It’s so funny to think about how much anticipation we built up to talk to Max while he was out there on his mission.

We based so much around those two calls we got per YEAR: the internet connections, the timing, how to set up the screen so everyone could see that boy of ours, the lists of questions we wanted to ask, the carefully laid-out plan so that everyone could get at least a minute to talk and not be lost in the shuffle.

It was a little bit exhausting, I’m here to tell you!

There was one Christmas where the anticipation was so heavy in the air that Dave and I got in a good old whiz-bang fight. Yep, right before that precious 45 minutes to talk with our boy who was living on the other side of the planet from us. And we had to hustle speedy-quick to make up in time so that the frustration didn’t loom over that phone call.

Oh how times have changed!

Because we get to talk to our latest missionary every single Monday.

All of us can talk to her, shoot the breeze, hear every detail, get a little tour of her apartment, etc.

And you know what? It’s pretty awesome.

There’s part of me that misses the sacredness and emotion of those special two-times-per-year phone calls. I must admit those were moments I will cherish as a mother forever and ever.

But there’s not much like seeing that girl of mine smiling back at me on my phone on Mondays.

Ok but not usually with her companion like that, but they’re pretty cute, right?

I can just prop her up on the counter and talk to her while I’m getting things done and it’s pretty awesome.

We even have time for filters sometimes, for crying out loud!


She started out in an incredible area with the best trainer:

They lived with another companionship:

And they had some pretty grand times and adventures.

A few lines from her:

This week was so good! Our days have been PACKED and we have been busy busy busy. We did a ton of service and had a bunch of lessons and went on exchanges which were super fun :)) a ton of people in my mission are leaving for South America next week which is CRAZY! [she’s talking about the missionaries who were reassigned in her mission from foreign missions who are now starting to go back.]

This week I had probably the best lesson I’ve had on my mission so far! I was on exchanges with Sister Peterson who is so fun and full of the spirit and we had a lesson with our friend, Mandy [name changed for privacy]… She was so attentive and we read in 3 Nephi 11:1-17 with her. Those verses are just POWERFUL and the spirit was so strong. After we ended the call we were just so pumped.

Then they had exchanges, (where the missionaries all get switched around), and Grace got a new companion (one of the girls who was already living with her), and stayed in the same area. It was just down to just those two in their apartment for six weeks (transfers happen every six weeks) and they deepened their relationships with all the people they got to be in contact with in their area and oh man, Grace sure loves that area! And I love having my phone fill up with pictures from their adventures every now and again (they just send automatically).

Then last week when we talked, Claire and I still lingering at the counter after breakfast trying to get in some Grace -time before the girls had to get out the door for school, we got the news that GRACE WOULD BE LEAVING THAT AREA and would be moving to a tiny little town out in the middle of nowhere, and USING HER SPANISH (finally!). After studying Spanish for six weeks in her “home MTC” experience, she’s had very rare opportunities to use it, so our eyes all lit up in excitement with this new adventure on the horizon.

This was in her letter last week:

Hola a todos!! We just got transfer news last night and I’m getting transferred to a Spanish branch… literally in the middle of nowhere. Haha I’ll be an hour away from everyone in my district and zone and basically any civilization whatsoever but it’ll be awesome! Haha I’m pumped. My Spanish is super awful right now but It’ll be so good for me. I’ll be living with my companion, and we will share the branch and live with two other sisters which will be good. I’ve heard so many good things about my new area from so many people so I’m excited! I also heard there’s about 10 people in the Branch haha so that’ll be interesting. But its just gonna be so good I’m super excited but I’m also so, so sad to be leaving where I am now 🙁 seriously the best area in the whole wide world. I’ve met so many incredible people here and it’ll be so sad to go.

She moved last Wednesday and it was fun to see the new pictures filtering in through my phone:

And always we get to see the Texas sky:

Which, of course, makes this sky-loving mother so happy 😉

Cannot wait to hear more from her today about how it’s all going, we’re gonna look like this again:

I am so grateful that she gets to have this experience, and that we get to share with her in so many ways.

I’ll leave you with her little thought she shared last week:

Also, if you haven’t yet, read president Nelson’s talk from this past conference called “Christ Is Risen; Faith in Him Will Move Mountains” its seriously so good. I love this quote from it: “Through your faith, Jesus Christ will increase your ability to move the mountains in your life. Your mountains may be loneliness, doubt, illness, or other personal problems. Your mountains will vary, and yet the answer to each of your challenges is to increase your faith.”
The answer to really any challenge is to increase our faith which is so cool! So read this talk to learn how you can increase your faith! :))

Love that she’s increasing her faith by leaps and bounds out in that ever-changing mission!

We still don’t know if/when she’ll get to go to her original mission: Uruguay. But as promised by the church leader who gave her a special blessing before she left: “Wherever you end up [in the middle of the instability the pandemic brings], you’ll be exactly where you’re supposed to be.”

I sure hope she gets to Uruguay some day, but oh man, I sure do feel like she’s exactly where she’s supposed to be right now.

