Latter-day Saint Life

15 ways to support your missionary besides sending a package

missionaries.jpg
Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Now, don’t let the headline fool you—missionaries love receiving packages. Or at least I certainly did while on my mission in Virginia. A box filled with surprises that were thoughtfully handpicked by my mom (even if they were silly things from a dollar store) made me feel loved, supported, and remembered.

But sending packages can also be expensive and time consuming on the part of the family and may not even be possible depending on where your missionary is serving. Luckily, there are a plethora of other ways to make an impact on the emotional and spiritual well-being of the missionaries in your life.

Support from home is not a trivial thing. In the Book of Mormon, the great captain Moroni said that support from home was part of what led to his armies’ succees in their fight for truth: “We have gained power … by our faith, by our religion, and by our rites of worship, and by our church, and by the sacred support which we owe to our wives and our children,” (Alma 44:5, emphasis added).

With that in mind, here are 15 ways you can offer support to your missionary that don’t involve a lot of packing tape and long lines at the post office:

1. Tell them that you miss them. Yes, it’s OK do this. Of course, you don’t want every email or phone call to turn into a sob fest, but I always appreciated hearing that while my family was doing well, they also did miss me. A quick expression like, “We miss you!” reminds missionaries they have a soft-landing place with their family and that their loved ones are thinking of them.

2. Prepare for your communication with them. Every weekly phone call or email has the potential to make a difference in your missionary’s life. Here are a few ways to make the most of weekly contact:

  • If you talk to them on the phone or through video chat, think ahead about what you want to share with them. Keep a running note in your phone of things your missionary would want to hear about. A little preparation can keep the conversation lively and leave your missionary feeling refreshed. Updating your missionary on family life each week will help them feel in the loop and like they haven’t been forgotten. If you email, try to set aside a little time to write an interesting email that your missionary will look forward to reading. You could also consider writing a few lines in an email draft each night rather than trying to write everything down in one day.
  • Remember to tell them how much you enjoy talking to them and how you look forward to it every week.
  • Be a good listener. In emails, follow up on previous conversations to show you care about their life. If you talk on the phone, do whatever you can to be in a place where you can give your missionary your full attention.

3. Take photos of your life specifically for your missionary. My mom was really good about this. She would have our family pause before eating dinner to smile for a picture for me; I really appreciated being thought of even in the small, routine aspects of my family’s life.  

4. Express your confidence in them often. Missionaries can sometimes get so wrapped up in trying to improve and grow that they can forget to acknowledge their progress. Express in letters or over the phone how confident you are that they are doing a great job, how much they’ve grown spiritually, and that they are ready to handle any new challenges that come their way.

▶ You may also like: 3 things missionaries need to remember if their converts stop attending church

5. Be involved on their social media page. If your missionary uses social media to share the gospel, leave thoughtful, appropriate comments on their posts. Missionaries will often ask questions on social media and any response you leave on their post could be seen by people they are teaching. Encourage other friends and family members to do the same.

6. Ask other people to send your missionary a note. Getting an expected, happy message from someone they don’t normal hear from can be just the boost missionaries need. Of course, they love talking to immediate family members, but inviting other people to send a quick note or email can remind them of their larger support network. This becomes especially important after the first few months of the missionary’s service when emails from others have tapered off. Just because a missionary has been out for several months doesn’t mean they no longer need support.

You could also enlist the help of a Primary or youth class to send letters, notes, or pictures to your missionary—any activity day or youth leader would likely welcome an activity idea!

7. Look for ways to introduce a little variety into their life. Sometimes missionary work can start to feel a little bit monotonous and even the smallest change can be exciting. Send them a few really easy breakfast ideas they could try. Print out a photo of the family dog or a pretty sunset that they could hang up on the wall to change their surroundings. Look up a new workout they could do in the morning and send it to them. If you are putting together a package, little things like a new scented lotion or a car air freshener can also shake things up.

8. Look for ways to bring appropriate humor into your missionary’s life. A good laugh can be a great stress reliever. If something funny happens at home, write it down so you remember to tell your missionary, or find an appropriate joke or meme on the internet and send it their way. Missionaries (like everyone else) sometimes just need a reminder to lighten up and laugh.

9. Pray for their companion, their ward, and the people they are teaching. I don’t think I need to tell you to pray for your missionary, but you can also consider praying for the people in their life. Doing so will help you be more sensitive to ways you can help your missionary, and if you let them know you are praying for the people in their life it’s another way to show that you care.

10. If your missionary invites you to do something, do it and report back. Let your missionary’s mission deepen your conversion to Christ, and then tell them about it. Share specific ways their example is helping you to be a better person. Missionaries are anxious to help bring others to Christ and seeing ways they are helping you may give them a greater level of satisfaction in their life.

11. Send occasional handwritten letters. These don’t have to be on a full 8.5 x 11-inch paper. Find a greeting card with a fun design and write them a quick uplifting note. My mom would often tuck a sheet of stickers inside a card and I loved using them in my journal, on letters I sent home, and on thank-you notes to members we worked with.

▶ You may also like: What unexpectedly seeing a photo of an old missionary apartment did for my testimony

12. Write a letter solely dedicated to things you love about your missionary. When one of my companions was having a difficult time feeling confident in herself, she asked her brother to write a letter with a list of things he loved about her. Then when she was feeling low, my companion would pull out the letter and read it and it really seemed to help her. I ended up asking a friend for the same thing and then carefully carried that letter with me my whole mission.

13. Send a gift card with a letter. This may cost you an extra stamp, but a gift card to a fun restaurant can give your missionary something to look forward to. Even $5 is enough to get an ice cream cone! Or even better, send them a few more dollars on the card and tell them to take themselves and their companion out for a treat! Missionaries have to stay within their assigned boundaries, however, so make sure to ask which restaurants are available to them.

14. Share your testimony. Sometimes missionaries need to hear that they are not alone in trying to love the Savior and in trying to do what’s right. Expressing your desire to do those things can be show of solidarity.

15. Seek out missionary opportunities yourself. (Yes, even if you are surrounded by other Church members.) Missionaries are encouraged to work alongside members however they can, but sometimes that assignment can feel frustrating when it doesn’t seem like the members are trying very hard to share the gospel. Assuring your missionary that you are actively sharing the gospel will help them feel like they are not alone in the work. And then when you have missionary experiences, you can share in the joy of that with your missionary or perhaps commiserate together when outcomes aren’t what you hoped for. Becoming a better missionary yourself will help your missionary feel that their service is having an impact.

▶ You may also like: After 29 years, one man sent a Facebook message to a high school friend. Here’s how it led to his baptism

Share
Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content