Saturday, May 3, 2014

Letter Writing Kit

I remember pdays being absolutely CRAMMED with too much to do and too little time to do it in: laundry, writing letters home, internet cafe (or library or family history center wherever free WiFi exists), chores, grocery shopping, etc. and occasionally activities with other missionaries in our District and if you aren't lucky enough to have a car (even if you are lucky you probably wouldn't choose to use your limited amount of miles doing personal things) everything is slowed down by the fact that you have to walk there, bike there or rely on public transit.  On my mission I put together a letter writing kit that was easy to throw into my bag and have everything that I needed at hand, that way I could use the time that I had while traveling on the bus or waiting on laundry to write letters home.  Here's what I put together for Matt before he left for Seattle:

I purchased a clear plastic re-closeable envelope from an office supply store. There were a lot of styles and colors to choose from.  Pick the one that will work the best for your missionary - just make sure that it is somewhat expandable and will easily fit a writing pad.  Not too bulky or they'll never take it with them and not so small that it won't hold letter writing essentials.

Letter Writing Kit Essentials:
a pad of lined writing paper
#10 envelopes
 (that's the business size envelope)
(regular, postcard and international)
pens* or pencils
(w/ sharpener or extra led)
pre-printed return address labels
address book
(click here and here for an easy address book idea)

*Note:  Pens are a preferred writing implement because they are more archival.  Pencil tends to fade over time...this is assuming that you are going to keep their letters for family history.

You don't need to add every envelope that comes in a box.  Just include a few and send the rest with them in their suitcase.  I suggest sending post card stamps (see here for a post regarding missionary post cards).  Sometimes a post card reply is sufficient for your missionary's response to someone's letter and it is certainly quicker to write and cheaper to send; also include regular stamps and a few international stamps if they have friends and family serving or living abroad.  It can be somewhat difficult for a missionary to obtain additional stamps if they don't have a post office in their area so I occasionally include a sheet of stamps in the snail mail that I send or include some in a package.

Print out some return address labels for them.*  Don't include the entire package, just a few printed sheets.  You can send them more when they need them.  Use the mission home address as their return address NOT their apartment address.  This will insure that the address labels won't go to waste when they get transferred AND insure that they actually continue to receive their mail if they do.  The mission home will forward all mail to your missionary either through the postal system (if they are serving stateside) or their Zone Leaders will pick it up weekly (most missions) from the mission home and deliver it to them at their weekly District meetings.

*Note:  Use the code located on the front cover of the packet of labels for a template.
Save this to your hard drive so you can print out when you need 
to replenish your missionary's supply.

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