Communicating with family and friends

Email and letters

Highlighting the instructions in their Mission Handbooks, a missionary is to

  • Write to his/her family each week on preparation day.
  • Limit correspondence with others.
  • Use email only to communicate weekly with his/her family and the mission president (the Mission President's Handbook defines family as "immediate family")
  • "Do not become preoccupied with communicating with family and friends."
  • UPDATE: As of March 2013, the Missionary Department has amended its email policy allowing expanded email privileges for missionaries. They can now email friends, priesthood leaders and recent converts - the latter with permission from the mission president.
  • Missionaries are allowed sufficient time to write emails and letters — sometimes the public entity where some missionaries go to use computers only allows an hour of access time. That is the entity's policy, not the mission's restriction.
If missionaries misuse email or computers, they may lose the privilege of using email.

Schedule for receiving email

Missionaries are to email parents and family on preparation day, which is normally on Mondays. A couple of exceptions include:
  • If missionaries use public libraries to do their email and the public library is closed for a Monday holiday, the missionaries may write their emails the following day.
  • In certain locations (such as Camp Verde), the public library is closed all day Monday, forcing the missionaries to do their emails on Tuesday morning.
  • Every sixth week in the Arizona Phoenix Mission is "transfer week," when departing missionaries return home and new missionaries arrive. On transfer week, the Arizona Phoenix Mission moves preparation day to Tuesday to better fit our mission transfer schedule.

Writing and emailing your missionary

When you write your missionary, don't write too much news and information about events and circumstances back home. Too much news and tidbits from home can be distracting. Keep information about family/individual challenges or concerns to a minimum — it can create worries and concerns with the missionary, resulting in excessive thoughts about home and consideration about returning home to help correct the circumstances.

Phoning home

The missionaries are following this directive from their Missionary Handbook:
"Telephone parents on Christmas and one other time during the year — usually Mother's Day — according to guidelines from the mission president. Take care the calls do not pull your thoughts away from your service or create a financial problem for your family. Keep them short — preferably no longer than 30 or 40 minutes). Other than these calls — do not telephone family members or friends unless you have permission from your mission president."
Following are additional instructions and directions the missionaries are given:

  • In addition to the Christmas phone call, Arizona Phoenix Mission missionaries make their second call for Mother's Day in May.
  • Missionaries in North America are asked to use the Church-issued cell phones to make the calls. Missionaries hailing from international areas are allowed to make their calls from either the mission home or mission office.  (Permission to use Skype was added December 2013 after receiving permission from the Missionary Department.)
  • If missionaries have parents who are divorced or separated, they can divide that 30- to 40-minute allowance between calls to each parent. They are not to make additional calls to other family members or relatives.

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