that his mom happened to be there.

Here are our boys, over in Taiwan:

It was a bright and shiny day but OH, how it made me miss my boy!!

So you can find out mission release dates pretty early and a few months ago we found that there was an option for Max to return right before Christmas or at the end of January with the rest of his group.  (He left on January 27th but we were all kind of geared up hoping to get back in time to hit winter semester in school.) He was conflicted!  He knew it would be so great for him to get home in time for school, yet he also knew that those last six weeks are probably pretty golden ones.  As much as we wanted to get him home, we also knew this had to be his decision, and we never wanted him to look back and feel like he came home early.  So we told him we’d fast and pray for him as he made that decision.

It was an interesting Fast Sunday as I prayed my heart out for that boy of mine.  Instead of getting an “answer” and any feeling of guidance, my mind was completely blank on the whole matter.  I couldn’t feel that one way was more right than the other.  And there was something in me that just calmly reminded me this is not my decision.  It’s his. (of course, but sometimes I sure want to control things!)

In his letter that week his first words were, “I’ve got to stay!”  and it was filled with enthusiasm and so much happiness about staying until the end of January.  As sad as it makes me to miss him for even longer, Dave and I knew he was right.  As alluring as it would be to have him home for Christmas, six weeks is a long time, time that is tough to give up when you know a language and a culture so well.  Time he’ll never get back.

So we’re excited for him.  He is hitting such a stride right now and is happier than ever.  He is serving as a Zone Leader with an awesome companion and is serving in a big city where he loves the people so much.

And he will be home the end of January.

Yes, he’ll miss winter semester.  And that is sad.

But he will get to have a job and earn some money (which he will be very in need of), and will most likely do some online/night classes so it will work out great.

So we’re gearing up…six more months.  People say it starts to go fast at this point…we shall see!


  1. SO excited for your family to have him back in just a few more months!
    and if he's working at home then that's more time with you before he goes to school right ha!

  2. Just knowing the date would comfort me so! I'm so happy for y'all that you know when and that you know he's so happy and confident in his decision. xo

  3. You Mom's must have had these boys when you were 12. You all look so young to have children this old.

  4. Yay! That's so exciting to almost have your missionary home! I have 1 brother who has been out for 9 months and another one that's about to leave. If Max is planning on going back to BYU, it might be worth looking into "2nd term classes" if he wants to go back right away. Basically you take term-length classes within the normal semester (so either the first half or the second half). I have a lot of friends that took advantage of classes like that and it worked out great for them.

  5. I used to live in the Bridelwood ward with the Gilbert family! They are the cream of the crop people! So great!! I wish we were still in that ward and could have seen you there! I have been following your blog for years. I have looked to your amazing example as a wife and mother as I have started my little family. We have a 3 year old boy and a 18 month old girl. I have a few books written by your mom and you!! I love them and they have been a great help! Grateful for your example and blog! and really, secretly wishing someday I will run into you on one of your trips to Utah! Fun seeing post from our neck of the woods! 😀

  6. Curious do you think you two would do a senior mission of service mission in ten years? Work seems flexible and your kids are leaving the nest.

  7. My daughter and Max left the same day for the same mission to Taiwan. She comes home Wednesday, August 16! She gives her homecoming talk on Sunday, August 20 at the Monterey Ward Chapel in Mesa at 10:30 AM. You are welcome to attend if you would like. Her name is Camille Lunt. She and Elle were on Highland's tennis team together one year. ��

    1. Hi Danielle! This makes me SO excited! We ran into Camille at the temple right before she left, I cannot believe she's already coming home and I'm so excited you let me know about her homecoming. We are coming! So happy for your family!
      Love, Shawni

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