Shoot, I didn’t mean to let that sad blog post linger at the top of this blog for so long, (thank you so much for all the sweet thoughts sent our way, we really appreciate it), let’s move to something a little happier.  I mean, it is December after all.  And in eleven days we get to TALK TO OUR MISSIONARY!
Can we just pause for a minute and think about how exciting that is??  We can hardly stand it.
Max has been out for almost a year (he’s out for two years all together, and we get to skype on Christmas and Mother’s Day).  In some ways it’s almost like you get to the point where you wonder if he really is a real boy out there on the other side of the world or just a figment of your imagination.
And the thought of giving him a hug makes you want to burst out in tears.  
And you wonder how you ever took having him around all the time for granted and why oh why didn’t you just sit and soak him in every second of every day.  (Because it would have driven him crazy, obviously, so it’s a good thing I didn’t, but BOY we miss that boy of ours!)  
Max has had so many amazing experiences over there in Taiwan.  I don’t think I’ve written a real update on him since August (back HERE), because it’s hard to know what to share and it’s also hard to keep up.  I started a digital missionary book for him and I’ve started downloading all his letters and pictures there, so that takes away from time here, but here’s a quick recap:
I love that boy.
I love to hear what he’s learning.

I love his glowing letters.

They glow even when he has a hard time.
Is that just because I’m his mother?  
He went through a phase where he sent a bunch of voice memos.  We loved them because there’s nothing like hearing your boy’s voice when he’s far away.  How he laughs, how he jokes, and his love for the people over there comes through loud and clear.
Then he got transferred to work in the mission office for a couple months.
He was the “Operations Manager” which means he took care and lived in the same apartment with his companions and the two mission “APs” (assistants to the mission president).  

The new AP was his trainer so he was happy to be back with him, and have close proximity to his amazing mission president, but working in the office was a little tough for him.  Which is awesome because it can’t be all butterflies and rainbows or you wouldn’t learn right?  He was so happy to be helping out the “greatest mission in the world” but was itching to be out among the people again.
He got to get out at night, and got to teach a pretty awesome guy about the church who ended up getting baptized which was pretty cool.
And now he’s back down south again loving live with all his might.  He is so worried that it’s all going to end in a year.
What is it that makes a 19-year-old kid adore being out of his comfort zone and want it to never end?  I don’t know, but I do know that part of it is when you forget yourself and just love and serve others you are HAPPY.
And that’s what he’s doing.  

Oh I know there are tough days.  But I love that he’s learning to transform the tough stuff into learning lessons and he’s becoming a man and a leader in so many ways.
Here are some pictures from random letters:

He got our Thanksgiving package late, but at least he got it!

Still rocking the tevas-with-socks look just for his mom and sisters who he knows he will lovingly bug with this pic:)

Love him forever.

And ever.

Eleven days and counting…


    1. Oh good question, I need to clarify that in the post! He will be gone for two years all together, he's just about half-way through. We only get to talk to him over skype (he's not coming home for another year) but skype is going to be SO great!

  1. I think I get most everything about the missionary experience (mainly from your blog)!

    The only thing I can't quite wrap my head around is why the missionary isn't allowed a skype maybe once a month or so. Maybe with a time limit or something.

    Does the church think this will just make them even more homesick? I think it would recharge and rejuvenate them – and help them do a better job at their preaching or whatever it is they are doing.

    1. Maria, I believe it is so missionaries can stay focused on the work they are doing. I served a mission, and sometimes news from home was a distraction and could consume my thoughts at times. One of my mission companions was so distracted by what was happening at home, she ended up leaving her mission to try and "fix" what was wrong at home. But I also think, calling home twice a year- makes those calls home so much more exciting and special. It's something I think all missionaries and their families look forward to.

    2. Maria I see what you're saying, especially because I kind of felt the same way when Max was leaving. I had served a mission and although I missed my family I was so happy to stay focused on the work and never thought twice about hardly being able to talk to them (at least that I can remember!) I was a great letter writer and my family was great too…and those times we did get to talk were quite amazing. But sending your own son off is a different story! It felt claustrophobic as a mother sending him off thinking about not seeing him for so long! But Unknown is so right, it just works out somehow quite beautifully and makes it that much more exciting to talk in person on Christmas and Mother's Day. We are so excited we can hardly stand it!

  2. It's an arbitrary rule. It will likely change at some point. I certainly hope no one feels that US servicemen are "distracted" cause they can call home more than twice a year in a 2 year period.

    Honestly what is wrong with coming home to help solve a family problem? Isn't family important?

    1. Having been on the military side, and having served as a missionary–I do feel they are much different experiences. Both tough to be seperated from family- but military deployments (at least from my experience) were higher risk- so much unknown- dangerous areas (war zones). It's important that family knows you are safe. Plus, military servicemen and women oftentimes have children at home. Yes, it's important for them to talk to them regularly.
      Circumstances for missionaries are much different. Missionary families know they will have limited contact with their missionary. Missionaries have so many people watching over them- making sure they are safe and accounted for all the time.
      The reason I mentioned my mission companion going home, wasn't because I was saying family isn't important, it's because she left for something she had absolutely zero control over. There was nothing she could do. You can't save someone else's marriage. Believe me, I've tried that too! Bless her heart.

      I also believe that part of the blessings, and learning/growth of serving a mission come from sacrifices made (limited contact with family, no dating, no television/radio, etc.) during that time.
      Sorry, this is long. I just know there are reasons for the mission "rules" and why missionaries only call home twice a year.
      Merry Christmas!

    2. I agree with Unknown that it's learning to sacrifice and really immerse yourself in the mission. I think if I were able to call home regularly on my mission I wouldn't have had the experience of being totally focused on what I was doing. I would be focusing on home too much. It really is an amazing experience to be singularly focused on one purpose.

  3. I think another person's soul is as in a person's control as family "problems". So she went home. Why is that a problem? I'm not sure why contact has to do with safety? A single serviceman has the same liberty of communication as a dad. If they have time to read and write they can certainly communicate faster and more efficiently through more direct methods. And the fact they send so many abroad to quickly learn a new language makes it seem like it's more the missionaries experience. Surely if Dave served their must be native speaking members there who are missionary ages. Wouldn't it be more efficient for a native speaker to do the talking? I'm sure he is doing his best. I mean no disrespect. It just seems hard for the sake of being hard and inefficient. And it's just the process. It may change. There wasn't skype years ago. Married senior serve and still can focus. Why not a single adult military age?

  4. Hi I've been following your blog quite some time. I found your blog when I at first was looking for some ideas on how to introduce chores to my kids. And then before I even notice it, I start to read your blog almost everyday. Today as I was browsing your blog again, I found this post! And I thought how interesting that your son Max is serving a mission in Taiwan where I'm currently living with my family! I'm from China but we just moved to Taiwan 6 months ago from Utah. When we were in Utah, my favorite articles from the newspaper are the ones that written by your parents. They give such wise and fun ideas on how to raise your family. Anyway….. I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you for your good parenting suggestions and it has helped me a lot during my toughest time. Thank you again!

  5. My husband served a service mission (in this case he worked and cared for horses and the ranch and did a myriad of things) instead of a proselytizing mission (a preaching one). He worked on a ranch owned by the LDS church in Washington. He was allowed to call home whenever he wanted (different rules for service missions). For him I think it was good and bad. He chose to serve that kind of mission because of his struggle with depression and anxiety. The calls helped him and hindered him but he was able to serve his full time and he learned and grew so much. I agree that twice a year calls strengthens a missionary to focus on serving the Lord and also strengthen their love for their families more. It is so hard to sacrifice and so worth it! So much growth for all involved.

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