The biggest problem with only getting to email your son once a week while he’s on the other side of the planet, sixteen hours ahead, is that when he happens to have a bad day when he writes one week, worry rolls around in your heart all week.  You pray your guts out for him and you think of every possible solution and you find yourself worrying about silly things like how the pants fit him he had to buy in Taiwan since his others were worn right through (he’s 6’7″, not sure how many pants that length are available in Taiwan…).  You wonder how he managed to fix his bike that broke the 247th time, and how he’s adjusting to life in a tiny little rural town with a new companion.

And then you have a note pop in your email inbox like this the next p-day:

Hey fam fam!! i AM ON!! Just want to first off apologize about last week I was in a terrible mood! This week was dandy!! (As Elder Wadsworth would say) I will have more deets in a sec

And suddenly all is right in the world again.  The sun is shining and the birds are chirping and your heart feels like it could sing right along with them.

Yes, I’m a little dramatic, but I want to remember how it feels in the trenches of this missionary mother stuff.

Max has been incredibly positive this whole mission.  The grumpy days have been so minimal sometimes we wonder how in the world one kid can be so dang happy, so I think it’s great to get the nitty gritty stuff once in a while.  But at times like those I must admit that I’d give just about anything to be able to give that boy a giant hug.

He finished training his Taiwanese companion (more about that back HERE).  

They had some great adventures together and ate some new and exciting things too:

That food is just stuff you don’t see much here in the desert!

A little of the landscape:

Some lunch with maybe his district?:

 …and I think this is the whole zone:

…and that smile…

He was in that area for nearly six months, and he had the great opportunity to teach so many people about Jesus Christ and learned so much from all of them.  

And he has now moved to a tiny little rural town working with a tiny little branch (smaller congregation).  Here’s a little of what we got from him his first week there:

April 10, 2017

Hello family!  Well the next little while is going to be a lot different.  It is transfer day and I am moving from Gangshan which will be super tough ….I am going to a place called taibao, I have heard it is the most rural part of the mission. haha my companion is an Elder Wadsworth who also just finished being trained! You can look up the area on google maps, it is on the outskirts of a city called Chiayi. I am really excited! 

[a little later after a few hours of travel we got to hear from him again…and these are his answers to my peppering of questions]:

I am here!

So the district here has 6 elders and i am super pumped. Taibao just has us two elders and the other elders are in another ward in the next district over. there are 4 elders in that ward. So for DTM every week we go to the other elders chapel which is a 30 minute bus ride haha. I am the district leader and we are in a 2 man. the branch is small with about 20 members. Elder Wadsworth seems like a really cool guy! He is from Idaho and does rodeos and stuff. I think we will get along good! 

Here’s a pic of how his bike looked after so dang many problems:

 (This is how it’s supposed to look:)

And here’s his new branch:

 …with him fully submerged right there in the middle.

Man I love that boy of mine.

And we’re all counting down the days until Mother’s Day when we get to TALK TO HIM!

Cannot wait.


  1. It's hard to tell from the picture, but based on what I see and the ID/rodeo info, I think Elder Wadsworth is from my home ward in Twin Falls. He is a great guy! I can get you his parents info if you'd like. πŸ™‚

  2. Missionary families (of any religion) amaze me because it seems like such a hard thing.

    This is totally off topic, but I came across an old post of yours from 2015 I believe, about Lifebalance. You talked about goals and your kiddos each made a binder. I'm curious if they are still using those? My family is younger than yours, (9, 6, & 3), but we are thinking about stuff like goals. I was just curious what it looked like (figuratively, don't need personal specifics) a few years later. Thanks!

    1. Oh man, so funny you should ask that because I was just thinking last week we need to get those out and revamp a little bit. The idea was to use them each month, but it's been more like twice a year. Which I'll still take, because knowing where those life goals are and plans of what they want to do are so great to think through as an exercise to figure out where you're going (for dave and me too), but we need to work on them more! I'll have to update here when we get them out again (the last time was New Year's).

    2. Twice a year seems great to me! Once a month may get a little overwhelming. I would love an update about them sometime. Thanks for your blog, it's the only one I read regularly.

  3. I was told by a college professor that kids will text or tell their parents all their worries and what they're stressed about! After they texted, most kids get over their stress and move onto the next thing, while the parents sit at home and take on all their stress. Soon enough the parents will check in with the kids and they've already forgotten about it. I have found this to be very true with my sophomore college son. Now I'm just really grateful that he shares so much with me and let him figure things out, while always supporting him! It's the best advice I've ever received!!

  4. good thing the bad mood didn't stay long!
    we're going to Taiwan at the end of the year, it seems wonderful.
    will he be back by then?

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