A couple weeks ago my oldest child hit his half-way mark on his mission.

Yes, he’s been gone a whole year.
Half way through all those endless dots that looked so daunting when he left:

 Let’s get a closer look at that puppy:

There we go.  
That’s a whole lotta dots!  
Which means we still have that many to go but you know what?  I’ve heard the last year goes fast, and that kid is learning so much I think I am going to be able to handle it.  Ha!
I figured I’d celebrate hump day by sharing a little of what he’s been up to lately over there in Taiwan.  
Last time I wrote a little update about him is back HERE.  I wrote about him again HERE, but that was not really an update about him, just a blubbering about how much we loved talking to that kid on Christmas 🙂
He had a great last transfer…here’s a portion of his letter:
This week has been one of the happiest of my mission so far. ...[goes on to talk about some little miracles he saw and some great people he got to teach]

This week I reviewed last years October General Conference in Personal study. I especially liked the talk by Elder Maynes, “The Joy of living a Christ Centered Life”. He made a comparison to us being the clay, and God being the potter. Having done two years of ceramics in high school, I felt that I could easily relate to the need for the clay to be exactly in the middle of the wheel. In missionary work, being in the middle of the wheel means being humble and accepting of God’s will, and being receptive to the Spirit. Through our diligence and obedience, Heavenly Father can make us sloppy pieces of clay into something magnificent!
He loved being in that part of the mission and each letter was filled with good little thoughts and spilling out love for the people over there.  

He is working hard on his Chinese.  He passed off all these “flashcards”…not sure what they look like individually but here’s the stack:

Now that’s a lot of cards…

It’s a lucky thing that he worked so hard on that language because this is what happened next:

Well…. Lets just say this was a pretty different week haha

So… on Wednesday morning during personal study I got a call from President telling me I would be training this transfer! That is super exciting!

I picked up my trainee on Friday, but all of Wednesday and Thursday I was so worried about how I was going to train. How was I going to teach a new companion how to do missionary work when I am still trying to figure it out myself?? I did a lot of studying about how the Lord qualifies us and will give me the power to do the things he throws in my path. It helped a little, but I was still pretty scared.

Well Elder Densley and I woke up early on Friday morning and took trains separate directions, that was hard hah. I went up to Taichung (To pick up my comp) and he went to his new area (with Elder Spendlove!! [Max’s MTC companion])

I got to the mission home, we had a little meeting about how to train and Elder Porter [Max’s trainer] was training too!!

Then we met the trainees. My new companion is Elder Li, from Hualian, Taiwan! (another part in the Taibei mission)

I was thinking about how hard it was going to be to train a new missionary, then on top of that only in Chinese haha. (Elder Li asked me if English has an alphabet, we are learning together haha) The first day was super rough, lets just say I did not get much sleep that night. ha. 

The past two days have been awesome! The Lord answers prayers. I think getting in the hang of only speaking Chinese has been good, now it doesn’t even feel like there is much of a language barrier. I am still in the refiners fire, but its not as bad as the first day haha.

One thing I know for sure is that I am training Elder Li for a reason, and the Lord is qualifying me to do it! I am learning so much from him, probably more that he is from me.

Elder Li and I get along super well, actually possibly better than any other of my companions. Maybe it is because we are always talking because I want to learn faster haha.

Love you all!

Look at that cute new companion.

Funny how you can love someone you don’t even know.

They saw the President of Taiwan in a funny coincidence:

And have been learning and growing so much!

It’s not all butterflies and rainbows, that’s for sure, but that’s what makes the great parts that beautiful, right?  Here’s another letter:

This was another pretty tough week in Gangshan. Elder Li and I got stood-up a ton, but we are trying to keep our faith up and continue to work our hardest.

One morning this week during personal study I was just thinking why is this so hard? Why can’t God just prepare everyone? That morning I read the sentence in a talk that said ” Smooth seas do not make skilled sailors.” 

When I read this, it really helped me to know why God gives us challenges. He wants to strengthen us. He wants to help us, and the only way to do that is to make us uncomfortable.

I am so thankful for this opportunity of stretching and growth.

Last week my friend forwarded an email from her son who is now Max’s Zone Leader (the mission is divided into zones, and within each zone there are districts).

This is what it said:

Exchanges this week with Elder P and his Taiwanese trainee Elder Li. They are the funniest companionship ever. make sure to let elder p’s parents know how good of a missionary he is. Super hard worker, great with the people. His comp and him are doing really well together. 

And he included these pictures:

My favorite missionary picture ever:
How sweet is that that he took those pictures and sent them? 
My favorite part about that picture is that it is Max.  My son who growing up it scared his pants off to talk to a teacher at school, let alone a complete stranger.  But this is what he does every single day.
In Chinese.
Man alive, I love missions.


  1. Thanks for this post. I have a son who deals with anxiety and shyness. I had the spirit speak to my heart as I read this that this will be my son too. He will be happy and be able to teach and serve a great mission when the time comes. What a miracle. I worry too much that the future wont hold what I deeply want the most. In this moment I Cant wait to see what my boys will do in the future. Thanks for sharing your faith.

  2. I teared up reading this. I hope and pray when my son turns 18/19 he will serve, as much as I can't imagine him been away from me that long there is no where I'd rather him be than be serving. What a blessing Max is to your family.

  3. So cool to see! That sister missionary in the blue scarff is Kali Stoker from Henderson, NV—I'm pretty sure! She is in my stake and I was her Youth Camp Leader at her last girls camp!!!! She's amazing!!! Like amazing! So very cool to see these pics. thanks for sharing.

  4. That last picture is so amazing! Is that woman in the front wearing a Burberry mask?

    Great update! I've heard lots of stories of missionaries having very tough times. Glad your son seems to be staying afloat!

  5. Oh I love this! My son is also a Mandarin speaking missionary and is serving in Malaysia right now. He's been gone 6 months. That last picture is AWESOME! My husband and I recently returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic (where he served 27 years ago). I stopped every missionary we saw there and asked if I could take a picture and send it to their moms. It was so much fun to spread a little joy!

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