Well . . .
While we're on the subject of missionary work . . .
You wouldn't think it would be that complicated! But ask any young man receiving mail as a missionary . . . and any young woman trying to figure out what to write to her missionary . . .
Writing a letter to a missionary can be tricky!
((OOOPS! Strike that and reverse it - as many young men will probably be now writing to the sisters who are far away from home serving a mission :)
After having sons and daughter either go on missions or write to missionaries . . . I do know that . . .
You want to be positive, say something incredibly inspiring, not come off sounding too needy back here at home without the missionary (or really NOT needy at all!), you don't want to cause the missionary any undo worry about situations at home that are out of his/her control . . . you want to entertain (at least a little bit!).
Sooo . . .
What does that leave you?? What to say??
To start with . . . if you have the time, and the envelope and stamp . . . nothing is better than a hand written letter. You can express so much more, and who doesn't love to get the WHOLE business. Finding a letter in the mail box, examining the return address for possibilities, opening it up and sitting down wherever you are for a good update from home.
If you are especially talented, you can include hand drawings, funny (appropriate comics), funny stories or all of the above!
President Gordon B. Hinckley shared some specific information about writing letters to missionaries -
In the first place there should be mail from home. Some families have difficulty writing letters, and my heart goes out to a missionary who does not receive regular mail from home. Generally a letter once a week is a good rule. But on the other hand, too much mail can be damaging to a missionary’s morale.
To be effective a missionary has to move away from home; so the kind of mail he receives will make a vast difference in what he does and how he feels. Letters that set forth the problems at home, that dwell on the difficulties, hurt the morale of the missionary.
Wise letter writers will be sure to state their positive feelings—how proud they are to have a missionary in the field, how the Lord is blessing them because of his work in the ministry. Such letters bless the life of a missionary.Some good topics to start with . . . write about their mission, you can google much more easily than they can . . . focus on the positive! Be sure to share any missionary experiences you are having back at home, or mission prep stories, or great testimony building experiences . . . (hopefully you ARE having those back at home also!) Write about your scripture insight from this morning, tender mercies you experienced, fun family gatherings.
Think of a positive and uplifting topic that has to do with their location in the world. Is anyone famous from their assigned location? Did they have anything interesting to say?
Questions are good . . . show an interest in what they are really doing everyday!
Short letters are okay also! Just as much fun to receive. Just nice to know somebody is out there thinking of you and you're not entirely forgotten after all :) Cards to celebrate the different holidays are fun to receive, and don't take my time away from the work.
Avoid any topics that might possibly detract from the spirit of the work. Those missionaries work really hard to have the spirit with them EVERY day . . . they don't need a little set back by way of a letter from friends or home with inappropriate topics. If you think it might be inappropriate . . . it probably is.
There . . . now get out a piece of paper and a pen today . . . and make some missionary somewhere's day!