Ryan Hancock, owner of Missionary Support Gear, understands this personally. “On my mission, we would meet people, we would teach people, we would get close to people, and then they would want a picture to always remember us,” he said.
With this in mind, Hancock set out to make custom missionary trading cards—a way to provide mission friends and contacts with information to get in touch with the missionary again. His idea was to combine all those elements that a loved one or a new but dear friend, such as an investigator, would like to have: a picture, a hometown, a home Church unit, a favorite scripture, and a brief testimony.
Hancock also intended the partial sale of these cards to contribute to the General Missionary Fund, living up to the original founding purpose of Missionary Support Gear—the business had been started to help Hancock serve his own mission.
“It actually started with my mother when I went on my mission, back in the early nineties,” said Hancock.
His mother had sold t-shirts, and with it, been able to help fund her son’s mission. When Hancock returned, he wanted to continue with the idea, to continue to try to help missionaries by giving to the General Missionary Fund. “Giving back to the Church would be a great way to help out,” he said. “In my case, when I was younger, I was foolish and didn’t save enough money for my mission, and my parents had to get help from the General Missionary Fund. And I thought, there are a lot of people probably in the same situation who didn’t have an opportunity to save money.”
But the idea went to the backburner while he pursued other interests.
Then had the idea for the cards. Hancock remembered his own experiences with friends on the mission, and when he saw his dad’s baseball cards, thought, “Wouldn’t that be really cool if a missionary could hand something like this out to friends, family, people that they baptized, and it’s got everything they need,” he said. “It’s got information so that, if that person wanted to contact them again, they could.”
In keeping with the original mission of the business, Missionary Support Gear donates a portion of the proceeds from their sales to the General Missionary Fund.
Hancock hopes the idea will help support missionaries financially, as well as emotionally when they try to recall their mission experience. “I look back at my mission, and there’s a lot of companions that maybe I would have kept more in touch with. And I’m a very sentimental person,” he said. “I pull out scrapbooks and I just relive memories. Hopefully that will be something that missionaries will be able to do with this.”
Visit missionarytradingcards.com to find out more.