Yes it's late on a Monday, but still Monday :)
There's so much happening in our family right now, and that of course includes Max over on the other side of the world in Taiwan.
He has been "training" with his first "on island" companion for twelve weeks, and he got a new companion as of today for his first "transfer." He's staying in the same area, rural south Taiwan, so he'll be showing his new companion around.
He loved his trainer and has learned so much from him. We all feel so grateful he got such a great kid to help him adjust to mission life.
Each week we hear from this boy of ours, and usually the letters start out something along the lines of, "This week has been one of the happiest weeks of my life. Not a lot of super awesome miracles happened, but I am just so freaking happy to be a missionary!"
And he ends all his letters with a little Chinese. 張豐驛
And sometimes there's not a whole lot in between :) But other times he does a pretty great job answering our questions.
He is feeling a lot more confident with the language, but it takes a lot of work. He and his companion have been getting up extra early to study it, and then they go out and talk, talk, talk with the people which has got to help a lot. He says he's getting used to the different foods and is starting to really like it.
They teach an English class once a week (I think)...here is a picture of some of their students:
He sends us some pretty random pictures and I love to see into more of his life over there.
He was so happy to run into one of his good friends from high school who is in the same mission one week at a group training meeting:
It is rainy season over there and I think he gets drenched a lot.
Here's one of his letters answering Dave's questions:
Hey Dad! This week was super hard with the rain and the people but super rewarding and satisfying. I went on exchanges with one of our Zone Leaders, he is super awesome and I learned a lot from him! He was super good with testifying and inviting everyone. And he was also super good friends with Howie in High School!
I finished all my pass offs this week! So now I am able to work on other stuff like common words and characters. Right now for studies Elder Porter and I wake up at aboutand study the language and try to do a good workout (try) I am trying to memorize the first box of characters right now because I don't have the common words box yet. then during set apart language study I do gospel stuff and terms and phrases.
One p-day they took a little trip to this cool place:We also do this thing in the back of our planners where we write down all the words we hear and don't understand and translate them and so I study that during the meals and stuff. Chinese, its crazy!P-Days are usually emailing and errands! most letters are from missionaries I love reading them!Fav part of the day besides personal study iscontacting! We usually go tracting [go out and just talk to random people on the street] and its super fun because I meet so many interesting people and we get to meet a lot a cool families(Who usually reject us)I don't hate any of the food, I love somethings more than others but I am getting used to the fishy taiwanese taste.
(P-day stands for "preparation day"...kind of their day off to do laundry, grocery shop, explore, etc.)
They bike all over the place.
Some more question answering right after graduation:
Dad, Thanks for the awesome letter! I can't believe Elle just graduated!! What the heck??
Honestly the mission has been super awesome. There are some growing pains with it, there are some stresses, but none of it is super big but I do write it all in my journal. I just feel like its all going super 順利 right now but I know it will get harder fast. Of course the mission is super uncomfortable and weird, talking to strangers about how a guy that they have never heard of is going to help them, but I am getting used to being uncomfortable.
His companion sent this picture:The language is actually going really well. I feel like this week I broke a barrier with it, I can have some conversations with people pretty fluidly now. There are always those people who I just nod my head and agree with though, hahah. This week Elder Porter and I made some calls and for the whole hour I had my own phone and never had a problem talking with people. The Lord is helping me so much, I can feel His influence in every part of the work, and praying for miracles will bring them!Any tips for me? With anything? anything you learned on your mission that was super valuable to you?Love the fam so much read this to them! Love you guys!
And then today, those cute boys said goodbye to each other...
.. and set off for new adventures.
Not only does Max have a new companion this week, he gets a new mission president too. Remember this miracle story back HERE?
Yes I already posted that picture back there, but I'm putting it here again because I loved this day so much. Go back and read that story if you want more details.
So it's off for all kinds of new adventures for this boy of ours.
Sometimes I miss him so much it physically hurts. There were some times when we were on our family trip where I had to catch my breath for a little bit because I was missing him so much. Sometimes it doesn't seem right that everything isn't just frozen in time while he's gone.
But of course all of us must keep going and learning and growing even as we are missing with all our souls sometimes. And even with the missing, there's no where else on the planet I'd rather have that boy of ours be right now. The growth and love filling up our inboxes on Sunday nights is almost tangible and I'm so happy for him and so grateful for the example he is to each of us back home.