Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Max's mission call

Max sent in his mission papers a few weeks ago.

Then a week or so ago we got a notification "assignment made 8/28."  

It made my heart jump (as everything related to the mission call has).  We were into September by then so we figured that mission call would be arriving any day (Max put his home address on there rather than his dorm address since he didn't know what that would be when he turned the papers in).  

So every day we checked the mail with butterflies churning inside of us.

Every day Max texted for a report on the "mail check."

So many nerves and so much excitement all the way around.

Two years.  

That's a long time.  Would it be Australia?  Iowa?  Indiana?  Mongolia?  

Dave and I have served missions and we know the impact that they had on our lives, and so much of that impact came from where we served.  The people we met, the things we learned, the trials we had, the joys that filled up our hearts.

All of that thought made me so nervous.  I like to control things and I had no control.  One day when Grace and I were talking she said, "Mom, wherever he's getting called is going to be the exact place he's supposed to be."  And I knew she was right.  Those calls are made by the apostles in the church and a whole board of people who I really do believe are inspired from God.  Sometimes my heart just gets turned in knots of anticipation.

We thought for sure by Friday the call would be here, but Friday came and went with no call.  

On Saturday we went swimming at Dave's brother's house with a bunch of his other siblings (including one in town from Wisconsin) and watched the amazing BYU game.  I wish I had a recording of all the hoopla jumping around cheering when that catch was made in the end zone last second.

We had two cars and raced home to check the mail.  Claire and I got there first, came to a screech in front of the mailbox and she raced over to see what was in there.

And there it was...that big white envelope addressed to "Elder Maxwell David."
If we thought our hearts were pumping before, it was like giant hammers in our chests by this point.

We called Max immediately who immediately HAD to know what was inside that thing.

Now, there's a whole lot I could write about all the thoughts and energy we all put in before the call came trying to figure out how to open that thing together.  We had been trying to figure it out ever since Max turned in his papers.  We wanted to be with him with all our hearts.  At first I figured I'd take Elle and the call up (free companion pass on Southwest), but the other little girls thought they might die if they missed it.  So then I decided we better drive.  That drive would be worth it a hundred times over to be able to give that boy of ours a big hug.  

Dave looked at us all like we were the craziest people on the entire planet.  When he got his call he pulled it out of the mailbox, ripped it open and called his mom a little later to let her know the big news.

And Max, true to form just like his Dad, wanted us to FedEx that thing right up to him so he could just read the dang thing.

A few days before when Dave had realized his girls' desperation (all of us) he had found a relatively good flight to have Max fly down and open it with us...he'd be here for less than 24 hours but we could soak him up and be together for such an important event.  Dave was pretty convinced by this time that this would be the best plan.  

But when we got that thing in our hands all our irrational plans went to pot and Max decided he couldn't even wait for the mail, let alone to fly home the next day.  He wanted to open it over Skype.

So we gathered the girls and my brother Josh too and called that boy up on our big computer screen.  

So here's what happened according to Max's request:

We made some guesses on our big world globe (that wasn't at Max's request, just something the girls whipped up quick):




Dave opened that sucker up.
...and took a picture as best he could without looking and sent it to Max.

And here's a little bit of the footage of what he read:


Here's a little aftermath:

...and a little more:


So, in case you didn't make it through all those tears and excitement, he'll be serving in the Taiwan, Taichung mission and reporting to the Missionary Training Center in January.

That's the mission neighboring Dave's (Dave went to Taiwan, Taipei).  And he will learn Mandarin.

And that boy of ours is over the moon.

One of the craziest things is that one of his volleyball teammates (Curtis who they're talking about in the video) just got his call to the exact same mission to leave on the exact same day.  When you take into consideration that there are 406 missions all over the world, for those two boys to be called to the same one on the same day from our little neck of the woods is pretty crazy.

We all sat and basked in the moment for a long time, taking it all in and talking it all out.  Josh looked up all kinds of cool things about Taiwan on Google Maps and Dave basked in how awesome it's going to be to share the same kind of mission experience with his son.

Grace was pretty excited that she totally called it on the globe:

And Max?

Well, I don't know that he could have been more excited or had a bigger smile stretched across his face.

