Share the Experience
16. Try a new food
Chances are, your missionary has had to try a new dish or two while they've been out. From delicious cultural meals to unappetizing animal parts, there's probably some new food your missionary has eaten that you could try, too. If you like to cook, google a recipe, shop at a market that sells cultural ingredients, and whip it up at home. You could also go out to a restaurant or have a potluck with friends that cook the native foods of your missionary's land.
Whatever food you decide to try, be sure to get some good pictures and share the experience with your missionary.
17. Have a live-like-your-missionary day
Does your missionary sleep on a yo instead of a bed? Use chopsticks? Eat sitting on the floor? Ride a bike or walk everywhere? Live without amenities like electricity or running water? Your family (especially young kids) would love trying out these new lifestyles themselves by having a sleepover on the floor or using chopsticks for a meal. Once again, be sure to take pictures and share them with your missionary.
18. Put a twist on New Year's resolutions
Have you had the same New Year's resolution for the last few years in a row? You might find new motivation by putting a "missionary twist" on your goals. Trying to lose weight? Adopt you're missionary's 30-minute morning workouts and pretend like you're exercising together. Trying to find more meaning in your scripture study? Adopt the missionary practice of studying with someone else in mind. Want to take charge of how you spend your time? Adopt nightly or weekly planning, and adapt the items in chapter eight of Preach My Gospel to your own needs. If you get creative, you can put a "missionary" spin on almost any New Year's resolution for extra spiritual umph and an additional tie to your missionary.
19. Mark your calendar in transfers
In the missionary world, time is primarily marked in six-week chunks called "transfers." Your missionary probably measures time by transfers rather than months because many missionary milestones happen at the beginning of a new transfer. New area? New companion? New leadership assignment? Unless it's an emergency, these changes will always come at six-week intervals. Missionaries also use transfers to track longer-term goals.
Marking your calendar according to your missionary's unique six-week schedule will let you share in the periodic suspense of a new transfer and be more aware of the transitions that occur in your missionary's life. Thinking in terms of transfers may also be great for your own goal setting when a month is too short to accomplish a project or to formulate a new habit.
20. Use a map
It's likely that your missionary often references cities and areas you are unfamiliar with as they explain their experiences. Instead of skimming over these places, try looking them up on a map. There are many street-view maps that have astonishing detail, and you can gain great insight by virtually walking the streets of your missionary's area. You'll get a feel for what the buildings look like, where the mountains are, distances between cities, etc. Immersing yourself in your missionary's location this way can often inspire new fodder for questions to ask them in your next email as well.