Practical Gifts for Missionaries

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by Spinach, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. Spinach

    Spinach
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have been thinking about Christmas a lot lately---which I have to do if I want to celebrate Christmas on the 25th (shipping takes quite a while). I thought about writing a blog post about the best Christmas gifts for missionaries and MKs. I have several ideas based on our home and the families in our group, but thought I'd post this here also to get more ideas.

    Missionaries----what item(s) would you love to receive this Christmas season? What items have been your favorites from previous years?

    Others---what items have you sent missionaries for Christmas that they were grateful for? Do you prefer to mail a gift, send money, send a card, or send a gift certificate?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Spinach. A very good question. I have personally supported a missionary family in Africa for 30 years. I tried sending gifts, such as clothing, books and the like, but too many items got lost, or just tooks too long. I ended up sending cash (a bank note) on a monthly basis and to them personally, not through their mission. They were free to use the money as they thought fit. For Christmas, I sent extra cash for them to buy gifts for the family. I found this the most practical form of gift.

    That missionary has since retired, but wife and I decided they could still use the money at home, so we continued. Once they are settled, we will find another missionary to help out.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,051
    Likes Received:
    0
    As a former missionary who still works closely with them, I find that money is always appropriate. Some churches will send an extra month's offering if they are able. Some churches send a little extra specifically for the kids.

    One great gift would be airplane tickets home for the holidays, or tickets to fly a special family member (a child who is gone to the States to college, for instance) back to the field for a short visit. One of our sending churches used to send my wife some homemade Christmas decorations.

    Food and clothing don't travel too well, in my experience- unless they come with a special person. ;)
     
  4. Spinach

    Spinach
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    0
    Money is always appreciated. LOL!

    Second to money, my biggest recommendation is an Amazon gift card. Amazon ships to so many countries and the missionary can choose things online that they may not be able to find in their host country.
     
  5. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Messages:
    26,806
    Likes Received:
    78
    I was going to mention the Amazon gift card. I know the UK has their own store, but we still but from the US because sometimes the shipping is cheaper.
     
  6. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,051
    Likes Received:
    0
    Amazon gift card- never knew one existed! Any other gift card ideas that would be practical for missionaries?
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,213
    Likes Received:
    192
    We really enjoy it when folks send yummy stuff we can't get over here. Japan is very modern, but we still can't get flavored coffees, and decaf (my staple) is available rarely and then expensive. My wife loves peanut butter cups and mint patties.

    English magazines (Christian, sports, etc.) are nice even if they're out of date. My wife really enjoyed a Christian woman's magazine she was given a subscription to, and shared it with another missionary wife.

    On the practical side, I need non-alcohol based after shave, unavailable here. Neither one of us wear Japanese clothes well, so socks for me and stockings for Patty are good. They don't have dandruff shampoo, either, and I need that.
     
  8. Salty

    Salty
    Expand Collapse
    20,000 Posts Club
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2003
    Messages:
    22,129
    Likes Received:
    221
    John,

    Is there a customs tax on items recieved over a certian amount?

    Any other reccomendations? Do we need a custom tag filled out to send to Japan?
     
  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,213
    Likes Received:
    192
    Hi, Salty.

    We've almost never had to pay any customs on items sent over. Just don't send alcohol. :tongue3:

    As for customs tags, seems like one is needed, if I remember from last furlough when we sent something to Japan.

    You didn't ask, but concerning poor countries, it is probably best to send money through the mission board rather than items directly. In many cases there is a lot of theft going on in the PO in third world countries.
     
  10. Spinach

    Spinach
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    0
    Personalized items are always appreciated. For instance, socks. We cannot get good socks over here. But one would have to know the age and sizes of my children to buy something like that.

    And one must be careful to know a missionary well before sending magazine subscriptions. I enjoy them thoroughly myself, but I have dear friends who would sooner use them to start a fire. LOL!

    Also, be aware, international mailing regulations have changed. Each item must be listed with its individual weight. It's a major hassle. That's another big reason why I recommend Amazon gift cards (I know of no others that ship internationally, but I'm sure they are out there).
     