I think it was even better than being there all together :)

There were tears and Skype hugs all the way around.  A night we won't forget so filled with love and the spirit and excitement for this boy and all the adventures that lie ahead.

Taiwan here he comes!

67 comments:

  1. I served in the Taiwan, Taichung mission. Best mission in the world! He will love it!

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  2. I just found your blog and am obsessed! So exciting! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. That is awesome! Congratulations to Max and to all of your family! Yay for missions and missionaries!

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  4. Awesome! Congrats to Matt and best of luck to him. Perfect timing indeed! We're a Taiwan mission family over here too. My FIL served in Taipei my husband in Kaohsiung, SIL also in Kaohsiung (that mission is now closed) and BIL in Taichung. Little Sister served in Portugal! Ha ha! Congrats.

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  5. Congrats Max! You will bless so many lives in Taiwan! They are so blessed to have such a fine missionary come teach them!

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  6. Yay! Served in Taiwan too. No where better in all the world.
    We are just starting out on this raising kids thing- and your blog has been a great resource to my family and myself. Thank you.

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  7. So exciting! I don't even know your family (other than through your blog) and that brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing experience. I am hoping all of my girls will go on missions too! Congratulations!

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  8. So cool! I know there are a lot of Taiwan missionaries (as with any mission) but I've only met about three so that's exciting!!! My uncle and his family are in Taichong so maybe he'll run into him and get him to convert hehe.

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  9. So exciting! Congratulations and Blessings to Max as he embarks on his mission!

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  10. Being a missionary mom is THE BEST! How exciting!! (And that's where my brother served!)

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  11. I served in Taizhong! I got home a little over two years ago. I served under Pres. Blickenstaff, but only for about 4 weeks. Max won't have him for long, but he will learn so much from him while he has him as his president. The Blickenstaffs are incredible! I also have a really good friend who just got to that mission as well. Who knows, he could be training by the time Max gets there ;) And last random connection. My sister just started at BYU this semester, too. I told her to be on the look out for a super tall guy named Max (I wanted them to meet because our family lived in China for 3 years). Turns out, Max and my sister are in the same ward!! The world is too small =]

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  12. As I was reading the beginning of your post, I was like SKYPE! You have to love technology. I'm crying too! I just love the joy of the entire family. Congrats to Max!

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  13. I cried along with those girls lol
    way to go max.. you will be amazing!!

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  14. Fantastic news!!!

    I know Heavenly Father is pleased with the decision that Max has made & that He will bless him & your family.

    I follow Max on Twitter & got really excited when he announced where he was going. I sent him a message & he favoured it, he made my day.:)

    I love the videos & how excited you all are, I found them very emotional. Thank you for sharing them with us.x

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  15. I don't ever comment, but I love your family! I am so excited for you all! And I loved hearing all of your voices after reading your blog for so long! My oldest is 12 and I am so excited for all of this, but am so thankful I get to hug and love on him for a few more years!

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  16. The selfish mom side of me is so happy that you'll have him around at Christmas! What an exciting time for your family!

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  17. I served in that exact same mission! It's a wonderful place with really wonderful people! Maybe he will learn to like "stinky tofu" and chicken feet. I learned to like a lot of the food but could never quite do those. :) So exciting. What a wonderful, prepared place that island is!

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  18. Wow!!! That's amazing!!!! You must be so proud and how wonderful is it that your husband served in Taiwan too!
    Thank you for sharing this with strangers and not so strangers. It really does make my heart extremely happy!!

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  19. Also, those videos made me tear up! Those sisters sure do love Max!!

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  20. AWESOME! I tear up whenever I watch people open their mission calls- but to see the excitement and emotion from everyone in the family made my tears flow even more! So proud of Max for choosing to serve the Lord and bless the lives of the people in Taiwan. How fun for Dave to share this special mission connection with Max. I look forward to hearing all about the mission experiences in the new year. What a wonderful family you have. - L.A. in WA

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  21. Congratulations! I've never commented before but have followed you for a while so it made me smile to see your family so excited! I am not LDS so don't know much about missions but it is inspiring to see how important it is to Max and his sisters as well.

