Tuesday, January 30, 2018

HOW TO write to full-time LDS Missionaries (what to write, what NOT to write)




Sending letters/packages to missionaries serving in the field is a common service activity. As a returned missionary myself, I can tell you that mail is a vital part of a missionary's life. What seems like a simple letter to us is a big deal to a missionary. It is their link to home, friends/family, and support. They may go weeks without anything in the mail, so when something finally comes (no matter who its from), they may read an re-read the same letter many times (I am not exaggerating. When I was a full-time missionary, I saved & re-read my letters many times over).

When I was a missionary, it was before missionaries used email, so we only got letters in the mail. I received mail from relatives and friends, and occasionally from ward members. But I would have loved more -much more- mail. Once I received an envelope of letters from a family in my home ward who it seems had written letters to both me and their grandma for a family home evening activity. I only know this because (after a few seconds of confusion after opening the envelope), I realized that I had received an envelope with letters meant for the family's grandma (thanking her for the birthday presents, etc), and I can only imagine that their grandma also received an envelope that day, with letters meant to encourage a missionary. :) The point is, any mail is better than no mail. I actually read those thank you letters to grandma several times over the next few days. I was that excited to get ANY mail - I am NOT exaggerating!!!! 

Me, serving a mission in Minnesota (1997)
While any mail is welcome, you do want to consider what you say in your letter, especially since it is so important to the missionary. For example, an innocent question about the number of baptisms they've had might be painful to a missionary who is struggling to even find someone to teach. Or, a  letter with hints of romantic intentions might be really distracting to a missionary who is trying to focus on their work.

Our good friend, Elder Heiden, serving in Brazil

While many people (and missionaries) use email for correspondence now, the same principles apply whether you are doing a physical letter (snail mail) or an email...

It's common to do a letter-writing activity for mutual or FHE, but it can be really difficult to know what to write. Just try to keep things light and positive! 

HERE IS A CONVENIENT CHART THAT PROVIDES SOME GREAT IDEAS FOR WHAT TO TALK ABOUT (THINGS TO SHARE AND THINGS TO ASK) AND ALSO SOME TIPS FOR THINGS THAT IT IS BEST TO AVOID: 


Feel free to print this out for a reference!

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