by Devin Justesen
Devin Justesen is a graduate of Brigham Young University, where he studied English and Business Management. He is a writer, photographer, movie-fanatic, and a lover of street-tacos. He served his mission in Tokyo, Japan.
When you are going about your day and you spot two young men in white shirts and ties or two young women proudly wearing the name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on their name tags, you can’t help but crack a smile.
When I was young, my Dad served as the ward mission leader multiple times, and missionaries were always at our home. I’ll never forget how whenever he would spot the missionaries while we were going about our day, he always made an effort to pull over, roll down the window, and give the loudest “Keep it up, you’re doing great!” Serving a mission is one of the most rewarding and incredible experiences, but there is no doubt that they are as well the hardest. Missionaries experience some of the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows as they serve the Lord.
For those of us who have missionaries out serving currently, or know of missionaries within our wards who could use a little boost, here are 10 ways to show missionaries some extra appreciation.
1) Feed them!
The fastest way to a missionary’s heart is through their stomach. Whether it’s taking them out to dinner, inviting them over for dinner, or simply giving them some delicious snacks or treats, missionaries spend the entirety of their day walking and talking with people and they are almost always hungry.
2) Write them a letter or an email.
Although I loved receiving emails and letters from my parents, I will never forget a letter that was sent to me from a local member in the ward I was serving. He simply wanted to wish me a very merry Christmas and to let me know that the ward missed seeing me on Sundays. It was such a simple gesture, but his kind words arrived at one of the most difficult times in my own mission, and gave me the exact boost I needed to continue moving forward with faith.
3) Send them a care-package.
At LDS Bookstore, one of our favorite services that we offer is our MTC Same-Day Delivery Service. We have so many different treats, books, jewelry, journals, and even cases of soda that can be sent to your missionary in the MTC. The MTC is one of the most spiritual and uplifting places on earth, but additionally it can be the true testing ground for a new missionary. Sending a care-package with your missionary’s favorite treats and items can be the best thing to help make their days even better. Click here to learn more about our delivery service.
4) Remember the names of those they are teaching.
Referring to my own personal experience again, something that meant the world to me when I was serving a mission was when my parents would ask about certain investigators by name whether in email or during a phone call. They would often tell me how they would pray for them by name each night, and it always brought a smile to me face to know my family was so invested in who I was deeply invested and cared about those individuals we were teaching.
5) Sit with their investigators at Church if possible.
Attending Church for the first time can be a very intimidating experience. Missionaries will often do their very best to help prepare their investigators for the new words they will hear, the process of the administration of the sacrament, and other such things we as members see as a normal Sunday service. One of the best things we can do to show our missionaries how much we appreciate them is by helping make someone’s first time to Church a memorable and happy experience. By stepping in and inviting their investigators to sit with you and your family, we help share some of the work that missionaries work so diligently to do, and additionally we can gain new friendships with those that are humbly seeking to learn more about Christ and His Gospel.
5) Don't forget the missionary plaque!
Another way to show that little bit of extra appreciation for your missionary is to help them create and set up their missionary plaque. At LDS Bookstore, we've worked to make the process as simple as possible with our speedy delivery, 100+ scripture ideas for your plaque, as well as a comprehensive process of setting up your order. Click the link here for more information on our missionary plaques and how to order yours.
7) Remind them that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed/unprepared/a little scared especially when they first get out there.
Many missionaries walk into the MTC and then the mission field with what seems like unbreakable confidence, but the days will come where they will feel completely overwhelmed with the task at hand. They’ll wonder if they really know enough to be teaching the Gospel who have never even considered the possibility of a Father in Heaven, or perhaps they’ll be learning a language that feels impossible to them. Sending them a friendly reminder that these feelings are normal and okay, as well letting know that even the most valiant of missionaries have similar feelings at times, helps them know they are still doing incredibly well as they serve the Lord. All He asks is their best effort, and as long as they are trying their best, the Lord will bless them.
8) Remember their companion.
One of the best ways to show appreciation to missionaries is to remember your missionary’s companion. I’ll always remember how sweet it was when I had my Christmas Skype call with my family, and they asked to meet my companion and talk to him for a little! Funnily enough, we ended up switching computers and for a few minutes he talked to my family, and I talked to his! It was such a simple thing, but to be recognized by your companion’s family is such a special way to spread that appreciation for the sacrifice and hard work of missionaries.
9) Bear your testimony to them.
Missionaries spend the entirety of their days devoted to preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and often they are faced with a great deal of rejection. Though they have a deep love for the message they are teaching, after so much rejection just hearing of the blessings of the Gospel in your life can be exactly the boost they need to feel they are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. Never hesitate to share your testimony with the missionaries in your life to lift their spirits as well as your own.
10) Pray for them.
Above all else, one of the best ways to show our appreciation to missionaries devoting their daily lives to sharing the wonderful message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to simply pray for them. To pray for their success, they happiness, their health, and that they will be led to find those that the Lord has prepared to be taught His Gospel. By gathering your family together and remembering the missionaries is a wonderful way to show them appreciation and love for their incredible hard work.