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  22. So excited for Max! I've been following you since You and your Mom spoke at TOFW in Logan, we have a family friend from Hyrum, UT who just left for that exact mission this summer! His name is Elder Taylor Warner, you should contact his mom on facebook... Terryl Warner!

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  23. I've followed your blog for years and have read your parents books. I love and admire your whole family. Thank you for being such amazing examples and inspiration. Oh, one more thing... CONGRATULATIONS to Max!!!!!!!

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  24. Yippee! Our son served in the Taiwan Taipei Mission, entering the MTC in January 2008. He absolutely loved his mission and the wonderful people.
    This will be a joyful time for your family. Congratulations!

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  25. Congrats! Must be the best feeling in the world knowing you prepared that boy for such a special cause. Go share the good word, Maxwell!

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  26. love love love! he is going to be an amazing missionary! this makes me excited for my three boys to go one day!

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  27. I know President and Sister Blickenstaff....wonderful people! How exciting foe Max and your family!!!

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  28. Congrats! He must be happy to use the Mandarin he already learnt ;)

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  29. What an exciting post to read. Congratulations! I'm wondering how it works with learning the languages for those missionaries not serving in English speaking countries. Mandarin isn't an easy language to learn anyway (I should know as I've lived for 10 years in China and Taiwan and still haven't mastered it). Will the missionaries get language training before they leave or "on the job" so to say?

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    1. I'm not Shawni but i can answer this question. Yes Max will get language training at the Missionary Training center before he heads to Taiwan. I'm not sure the exact amount of time but I think it may be for 12 weeks. What is remarkable is how quickly these missionaries pick up their languages. Honestly it's miraculous and they for sure have divine help!

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    2. Missionaries learning Chinese used to spend 12 weeks, but about 2 years ago (when the age change happened) they dropped it down to 9 weeks. It is absolutely amazing how through the help of the Lord those missionaries learn Chinese in such a short period of time! Obviously they aren't fluent when they leave the MTC, but it's amazing how much they can speak and understand.

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  31. My three nephews (all brothers) served in Taiwan. They loved it!

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  32. How wonderful! I love your family!

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  33. My husband served there, and we traveled there not long after we were married! It is a great place, and the people are so warm and wonderful!!! Some of my favorite people in the whoIe world live in that mission! I am 5'5 and everyone thought I was so tall, so I'm chuckling a little thinking about how people will react to his height! :)

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  34. Way to go, Max & family!! I was so excited to see this post. I've been waiting to find out where he was going to serve....like he is a nephew or something. =))) Good luck, best wishes, and GOD SPEED.

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  35. Coincidentally (?) Maxi's Tools (aka Southwire Tools) are mostly manufactured in Taiwan - that means Dave will probably be taking some business trips in the next 2 years.....if Shawni can tag along then they will probably be able to get permission to see Max.

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  36. So happy to see this documented! It's a moment in time that you'll never forget...especially now that you can see it again any time you want! Wish we'd had skype for our 9 calls! That would be so fun to see now. Love you all!

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  37. This made my eyes swell with tears! His excitement and emotion alongside his adoring sisters. I'm excited for him!

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  38. Although I don't share the same faith, nor do I have an understanding of what all of this means....I have grown to love your family (through your blog) over the last few years, so found myself welling up with tears and tenderness. What a great way to share such big news with each other and us! So does Max put college on hold for 2 years while he is serving? How does that work?

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    1. Yep - college is on hold. But going to BYU, it should be very easy to get back into - BYU is used to lots of people putting studies on hold for missions - - being a church school they very much support it:) My husband didn't start out at BYU back when he did his mission, but he did one semester at a local junior college, left for two years, then picked up where he left off before transferring to a university. In my opinion, whatever educational sacrifices or compromises may arise are equaled out by this wonderful life experience that only serves to enrich future education anyway!

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  39. Wow thanks so much for sharing this with us. The spirit was so strong, I bawled through all your cute videos. My boys are 2 and 3 and I can't imagine how incredible that moment will be. Congrats!

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  40. Congratulations to Max and to all of you! That is so exciting! And I must say I thought of you at the end of the BYU game. Wow, that's all I can say. Wow!

