I remember when I first arrived in Hong Kong for my mission the FIRST...ok, maybe not the absolute first, but one of the first things that they had us do was order business cards. What?! Why? Well, it seems that the Chinese really like business cards and it's customary to hand one to a person when you're introducing yourself. It really is a great way to start up a conversation (IF you can actually get them to open the door to receive said business card). Think about it...if someone hands you a card what is the first thing you do? You take it and look at it, right? Gives you another 10-20 seconds to get your intro out of your mouth and maybe, just maybe they will be interested now that they've given you a chance to say what you're there for. Brilliant, right? The card had the name of the church, our name, and the mission home's address and phone number. What idea will they come up with next? Did you know that one of the ways that the gospel was spread in Yugoslavia prior to the iron curtain falling, was through yoga classes? That little factoid is from my dad. Thanks, Dad!
When Mason left on his mission I typed his MTC address and the mission home address in Ohio onto quarter sheets of paper and had them available for family and friends to take with them. When Matt left...I got smart. I copied my friend Brenda's fine example and made business cards with his new addresses and photo. I did NOT include his email address. (see * at the end of this post)
I already had a package of business cards that you can print out on your home computer. They are already perforated and you just run the sheet through your regular printer then fold them and they break apart. A template number is listed on the outside of the business card package. Use your computer and this template number to make your cards. Just design one and then cut and paste everything onto the other cards. I used Microsoft Publisher to make my cards because I wanted to be able to shift elements around but you could use Word and make them like an address label. (click here for instructions on how to make labels using Microsoft Word.)
For an easy way to collect contact information from your family and friends, have a notebook available for them to record their information for you. Put a stack of your missionary's address cards nearby for them to take. You can also use this information to make a quick and easy address book for your missionary.
I think this might actually have been easier than the quarter sheets of paper!
*Mason, our first missionary son, informed us that he really didn't prefer for his family and friends to email him. While I and usually his dad, did send weekly emails we really tried to encourage others to just write letters for the following reasons:
1. Missionaries really, REALLY love to get mail!
2. Missionaries only have a limited amount of time on Pday to access their email account. If they spend most of that time just reading their emails, when will they write me the long email that I've been craving? Priorities! Am I right?
3. Usually missionaries don't have access to a printer, or don't have the change necessary for the printer if they are at the library so they can't actually print out the emails. Mason said, "A letter I can read and re-read." Little more difficult when the computer that you have access to is across town at the library or internet café.