I can see it now. It is that special day of the week, and you have been sitting around twiddling your thumbs for the past hour. Then the time finally arrives. You run to your computer and excitedly refresh your inbox. Boom. An email from your missionary! You scream with excitement and do a happy dance around the room.
Okay, okay. Maybe your reaction isn’t as extreme as this (although I am about 92.99999% sure that this is what my mom did when she received my first email home). You shouldn’t be ashamed of the fact that you love to hear from your missionary. But what we sometimes forget is that our missionaries love to hear from us too. Sure, we write. But to be honest, I have received some emails from home that looked more like college essays than actual emails! So what do your missionaries really want to receive in their emails from you?
Getting a picture of your missionary is the best gift in the world. You carefully scrutinize every detail and angle (in my family’s case, it was to see if I was gaining weight…which I was). Yet, sometimes we forget that our missionaries want to scrutinize us too. The pictures I received from my family when I was on my mission were worth their weight in gold. I would print them and then proceed to show those pictures to every person I met.
We see ourselves every day, so the changes in our appearance are not always apparent. But missionaries only see you when you remember to send pictures of yourself. I would beg my family to send pictures—even if it was just a picture of them lounging around in pajamas eating guacamole. Snap a quick selfie to send—it will take you all of two seconds.
Now you might be thinking, “why not send my favorite scripture?” And you can! But remember that your missionary is studying the scriptures for at least an hour every day. Missionaries are not restricted to just reading the scriptures. Sometimes it is fun to shake things up a little. I love sending short quotes from General Authorities, or just inspirational quotes that I find funny. The internet is full of encouraging quotes and fun sayings. You can even check out our Share Gallery for ideas. The sky is the limit.
You may not have thought it was funny when you slipped off the back of your swing, bruising your tailbone and rendering you unable to walk for three days straight, but trust me, that story will definitely bring a smile to your missionary’s face. Missionaries love to laugh! Reading about how you needed to run to the grocery store again after forgetting to buy ketchup might not exactly float their boat. Be energetic and excited about the stories you tell. Even the simplest of situations can be explained in amusing ways.
By questions, I don’t mean the generic, “How are you?” or “How goes the work?” I mean specific questions that will allow the missionaries to explain what they are experiencing in greater detail. “Did you actually get rid of that lizard in your apartment?” “Can you finally ride your bike without giving your trainer a heart attack?” “You asked your investigator to come to church last week, was she able to make it?” Questions like this will show your missionary that you have been paying attention, instead of just asking the same five questions over and over again.
Don’t be hesitant to express your love and appreciation to your missionary. Tell them you are proud of them. Bear your testimony to them. Encourage them to make each day count. Don’t be preachy, but your love and support can really help your missionary to push through the difficult days. Remember that you can never say “I love you” enough, and just be yourself! At the end of the day, your missionary wants to hear from you. Not some stuffy, monotonous version of you that sounds like a butler from the 18th century. Have fun writing your emails, and don’t worry too much about making them perfect—there is always next week.