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Mail Correspondence & E-mail
Missionaries are now allowed to use email, but only at their own expense at an Internet Café only on Preparation Day (not at the home of a member), with their companion right there, and only to their families. We still encourage the majority of mail to be sent snail-mail unless there is a major reason for using e-mail.
Missionaries are asked to write parents once a week. Parents, we ask that your correspondence to your missionary be regular and only once a week. Your letters should be encouraging and uplifting, expressing an interest in the work, in their investigators, and those things that are important in the life of a missionary. Inform your missionary of home events, especially the good news. Please do not burden your missionary with family problems!
Any girlfriends/ boyfriends should only exchange correspondence with their missionary once a week. These letters should remain on a high plane, should be friendly and should avoid any reference to romance or future plans or relationships
There are several ways for mail to be sent to and from the mission.
The Pouch is an efficient way to get mail to your missionary, but you may only send a regular 37 cent letter. The church certifies to customs officials that "pouch" mail contains documents only. That means this mail can not contain currency, Travelers checks, stamps, food products, prescription or non-prescription drugs, merchandise of any kind, or photographs. Any violation to a country's import laws or to these instructions may result in serious consequences for the Church and the missionary involved. Letters from your missionary must go by regular Honduran mail, as there is no outgoing Pouch.
We have been told that packages sent to the APDO postal address are more likely to arrive safely if they are wrapped in white paper and labeled both on the outside of the package and on the green postal sticker as "Missionary Supplies". Use lots of tape. Some people place religious stickers on the outside of the package. Other messages such as "Please do not open this package and steal anything" are going to lessen your chances that your package will arrive safely so please resist the temptation to add those.
Missionaries appreciate and look forward to letters and packages. It shows love, concern and support from loved ones; however, an excessive number of packages can be detrimental to the work. Most items sent are available in Honduras, i.e. candy. When we receive large numbers of packages it causes several problems:
- Our office staff must go to the post office or airport to retrieve them, then sort and distribute them, using up valuable time.
- Hundreds of dollars are being spent in postage on these packages and a good percentage of the items arrive damaged, (i.e. melted chocolate).
- Missionaries from Central America often do not receive mail of any kind and it can cause hurt feelings when their companions are being flooded with packages.
If you decide to send a package, we suggest simple packages that contain items missionaries can share with children, companions, and others. These often mean the most. Also please reserve packages for Christmas, birthdays, or other special occasions.
We make no guarantees as to delivery time, even for packages sent via Federal Express. Since we make no special trips to deliver packages, using overnight delivery services only means that packages get to the Mission office more quickly, not to your missionary. Send your holiday packages early and send them via airmail.
To use the pouch you should address mail in the following manner:
Elder or Hermana ___________________
Honduras San Pedro Sula Mission
P.O. Box 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150
Letters and packages can also be sent through regular mail and should be addressed as follows:Elder or Hermana ___________________
Misión Honduras San Pedro Sula
San Pedro Sula, Honduras C.A.
Any international delivery service packages, such as Federal Express, DHL, and UPS, cannot be sent to the Mission APDO address. They should be sent to the Mission Office street address:Elder or Hermana ___________________
Misión Honduras San Pedro Sula
Edificio Yude Canahuati Nivel 3 Oficina 4
San Pedro Sula, Honduras C.A.
Telephone and Fax Contact
Missionaries are not allowed to make or receive long distance phone calls or faxes to or from boyfriends or girlfriends. The same policy applies to the family, with the exception of calls approved by the Mission President and calls home twice a yearChristmas and Mother's Day. Long distance calls can distract from the spirit of missionary work.
Contact to the Mission President
You may, of course, communicate with the Mission President by phone, letter, fax or e-mail. If you feel there are spiritual or physical problems with your missionary of which we may not be aware, or if you have other major concerns, please let the Mission President know immediately.
If there is a true emergency at home, such as a serious illness, accident, or death, the proper order is to communicate through your Bishop or Stake President to the Mission President, who then communicates with the missionary. Your local leaders may want to use the Missionary Department as an intermediary. They can be reached at (801) 240-3207 from the Salt Lake Valley or internationally, or at 1-800-453-3860, ext. 3207, from inside the U.S., but outside the Salt Lake Valley.
At times, the flow of mail may be interrupted because of missionary transfers, weather or postal problems or new arrival into the field. Please notify us only if it has been more than 6 weeks since you have heard from your missionary.
Please encourage your missionary to live the Mission rules. Experience has proven that missionaries practicing exact obedience to the rules have a much more satisfying and spiritual mission. There should be no regrets upon arriving home. When a Missionary breaks rules, it causes a loss of trust by companions, leaders and members.
Medical and Dental Care
Treatment of any pre-existing condition, dental expenses, and eye care will need to be paid for by the family of the missionary or your insurance carrier. The Brethren have provided, through the tithing funds of the Church, help with the cost of all other medical care when needed. The Mission may seek to be reimbursed by the missionary's family medical insurance in some circumstances.
Please make a special effort to resolve all outstanding medical and dental issues before missionary service begins, such as wisdom teeth removal, wart removal, new glasses, etc. Please bring an adequate supply of special medications for allergies, headaches, skin conditions (i.e. acne), etc. If you have suffered a joint injury, please bring any braces or supports that were provided at the time of injury for use during preparation day activities.
The Mission is allocated funds for each missionary by the Missionary Department and the room and board of each missionary is paid from this allocation. They also receive a small amount to clean their clothing and buy personal items. Missionaries are instructed as to what type of items should not be purchased with these support funds (such as film and souvenirs). It is appropriate for missionaries to have a small emergency fund provided by their families, but we ask that you monitor these funds and that missionaries not have an unlimited amount. Not all families have the same financial availability of funds.
It is extremely risky to send cash or checks through the mail to Central America. It is also illegal to send them through the Pouch. It is recommended that each missionary have a personal Visa Debit Card.
Trips to the Mission Field
If family or friends happen to be in Honduras prior to the release date of the missionary, any requests for visits be cleared through the Mission President prior to the visit. The only exception would be if they were non-members living within the boundaries of the missionary's assigned area. The overall objective is to keep focused on the work. If applicable, prior to traveling to Honduras to meet your missionary at the end of his or her mission, please contact the Mission President. (See "Release Dates")
Spiritual music can be a great asset in mission life. Church music (vocal and instrumental) and classical music are acceptable. There may be a place for small tape recorders in the mission field, but boom boxes, portable CD players, earphones, and musical instruments are to be left at home.
Too often missionaries sense that family and friends measure their success by positions they have during their missions. The highest position in the Mission is trainer. When your missionary is a trainer, you know that he or she is held in great confidence. Beyond that assignment, there are many opportunities to bless the lives of others. Not every great missionary will be a district leader, zone leader, assistant, or secretary. These positions do not define success. Some of the truly finest missionaries will never serve in such a position. There is no official name for a missionary who helps a companion with special needs, but such missionaries often render the greatest service.
Educational plans, such as applying for school and registering for classes, are important matters. However, they aren't missionary work and we often find ourselves in the last months of a missionary's service, using valuable time to deal with these matters. Please obtain college application forms or officially deal with inactive matriculation status before departure into the mission field. If at all possible, reapplying, application and registration for university schooling should be taken care of without the participation of the Mission.
Elders have been called to serve the Lord for a full 24 months and the sisters for 18 months. Release dates as set by the Mission President may vary a week or two from the exact anniversary date. Please do not request or encourage an early release for schooling, vacation or other personal reasons. Do everything within your power to serve for the entire time of the mission.