Now is the perfect time to start thinking about Christmas presents for missionaries. I know it seems early, but it is not! You might want to send a package or you might want to donate a special amount of money for them to use in buying Christmas things for their own family.
Sending a package to a missionary with Christmas presents in it is a great idea, but it requires a bit of forethought. Contact the missionary you would like to send something to and find out what they might need or like. Also, find out about how to send a package or what you may not be able to send. It may take weeks or months for them to receive it. For more information on sending a package to a missionary, read: how-to-bless-a-missionary-send-them-a-package-week-5/
Sending money as a Christmas gift is also a great idea. This may allow the missionary to buy Christmas presents for their family that they otherwise couldn’t afford. They might be able to purchase something they have been needing or wanting that wasn’t in the normal budget. Find out how to send them money – usually there is a way to make a payment online through their ministry website, but you may have to send in a check. (An added benefit for you – sending money is usually tax-deductible.)
To make an even bigger impact, join together with your Sunday School class, homeschool group, extended family or neighbors and participate together to give an even bigger gift. Your missionary may be able to purchase the washing machine, motorcycle, or car that they have been needing!
What have you sent to a missionary?
One way that we have chosen to bless missionaries is to host them in our home. This also has proven to have an added benefit – our kids see the missionaries and get to know them and their children, even if only for an evening. We have been able to host several missionaries for dinners and lunches in our home. This is a great way for a whole family to be involved, and it doesn’t have to cost a ton of money if your family happens to be on a tight budget.
So, how do you do this if you don’t know any missionaries or don’t know when they will be in town?
- Contact your local pastor and find out what missionaries will be coming through your area. Have your church put you on a list to be contacted when missionaries will be coming.
- Find out when a missionary that you have befriended might be coming through. We had started following the newsletters from, and had written several emails to, a family in Brazil. We soon found out that they would be coming to the US and we offered to feed them or have them stay with us if they were around our area. They ended up driving through for supper on their way to another destination. We might not have ever met them if we had not contacted them and invited them to come.
Growing up, my family benefited from staying with many different people. We had people in different states and cities that we got to know because we ate or stayed in their home. This was a big blessing to us because we did not have extra money to pay for frequent hotels during our travels. We had many people that hosted us for meals, but we also stayed overnight with many people while travelling. We stayed for several weeks one summer in the basement of a family that offered to let us use it. I also benefited from a family that let me stay with them for 2 weeks one summer until my parents came back to visit churches that summer.
Here are a few things to consider in order to be a GREAT HOST:
- Make sure that you have a private area for the missionary and their children to sleep. You would think this would not need to be said, but I’m going to say it anyway. Not everyone seems to know this. You don’t have to have a basement or private apartment…. a normal bedroom will do. It is just awkward if there is no way for them to close a door for privacy or if you expect their children to sleep with yours. Remember, they are strangers and may not feel comfortable with this.
- Find out about allergies. Many people these days seem to have allergies to all sorts of different things. You’d hate to serve spaghetti and find out that they can’t have gluten, prepare food with nuts when they have a life-threatening allergy, or put them in the room the dog normally sleeps in if they are allergic to dogs!
- Prepare your Wi-fi password. Most missionaries these days are very globally interconnected. They may not have a data plan or internet access, and they will likely be very grateful to be able to use your Wi-fi.
- Prepare a gift bag. This can be anything your family would like and can afford. Maybe it’s a collection of travel-sized toiletries for them to use while in your home and take with them. Maybe it has travel activities and snacks for the kids. Maybe it has an item for a home (if they are on home assignment). Maybe you can afford to put some gift cards in. Use your imagination and get the kids involved!
Have you hosted a missionary? Share your ideas with us!
Have you heard of Compassion Experience? I recently learned about this event that happens in cities all across the United States. This is a great way to let your family see what it would be like to live as a child in another country. It is free and open to all ages. I plan to attend with my family, and I would love to know if you have been and what you thought about it? Leave some comments!
Want to see where you might find a Compassion Experience near you? Look here: Compassion Experience