Monday, November 17, 2014

Assuring your missionary will receive Christmas gifts

Dear Missionary Parents and Friends,

Each year we ask parents and friends of our missionaries to ship Christmas packages early to ensure they are here by Christmas.  

We are asking parents and friends to please send all Christmas packages to the Mission Office and are asking that packages arrive on or before December 1.  This insures that your missionary will get the package for Christmas without problems.  Please address the package as below and also mark on the outside of the box  “Christmas Package”.  

Belgium Netherlands Mission
(Your Missionary’s Name)
Schipholweg 66
2316 XE Leiden

We have had many inquires as to why we request you to send ALL packages to the Mission Office and not directly to the missionary.  Your missionary is out of the door every morning by 11:00 am.  Many times they do not return until 9:00 or 9:30 pm. There is usually no one at home to receive and sign for the package.  Here in the Netherlands and Belgium, they do not leave packages on the doorstep or with a neighbor as they do in the USA.  The packages are taken back to the postal and a second attempt may or may not occur. When the missionary receives notice that a package is at postal, it requires the missionary to go to the postal to pick up the package and usually not on a P-Day. Many times it is necessary to pick the package up before the next P-Day, which requires your missionary and companion to use the Lord’s time to do a personal errand for one missionary.   Travel to the postal and back to the apartment may be out of the way from the area they are working. Another problem is how to get the packages home on their bikes, so many times they have to walk and use mass transit, which is an added expense.  Another issue is if a package is sent to an apartment and your missionary is transferred, the package may arrive after the missionary has left the area.  If this is the case, your missionary may or may not get their package in time for Christmas.  When you times this by 150 missionaries, it is obvious the problems it creates in the mission and the amount of time it takes from the missionary work which is why your missionary is here serving.

By sending packages to the Mission Office there is someone here to sign for the package and if necessary, and we can track missing packages.  By sending packages to the Mission Office we can also monitor that ALL missionaries will be receiving Christmas Packages.  We deliver the packages to our missionaries at our Christmas Zone Conference, which is after transfers in December.  Another issue we have at Christmas—there are some missionaries that receive 7-10 packages from family and friends.  Please be mindful--some missionaries receive nothing from home, but do receive a small package from the mission for Christmas.  It is very disheartening when two missionaries are companions under such conditions.  Also, if a missionary receives all these packages at the Christmas Zone Conference, it is impossible for him or her to transport those on public transportation back to their apartment along with all the supplies they order from the office to do missionary work. Many times they are serving in an area that requires a 3-hour train and bus ride to get home. Please be mindful.  We ask that you talk with family and friends and help everyone understand the logistics of our mission.   Our rule:  If it fits in a mail slot, (Christmas Cards, letters, pictures, etc.) feel free to send it to your missionary’s apartment. If not, please send it to the Mission Office.

We will deliver Christmas packages at the Christmas Zone Conferences.  If you have something special—a family tradition that begins on December 1st and you want your missionary involved—then plan on getting that package to the office by November 15th.  We do not open Christmas packages to remove certain items and deliver it to your missionary early. We have Zone Conference the last week of November and again after December 15th.  We deliver packages to missionaries at those times only.  The next delivery after that will be in January 2015. 

Just a reminder that each package valued at $40.00 or more incur local customs charges which along with any COD costs will be deducted from your missionary’s monthly missionary support funds.  

We encourage you to be mindful as you purchase for your missionaries.  You may wish to include items that they in turn can share with investigators and / or church members.  Again, not all missionaries receive the same support from home.  Perhaps including something for other missionaries could brighten someone’s Christmas.  Missionaries’ focus is on giving of themselves during Christmas, not so much about getting, but they all like to be remembered.

Thank you for your love, prayers and support for your missionary and also for the Belgium Netherlands Mission.  

President and I wish you the best as you prayerfully prepare your missionary’s Christmas package.

Our love to each of you,

President and Sister Robinson

Belgium Netherlands Mission