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  1. What a beautiful missionary!! It is a really special thing to get those weekly video calls! We’ve done it both ways too, with our two different sons going out on missions. While those twice-yearly phone calls were so so precious, we loved the opportunity to see our missionary and really “see” how he’s doing. (Sometimes, as a mama, you just gotta see your baby’s face to know how they really are).

    And, I just wanted to let you know that you totally have the right to moderate/delete comments that are put on this blog. I have seen a few comments left in recent times which feel harsh and critical. It is one thing for someone to engage in a respectful discussion where they disagree with you or something, but some of the words left felt particularly unkind and unhelpful. You have the right to keep your blog a safe place for you and your family. You have such a tender, compassionate heart.

    I understand if someone is sad that they have had a heavy load to bear in this life, but they need to be kind to you. Everyone’s life is full of struggles AND joys. So, I hope that people’s hearts and minds can be big and gentle enough to wish everyone well on their life journeys. We all need to cheer each other on. I don’t come from a healthy family (miracle that my parents didn’t end up in jail), but I have felt so much more joy in my own life when I can be happy for other people and want the very best for them. This is ennobling and liberating and frees up my energy to see the good in each day.

    You are an amazing writer and mama!! Sending much love to you and your family

    1. Thank you for the love, Anne Marie!

      I do delete comments when they seem to be really attacking my kids or other readers, (or at least I try to!), but is it weird that I learn so much from the negative ones? I think there are just some people out there who are really sad or lonely, and that makes me sad, and also teaches me a lot. I want so much to send back some love, but that doesn’t seem to help, and erasing them generally just fires them up so mostly I just learn from them (and so does my family! SO much to learn from disgruntled blog readers!). Such an interesting study in human nature. Everyone is coming from such different places. I do think other readers get worried for me though, and I appreciate that love and protectiveness so much.

      I so agree with you that happiness begets happiness. That every day we have choices. We can build and make those around us happy and better, or we can tear down. One of Dave and my favorite sayings is “you’ll find what you’re looking for.” If you’re looking for the worst in others, you can bet you’ll find it. No one is perfect, and we all live life so different from each other, if we’re looking for things to pass judgement on, we’re in luck! Those things are there for the taking! But like you said, if you look for the good, the beautiful, the uplifting, the things you can learn from others, oh, you’ll find that too. And in the end, I believe what you’re looking for is what you’ll find in yourself. Maybe I need to write a blog post about that 🙂

      Thank you for looking out for me, and for sending over so much love!

      1. Thank you for your words and all the goodness you share. You are full of so much true grace and so much love. Thank you for who you are. Xoxo

  2. Hermana Pothier is actually now living with my daughters best friend (one I claim her as an extra daughter!)!! What a small world moment to see Grace’s picture show up in my email today! What a blessing it is for them & even more so for us to be on this missionary journey!!

    1. Oh really? Oh I love how small the world is at times! She says she sure loves all her roommates, I’m so glad she gets your daughter’s friend as one of them!

  3. I love seeing these posts about your missionary because my son was reassigned to TAM (originally Assigned to Argentina) and I love seeing the same mission through the eyes of a sister missionary and then through my sons eyes. So much goodness! I think your daughter does a better job with her pictures. Lucky!

    1. Oh gosh, I can sure relate to the not-many-pictures thing, Max didn’t send many! It’s so funny what a difference it makes to have a daughter out there who wants to communicate everything! I hope our kids cross paths at some point!

  4. Do they still send weekly letters/emails like they used to? I have a few Mormon friends and would always give my address when they asked for their young relatives’ missionary mailing lists. ‘Twas kind of fun to have a one-way pen pal – window into another world.

    1. I think the weekly phone calls make the emails come a little slower, not as much to report if you’re already talking in person. But I sure hope most of these kids are still writing, at least in journals, because man alive, there’s never going to be another time in their whole lives like this little snippet of adventure! Grace is pretty good at emails most weeks and I’m so grateful. Working on a little missionary book for her like I did for Max (back here:/2019/02/my-favorite-gifts-i-gave-at-christmas/), but I’m going to have SO many more pictures it will be interesting to see how I can put it together!

  5. Love this exuberant young missionary. She is such a light! When we had our first three missionaries out at the same time, I used to spend hours every week “zeroxing” their lengthy hand written letters and then sending them to each of the other missionaries to and from Bulgaria, Romania and England as well as to our parents and others. It cost about $15 a week and was truly a labor of love! How times have changed! But I do treasure those handwritten letters!

    1. Mom, you were THE BEST for doing that! I often think about how times have changed, and how GRATEFUL I am that you took the time for us to be so connected back then. Love you forever!

  6. Hi Shawni,
    I am curious since I am not Mormon. Did Elle not have to serve a mission since she got married? How does that work where Grace went and she didn’t?
    Thank you

    1. Great question Michelle. Some choose to serve a mission and others don’t. Elle was actually all set to go, went through the whole process to get ready, but in the end decided it wasn’t the direction she wanted to go. Grace on the other hand felt an urge to go and it stuck with her so she went! I love that they both put in the same effort, but were able to choose what worked best for them.

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