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  41. Well friend, that made me cry. Love and hugs to all of you. Let's get that VA reunion going!

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  42. Shawni!! You should connect with the Varvels! They have a son who's been out there awhile now, his mom is "varvels" on IG!

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  43. She posts stuff from her son a lot! They remind me a lot of you guys!

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  44. Most excellent! Each community needs more "helpers" out serving and unselfishly Loving others! The local Mormon missionaries, here in our town, have provided assistance and loving help to so many Senior citizens in our community. (This reported back from our Protestant Senior neighbor...who was in Hospice at home for a good 7 months) It was a thrill to see these young men and woman stop by and work in her garden...or paint her home...or visit with her. "Love one another" was the message...and it was loud and clear. Our world needs more young people... like your Max. Thank you for sharing.

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  45. Oh my goodness, that was so sweet. I was wondering while watching the first video which one of his sisters was sobbing and then I watched the second video and realized it was all of them. So much love!

    All strength to him. What a good man you've raised.

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  46. Congratulations!!! I am a returned missionary from that very same mission. I just had a reunion with several of the sisters I served with. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I love that little island! He will too.

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  47. That is just too cool! I don't even know you guys and I got a little choked up (actually, I get choked up a lot when watching mission call opening videos!). I think it's because I have a 6 year old boy and I'm imagining this same experience coming in about 12 years - I'll be a mess. A happy mess, but a mess:) Congrats and I'm sure he will be a fantastic missionary!

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  48. Oh my goodness, so exciting! I cried through all the video's right along with your family because I know as a mama, exactly how that feels! I have one still out serving in Florida speaking Haitian Creole and the one that returned from South Korea 5 short months ago - he's getting married if you can believe it! He met his fiancee on his mission. She served a mission in South Korea too! We couldn't be happier! Life is good!

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  49. Congratulations to your family. Now, one of your daughters has to go to Romania, right?

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  50. Congratulations!! Tears are "emotions made liquid." What a wonderful moment for you all!!

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  51. I'm not even Mormon and this video had me crying! So exciting!

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  52. Well that made even me cry! I've been following your blog since your family looked like the photo in the sidebar. Now my kids are nearing the ages of your younger ones. I just cannot believe how quickly it will be until we're in your shoes (although we are not Mormon). Best wishes to Max and all of you! What a neat experience!

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  53. Oh my gosh balled my eyes out! So awesome!

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  54. The exact mission my Husband served! He absolutely loved it. Loves the people, the language...everything. It has also led us down our path to live in China in the near future with our family of 6.
    How exciting to serve where his own father served! Congratulations, and good luck!!

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  55. The exact mission my Husband served! He absolutely loved it. Loves the people, the language...everything. It has also led us down our path to live in China in the near future with our family of 6.
    How exciting to serve where his own father served! Congratulations, and good luck!!

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  56. Hi there! I was Mrs. Matthew's student teacher the year that Max had her for 4th Grade (I was Miss Allen back then.) Rediscovered your website today, and was so excited to see this news of Max's call! Even as a fourth grader, that kid was amazingly smart, kind and mature. He is going to do amazing things in Taiwan! Congrats!

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  57. How wonderful for your family!! Max looked so proud to be serving close to where his Dad served! How special for you. What tender sisters also!! My brother passed away shortly before he turned 19 and us four sisters always wondered if and where he would have served! Such a great video! Thanks for sharing this exciting time for your family!

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  58. Not sure if you'll see this, but Ellen Patton tagged both of us on Instagram today on a post about China--my daughter, Christina (mai jie mei on her name tag) is in the Provo MTC now preparing to go to Taipei on March 9. So, she's 2 weeks in and wow, it's been amazing! She studied Mandarin for 6+ yrs and immersion in the MTC is a whole new ball game. She loves it though and has definitely had to recognize and rely on the Spirit to boost her confidence and remind her whose on her side. A YM in our stake just got back from Taichung and said there's so much work to do right now. Your son will be teaching like crazy! His mom said she was so thrilled with her son's mission she hopes all of her kids go there. Anyway, congrats to Max! Good luck adjusting-- it's a real thing for mission moms too! Invest in Kleenex.

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