Time flies so fast! It felt like it was just Monday yesterday. I suppose things went too fast for me because a lot of interesting things happened this week.
The funny one: on Wednesday evening we got locked out of the apartment! We somehow forgot to bring the key with us when we went out for work. The zone leaders would not be home until Thursday evening, and the landlord was out of town. We informed the zone leaders about the situation, and they called the assistants, and they subsequently told us to sleep over at another missionary apartment. Ultimately, we did not get to work on Thursday and I actually felt horrible on the inside.
What happened to the e-mails? I noticed a decrease in the numbers of e-mail I receive every week.
We missionaries love mail. Your letters and packages give us reassurance that you haven’t forgotten us while we are away from home serving the Lord. I remember I would receive this plenty of e-mails during my first weeks on my mission, and how I wish I would still receive the same support I once had! Ask the other returned missionaries in our ward, they can testify of the joy of receiving news from home, and please know that we always make time to read them no matter how busy we are.
If you are running out of ideas on what to write about, let me give you some suggestions I found in a New Era magazine 8 years ago.
Messages from Family and Friends
When you write to missionaries, tell them the important things that are happening in your life with school, family, and the gospel. Write as though you were talking to them face to face.
“I think it is very important to receive letters that are related to the gospel and the work of the missionary,” says Devin McCabe, who served in the Brazil Campinas Mission. “Keep your sense of humor, but stay focused on the true nature of missionary work. The more encouraged a missionary can be, the better the work will go.”
“Friends should write about spiritual or missionary experiences they’ve had in order to keep up the enthusiasm of their missionary,” says Elder Jesse Rock, serving in the Mexico Guadalajara South Mission. “They shouldn’t write about gossipy little things like who likes who or the party they went to last week. Those are a distraction.”
If you dated someone who is now serving a mission, make your letters friendly and encouraging, but not romantic. You can help missionaries focus on the work of the Lord with uplifting letters and reassurance that they are where they need to be. Avoid romantic allusions.
“Write about the blessings that you have received through his mission,” advises Eric Elggren, who served in the Brazil Londrina Mission. “Write about what you are doing to help the missionaries at home.”
Here are some more ideas.
Things to ask about
- •The work, the schedule, the culture, and the experiences of your missionaries.
- •Who your missionaries are teaching. When they tell you the names of their investigators, follow up in your next message and ask about them by name.
Things to share
- Insights you’ve gained in seminary or Sunday lessons.
- A scripture you’ve found meaningful.
- Testimony-building experiences you have had.
- News about mutual friends who are also serving missions.
Things to avoid
- Don’t ask how many baptisms missionaries have had. The people in some missions are more receptive to the gospel than others. Encourage them in their work as they plant and spread the seeds of the gospel.
- Don’t criticize missionaries, even if they haven’t written back to you.
- Don’t mention every problem that arises at home. There are some problems they should know about, but there are many others that would only worry or distract them unnecessarily.
Missionaries love packages. But it’s especially nice when the family remembers to include a small item or two for the companion.
The New Era asked a few returned missionaries about items they appreciated receiving that were useful and still reminded them of home. Here are some suggestions:
- Familiar-tasting toothpaste
- Dry drink mix
- Seasoning packets
- Recipes for simple dishes
- Gift certificates to chain restaurants (only if mailed in the same country)
- Letters from younger siblings, cousins, or Primary children [Mom, you need to do this]
- A favorite treat
Philippines San Pablo Mission