Every morning on my mission I had one eye on my missionary-approved books and the other on a long window that overlooked the car park. I was waiting for the quick flash of yellow, a familiar smudge on my peripheral vision. When that happened, I knew it was mail time!

Mail from back home was worth its weight in gold. Whatever I received in the mail became a little bit of escapism, a much-needed break from the demanding lifestyle of missionary work.

With this in mind, I’ve put together some ideas to help you enrich, boost, encourage, fortify, and support your missionary. Obviously most of us email now, but we all know there’s something magical about getting some good old fashioned mail.

Be Supportive

Whether they’re serving a few cities away, or halfway across the world, a mission isn’t easy for anyone. Start your letter with encouragement. We are so proud/ It was awesome to see you make that step/ Nice one mate.

During some of the hardest times of my mission, a letter or email kept me going. They were heaven sent. Think about what it would mean to you to have a friend of relative just say. “Good on ya, keep it up” during a hard time. I suggest that the start of your letter be kind of a mini pep talk. You know, the one’s moms give, not football coaches.

Note: be careful not to sound preachy.

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Be Informative

Now comes the bulk of the letter. They want to know the ins-and-outs of family life, church life, work life, and social life. In all honesty they want the down-low, gossip, the scoop, the newsworthy, and the not-so-newsworthy. Who’s little sister dating? Who’s got a new calling? Who’s just spent way too much money on a new car? Who got onto the football team and who didn’t?

What many missionaries don’t want is a testimony meeting. Think of it like this: the last thing a doctor wants to do after coming home from work is to switch on the TV and watch ER or Greys Anatomy.

In this same vein, it’s good to remember that missionaries love the gospel, they love faith promoting stories, but not pages and pages of testimony bearing. They are immersed in that all day, every day.

It doesn’t have to be “News of the year”. Just tell them about something interesting.

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Note: Be careful with themes, no politics or things that might get them stressed out. Don’t vent, and be careful not to burden them with things they can’t control. Probably don’t mention previous girlfriends… but you decide.

Be Engaged In the Work

It’s also good to let your missionary know about other people who have received mission calls, or people who are preparing for missions. Let them know how the home ward/branch is doing with its missionary efforts, including who’s been reactivated or recently baptised.

Let them know how family members are progressing in the gospel. If there are events like baptisms, EFY camps, seminary graduations, or temple trips, send them a couple of photos. Missionaries become way more interested in missionary work and spiritual progression back home than they did before they left.

Sharing this helps them feel a part of a team, and that missionary efforts don’t go unnoticed. So get to know your local missionaries.

Note: Be careful not to talk about people who have chosen to be less-active or are struggling with their faith, if there is nothing the missionary can do to support them. Don’t give them problems.

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Be Yourself

You know the human-interest story at the end of a news broadcast? “Cat-up-a-tree” kind of deal? Add something like that. Finish up with something light like a funny moment, family story, or personal interest bit.

The lifestyle that missionaries lead isn’t light; it can be intense, and the weight of the salvation of their whole teaching pool rests of their shoulders. Offer them something jovial, interesting, or funny. Make them smile.

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Include a photo

At least one. It speaks a thousand words. But “Calling all girlfriends out there” Make sure it’s not going to make him miss you like crazy, don’t be mean! If there’s a new niece or nephew, for goodness sake: include a photo!

Quick recap

  • Be supportive: You’re doing great!
  • Be informative: Here’s the low-down
  • Be engaged in the work: This is how we’re doing spiritually
  • Be yourself: Crack them up, give them a bit of you
  • Include a photo: Make it appropriate

Last two tips. 

It doesn’t have to be LONG and it doesn’t have to be a WORK OF ART.

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So that’s it. These are not hard-and-fast rules to letter writing. You know what your missionary loves and it likely hasn’t changed. Write about it! Even if you don’t write much, they’ll love you for taking the time to let them know that they are remembered and loved.

Any questions, email: [email protected]

 

lds missionary, mission prep, mormon missionary, mission geek

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