  11. Spinach

    Spinach
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh, and I agree with Brother John about sending boxes to poor countries. Money through their mission is probably the best idea there.
     
  12. SaggyWoman

    SaggyWoman
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2000
    Messages:
    17,933
    Likes Received:
    8
    Is there some countries that put a price on boxes received from overseas.
     
  13. Spinach

    Spinach
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm sure there are some. Many must pay a customs fee. I have friends in Romania who pay quite a bit. Of course, tax there is nearly 20% anyway, so customs is no exception.

    That is why money is the best option for some.

    It really is best to know the missionary well so you can get a feel for what they would like, if anything. If they have to pay a lot to receive it, it may be more of a burden than it's worth.
     
  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,213
    Likes Received:
    192
    Depends on the content of the box and the country. I suggest contacting the missionary for information. In some cases the customs fee has been more than it was worth for the missionary.
     
  15. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,213
    Likes Received:
    192
    Maybe we should mention some things not to send! Please send items appropriate to the field, that can actually be used by the missionary, and send new items, not old junk. (Used clothing might be an exception.)

    Every veteran missionary knows the legend (or truth?) of the missionary who was sent used tea bags! Someone evidently figured, "Well, I can always use a tea bag twice, so if I just use it once the missionary can use it the second time!" How cheap!

    True story: one of our missionaries in Japan was sent a box of empty medicine containers. This might be appropriate to send to a medical missionary in a third world country who gets his medicine in bulk and needs smaller containers. But to a church-planting missionary in Japan? Huh?
     
    #15 John of Japan, Nov 9, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2009
  16. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,213
    Likes Received:
    192
    Let's talk a little about quality. I believe that if it is for God's work, it should be top quality. God doesn't make junk, so we should not. Let me illustrate.

    My wife once attended a missionary ladies' group when they were preparing items (blankets and clothing) to send to a missionary with the Navahos for distribution to the poor believers. The ladies had gathered some very old and junky looking clothing, but they said, "Oh, we can send this stuff, because it only goes to the Indians." I believe this thinking is an affront to God and His missionary.

    This same ladies' group once made bookmarks to send to us for our ministry in Japan. First of all, we had no way to use them. Secondly, they were very poorly made. The Japanese make the best cars, electronics, etc. in the world. They believe in quality. It would have been offensive to give these bookmarks to them. We had to throw them away.

    The Christmas tracts we had printed last year are another example. We only had to pay for the shipping, which was good, but they were printed very poorly, and we've had to throw about a third away because the print was too dim to read, or not even on the page in some cases!

    Poor quality with tracts is a recurring problem. In many cases the tracts put out by an American ministry are poorly printed or poorly cut (at an angle, or even cutting off some of the print). Folks, if it is God's work, it is worth doing right!
     
  17. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    John, I agree with you have written. I wonder how much of the well-intended gifts from, say, women's groups in the local church, ends up in waste.

    My money was for the missionary personally. If they wanted to spend to spend it on themselves, that was up to them. I never had a bank order go astray in all the years. Some they used to help with local people and their needs.

    So, this was a little different something for the mission itself, but often ended up there because of the missionary's heart.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  18. Spinach

    Spinach
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree, Brother John! Wholeheartedly!

    It really is important to know a missionary and their field. For instance, a nice pair of thermal underwear you found on sale at Penneys will not benefit the missionary in Costa Rica. Flip flops probably won't be used in Siberia.

    However, I don't want to discourage anyone from sending a gift. Missionaries could use the encouragement! So, if you don't know the missionary/field well, money will definitely do! And if you want to gift a missionary in a way that will benefit the family directly (let's just be honest here----if there is a big need in the ministry, the missionary may give the money to that and not spend it on themselves), then go with the amazon gift card.

    But whatever you do, just let them know in some little way that you are thinking of them. A nice email. A Christmas card. Something. It will mean a lot!
     
  19. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,213
    Likes Received:
    192
    Har, har! :laugh:
    And roger that. :thumbsup:
     
  20. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    Do you have any opinion of the Samratan's Purse program by Franklin Graham?
     

Share This Page

Loading...