Mail – we all love it, whether it’s a letter in the mailbox or a “you’ve got mail” message on the computer.  Move thousands of miles away to a new culture, and mail becomes a tremendously important link to those at home.  Here are some suggestions for correspondence which will encourage your missionary:

1.  Don't wait (1)



until you have several hours to write that four-page letter.  Jot a couple of paragraphs while you are waiting to pick up the kids after practice, or sit down at the computer for five minutes and send a quick e-mail before you go to bed tonight.

Frequent short notes are far better than waiting months to write a long epistle.

2. What do missionaries want to read about



Mentally reverse roles.  What would you want someone to share if you were on a different continent?  Tell them about what is changing in your church, your community and your personal life.  Update them about their favorite sports team.  Don’t assume that others will have shared the news or that they wouldn’t be interested.  Missionaries want to feel as if they are keeping up with what’s going on at home.

3. Respond



to what they have shared recently in a prayer letter or e-mail message.

Missionaries are encouraged when they know friends are paying attention to what they write and are interested in what is happening in their lives and ministries.

Assure your missionary friends that you appreciate what they are doing, but don’t treat them like martyrs by highlighting how difficult you think their life is.  Most missionaries love what they do and where they live and don’t consider their calling a hardship.

4. Share



a helpful excerpt from a book or magazine article, or describe something God is teaching you.  Don’t preach a sermon but share a paragraph about your own spiritual journey.

5. Be sensitive



Never comment on political situations or criticize the leaders of the country where your missionary serves.  In certain countries, even missionaries’ e-mail is monitored, and it may compromise their position to refer to any Christian activity or call them “missionaries.”  Check with your missionary for guidelines.

6. Put your note



Beauty and humor brighten the day.

7. Remind your missionary friends



that you are praying for them, then go another step and tell them what you are asking God to do.  Prayer for specific needs warms every missionary’s heart.  Share a personal prayer request with them, too, so they can reciprocate by interceding for you.

Remember your missionaries



and their children on birthdays and holidays.  Check delivery time, and mail your greeting early enough to reach them on time.  (But even if it will be late, send it.  Late is better than never!)

9. Here are some donts



Don’t load your letter with gripes about your church or your family; be upbeat.  Don’t list question after question; make your letter informative not an inquisition.  Don’t send file attachments or large graphic documents via e-mail without checking first.  Some missionaries are charged high fees to down-load large files.  Don’t feel guilty or apologetic if it’s been a long time since you last wrote.

Embarrassment often means you postpone writing even longer.  Don’t expect an immediate answer; understand that to be good stewards of their time and finances missionaries often must rely on group letters.  That doesn’t mean that your letter isn’t important.  Don’t stop writing; most missionaries get a lot of mail at first but little after they have been on the field for a while.

10. Simple enclosures



make receiving letters fun:  Send a new recipe that calls for only basic ingredients, not packaged items.  Enclose a cartoon or newspaper clipping.

Include photos with names and explanations.  where appropriate, send a small gift like a couple of balloons, a sheet of stickers, guitar strings, computer disks, refrigerator magnets, shoe laces, a craft pattern, gift tags, a few sticks of chewing gum, etc.  And don’t forget newspaper clippings about their favorite sports team.  Highlights of an important game or championship can really brighten up their day.

11. Be sure to



include your full name and address, and send your letter airmail.  Airmail is measured by the half ounce rather than the ounce, so make sure you have added enough postage.

12. One last suggestion



Write your missionaries even if you don’t know them personally.  You’ll quickly find you have made new friends who are eager to meet you the next time they are back home.

Find a list of our missionaries and their contact info here.

This information was supplied through a brochure by
The Evangelical Alliance Mission
P.O. Box 969
Wheaton, IL 60189-0969
(800) 343-3144

In Canada: Airways P.O. Box 56030
Calgary, AB T2E 8K5
(800) 295-4160