No matter how much a missionary loves their mission, they are always going to yearn for home during holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions. Those at home have the opportunity to brighten a missionary’s day by helping them feel loved, but not distracted. Heartfelt gifts are the best way to show love to your missionary.
Here are five ideas for heartfelt gifts to send your missionary’s way:
1) Message Book
Send out an email or Facebook message to all your missionary’s friends, former companions, or those who are close to them. Ask them to write a short note about what they love about your missionary. Compile them and send a little book made of all the sweet messages encouraging your missionary.
Missionaries are always looking at the calendar for planning and preparing. I loved having a calendar that had different pictures of my family for each month as well as birthdays, anniversaries, and other important events that were going on throughout the year back home. As a missionary, you get so caught up in what is going on in the field that you forget or lose track of time and of what those you love back home are experiencing. I loved being able to look at the calendar every day and take a minute to think about what those back home were doing before I started my day.
My best friend’s mom made the most adorable quilt before I went into the MTC. It was pretty small and not too bulky which was perfect. At my farewell, I had a fabric pen and my friends and family wrote encouraging notes on the back. I had this at the foot of my bed every night of my mission, and I had my companions sign the back of it. It was a constant reminder of the support I had back home and always spiced up a drab missionary apartment. Even if your missionary has already left for the field, making or buying a simple, small blanket, quilt, or pillowcase (if they’re in a warm, tropical area) and having loved ones sign it will be a heartfelt and appreciated gift.
4) Testimonies from the family
I cannot think of anything better than making a small journal and having siblings, parents, grandparents, cousins, and friends write short testimonies within it. I loved receiving emails from my siblings and having them express their love for the Savior and devotion to the gospel. But since I didn’t have access to email every day, it would have been wonderful to come home after a long, discouraging day, glance at the testimonies of those I love most, and have the reminder that although my investigators might not accept my message, those I love are living and expressing their love for the gospel.
5) A gift for the companion
I served with many amazing companions who came from all different walks of life. Most of my companions were not American and came from very humble circumstances. I loved receiving a package from my mom and seeing that the first thing within was something for my companion. This made me happier than anything else I received for myself because of how happy it made my companion.
It is important to note that before you send a package, you should check with your missionary and the mission office. In some parts of the world, sending a package is very expensive, and some missionaries might have to pay to receive your packages. If it becomes difficult for you to send packages to your missionary, know the most important thing you can give them during their service to the Lord is words of encouragement and expressions of love for the Savior. I don’t remember everything my mother and friends sent to me as a missionary, but I remember how I felt when I read their words of love and encouragement and how that helped me carry out my missionary purpose.
Aubrey Porter is a featured contributor for LDS Living. She is 6 feet tall. She's a history teacher and a lover of sweaters, the outdoors, a good hamburger, and her tall husband. Find more missionary tips and stories from Aubrey at her blog, gospelgirlrm.blogspot.com.