You call that an email?

10 easy ways to get your missionary to communicate…

I remember a friend telling me once how frustrated she was that her missionary son only wrote two sentences each week to the family. She felt robbed of a sense of his mission experience and feeling a part of the growth he was undergoing.

While it is important for those of us who are at home to get news from our missionary, the lack of information, from time to time, is probably a sign that your missionary is working very hard, is highly focused, and enjoying the experience.

However, if your missionary finds it hard to write more than a sentence or two every week, or is persistently missing those weekly emails, then there are some things that you can do to encourage a better flow of news and information.

Before listing those things I wish to highlight something that each of us need to remember. In the July 2003 Ensign, Dallas and Marjorie Bradford wrote,

“Once your missionary enters the MTC, everything you say and do should help him or her stay focused on the task and challenges ahead”.

I cannot stress this point more. A missionary’s number one purpose for being where they are is to do the work of the Lord. So all our communications with them should be limited to topics that allow them to maintain their focus. But I will talk more about this in another post…

In doing some research for this post I came across an article from the March 1989 Ensign, under ‘Random Sampler’, that suggested missionaries could purchase, “some loose-leaf paper about half the size of an Ensign page” and slip a piece of carbon paper between a sheet and their journal. Then, by writing in their journal each day, they could also include a copy of their daily journal entry with their weekly letter home.

Well, we have come a long way since then haven’t we?

So here are the 10 top suggestions on how to get your missionary to write more interesting and newsy emails each week. You can try one, or all of them:

  1. Keep your emails simple. Don’t overload them with so much information that your missionary can’t work out where to start to reply to them.
  2. At the end of each email to your missionary, list three specific questions you would like them to answer in their reply email. This is for two main reasons:
    1. Firstly, by separating the questions from the body of your email, it becomes apparent to your missionary what you most want to know about.
    2. Secondly, by putting them at the end of the email, your missionary will be more likely to remember to answer them.
  3. Encourage them to keep a journal if they are not already doing it. Even if it is just a couple of sentences a day recording what they did.
  4. Ask them to bring their journal with them the next time they write an email to you and share one thing they have recorded in it over the last week.
  5. Ask them to attach at least two photos they have taken over that week and include a quick comment about each one.
  6. Ask specific questions, such as:
    • Where did you work this week
    • Name two people you contacted, and what were their responses
    • What is their apartment like, or what do they see out their bedroom window.
  7. Keep your emails brief so they have enough time to answer.
  8. If you can’t get them to write weekly, then get a loose-leaf binder for them to write in as their journal. Then get them to send home some of the pages each month through the mail…that carbon paper idea is looking better every minute.………
  9. …….
  10. …….

Ok, so I didn’t make it to 10 as promised. But I am sure that there are some great ideas out there. PLEASE share them with us here.

What is it that you do to encourage your missionary to write more?

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