Go with an online gift this year and skip the post office line! Today's post talks about what you can do to honor and love on your friends serving as missionaries around the world.
Missionaries sacrifice a lot and often crave the comforts of back home, but can't afford it. A small gift or gift card they can justify spending on those comforts makes a huge showing of your love for them.
In In Spite of Myself, I mentioned how lonely it can be sometimes on the field, and how we save and savor those special treats imported from our home country. Showing appreciation to your missionaries not only blesses them, but you’ll be blessed knowing you gave them a smile and lifted their spirits.
A Gift Guide for Missionaries
The Visa gift card is accepted globally and is a great option for getting a gift to a missionary. The gift card information can even be emailed to them so the actual card does not need to be mailed, saving you time and money at the post office. The benefits of using a Visa gift card is that you don’t have to do much searching on what to send the missionary. Once they receive your gift card, they can purchase whatever they need or want themselves. Win-Win!
Did you know Ebay offers gift cards too? Millions of people purchase online and Ebay is one of the many online companies that offer online shopping. Ebay is unique in that it is an auction website. So many unique items and gift are available to missionaries via Ebay.
If your missionary is in Mexico, like us, they can set up an Estafeta Members account and they will accept Ebay purchases (within certain guidelines) and handle the importation and customs for you.
Audible allows you to listen to books anywhere and anytime on their free app. All missionaries read books and most have left behind more than a few favorite books that they wish they could have squeezed into their luggage, but could not.
Some missionaries (and their children) love to read, and just do not have access to books in English. The struggle is real!
Purchasing an audible gift subscription for the missionary will be helping them feed their reading habit.
Etsy is the popular online market for handmade goods. There you'll find planners, journals, jewelry, clothing and everything in between. A beautiful and unique gift can be found for your missionary on Etsy, or let them and their children choose what they like and buy it with an Etsy gift card.
An itunes gift card is the gift of entertainment. And missionaries need entertainment too. Music, movies, TV shows, helpful apps and games are all available to missionaries via iTunes. Being away from their home country, many missionaries do not have access to their old favorites. Just imagine the ear to ear smile on their faces as they get to watch or listen to some of their favorites, or the newest Patch the Pirate Adventure, and all because of your gift!
#6 Skype Credit
Skype offers great quality voice and video calls for missionaries who don't have access to Facetime on iPhone. It is accessible on the PC, laptop and mobile devices which makes it flexible to use. Getting to see your loved ones faces during a video chat helps satisfy, if only for a moment, the homesickness missionaries often face.
If the missionary can get mail easily, or will be stateside during the holidays, Amazon offers a wide variety of items at great prices. You get to see product reviews and compare not just prices but items side by side. For the Missionary trying to get the best deal, an Amazon Gift card is the way to go in helping them do that. Don’t forget Amazon Prime too! And check to see if there is a division of Amazon in their host country. For instance, we have an Amazon Mexico that sometimes carries the same items as USA, but shipping is cheaper and it arrives sooner and without customs fees to our home in Mexico.
Sometimes just the extra cash is a huge help. Especially if your missionaries' local stores only accept cash payments. PayPal allows us to easily and quickly send money to anyone securely, and it’s free to sign up.
#9 Ask the Missionary What they Need
- Purchasing gift cards from the bigger stores the missionary may shop at regularly is another idea! This will take knowing specifics of where the missionary lives and shops. Then start calling around to those stores and see if they have a website where eCards or gift cards may be purchased.
- Often missionaries live in high stress mode, many live in cultures where daily living for them would be trauma to an Easterner. That takes a toll on bodies and relationships. And yet many will forgo personal time away for rest or family time for fear of backlash from supporters. Ask your overseas missionary how long it's been since they really took a day off or got away for a few days. If their answer is more than 6 months, consider what you could do to encourage them to take some time apart for themselves and their family. That might mean travel funds, purchasing tickets or travel accommodations for them. It might mean extra funds for helpers to cover things while they get away for a few days.
- You missionary might also have a special project or outreach you could give to during the holidays. Many will sacrifice personal funds to make those special things happen in their ministry during Christmas. Taking an interest in their ministry projects as well as in their personal life/needs/wants also shows you care.
#10 Give via the Supporting Church
Another option is contacting the missionaries' supporting church or mission agency to ask how you can give money to your specific missionary family. The supporting church most likely sends finances to the missionary on a monthly basis and will not mind adding your gift to the monthly amount they already send.
The benefit to you in giving through their church or mission organization is that you get the tax-deductible receipt for giving.
If your missionary family will be stateside during the holidays, check out these posts for other things you can do to bless them during the furlough.
- How to Pray for Missionaries
- How to Bless Missionaries at Christmas
- How to Bless Missionaries Relationally during Furlough
- 5 More Ways to Bless Missionaries During Furlough
- 10 Out of the Box Ways to Help your Missionary