Four Questions to Ask Your Missionary Before Sending a Care Package

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Care packages are a great way to encourage missionaries and send them a bit of home—but sending care packages can also be tricky. In some countries, care packages and their contents can present a huge hassle for your missionary. Always coordinate care packages with missionaries before sending them. Here are four questions you should ask:

1. How long does it typically take a package to reach you?

Packages sent overseas could take months to arrive. If you’re trying to send a timely care package, like a birthday or Christmas gift, give yourself plenty of lead time.

2. What’s your shipping address?

Ask your missionary exactly how to fill out the shipping label—specifically whether it should be in English or a local language. If the shipping address is incorrect, it might never reach your missionary.

3. Are there items we shouldn’t mail?

Make sure whatever you send will make it through customs. Some countries have quotas on what you can send and how much, missionaries might have to pay for some items, and some items are likely to get stolen. On another note: some items don’t mail well. Chocolate, for instance, usually melts before making it to a destination. If physical packages are too much of a hassle, consider how you might be able to send a gift card through email—but be sure to ask your missionary if the gift should be in local currency.

4. What do you miss?

For many missionaries, the support and encouragement found in a care package is much more meaningful than the contents—but it’s still nice to send a few of their favorite things from home. Ask them what they miss the most or what they need and aren’t able to get where they are. Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Handwritten notes
  • Favorite snacks
  • Cooking spices
  • Coffee
  • Books
  • Holiday-specific decorations and ingredients
  • Toiletries or personal items
  • Small candles or other scented items
  • Pictures of family and friends
  • Games or toys for children

When missionaries receive care packages, they see more than a box of things—they see someone who spent time and energy thinking about them. They experience your care.

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I am an international staff with Resonate Global Mission.  One way to bless us with "care packages" is to alert visiting teams or volunteers to connect with missionaries on the field in advance to ask them if there is anything they could like to bring along.  We don't always find out about such visitors on the field until it is too late to make those sorts of arrangements.

Diana Boot

Community Builder

I agree!  Sometimes communication is very poor among our organizations.  When people live overseas, sometimes having someone take something as small as an envelope with an updated credit card in it is extremely important and appreciated.  Yet it doesn't work if people don't inform us that interns or short term teams are coming.

Admin

I find this list very practical and helpful. Thank you! Thanks also to Diana for your comment. 

Guide

I was surprised to see coffee and spices listed, since those are things that I buy when I visit the field :-)