Are you trying to learn the ins and outs of sending missionary care packages to your favorite Sister or Elder? I’m here to help!
One of the fun parts of having a missionary serving is that you get to send them little tokens of your love in the form of missionary care packages. But thinking of what to put in said packages and actually getting it to your missionary turns out to be a little more complicated (especially if they are serving internationally!)
But I’m here to help! Here is everything you need to know about sending a package to your missionary. I’ve gathered information and recommendations from other missionary parents. If you have any tips I’ve missed, please send them to stephani[email protected] or comment below. I would love your help!
If you are looking for ideas of what to put IN your missionary care package, check out this post with 91 Clever Missionary Package Ideas and Themes.
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What do I put in a care package for a missionary?
There are lots of different directions you can go with missionary packages. It will depend on your missionary and what he or she likes as well as where they are serving. When putting together your package it is important to remember that missionaries move around approximately every 6 weeks and have limited room for hauling things around. Some options that might be best to put in a missionary care package include:
- Food: You can’t go wrong with something delicious. Depending on how far your package has to travel, the type of food you include might need to be limited. You can send food they can’t get in their current location, homemade treats, or nutritious foods you know they are lacking.
- Fun: The missionary schedule can get a bit redundant…so sending something fun to do in the mail is a great surprise!
- Things they need: From new shoes to contact lenses, you can always throw a few things your missionary needs into the package.
- Things to give away: Missionaries might love some small trinkets that they can give to other missionaries, church members or investigators (these are fun to make specific for holidays).
If it is at all financially feasible…please think about including duplicate items (or a little something extra) for your missionary’s companion. There are many missionaries who aren’t getting care packages, and sending love to your son or daughter’s companion is a simple kindness.
How big should care packages for missionaries be?
I have heard that some mission presidents ask for packages to be under a certain size…I’m guessing that storage space in the mission office has something to do with those requirements.
Price is another determining factor in the size of your missionary care package. Whether you are sending by mail or courier the size and weight of your package will increase the cost.
How soon should I send missionary packages before holidays/birthdays?
The answer to this question depends on a couple of things…where your missionary is serving and how you are sending your package. The overall answer to this question is WAY BEFORE YOU THINK YOU NEED TO! 🙂
One important thing to note is that packages get sent to your missionary’s mission office. So depending on how far they are from that office and when they will visit there next it could be awhile before they get it. My son in Brazil travels to the mission office once every 6 weeks for Zone Conference. I think it is safe to say that it is the same for many missionaries around the world.
If you are shipping something yourself, put a reminder in your phone or on your calendar to send your package 6-7 weeks before the holiday. If you are sending by courier (see below) just make sure the shipment arrives several weeks before the holiday. Pre-made packages should say approximate delivery date, just remember that your missionary might not be able to pick up the package for a few weeks. Earlier is always better with packages! But your missionary will be excited to receive them no matter when they arrive.
Also, if you are shipping to the MTC be mindful of your missionary’s departure date! I’ve heard of a few missionary moms sending packages too late for their missionary to receive.
DIY Missionary Package Helpers
There are some clever missionary moms who have created printable box labels that you can use on the inside of your boxes to add some pizzaz. Check out:
Papertagged Etsy Shop: She has 19 adorable printable pdf box labels you can use on medium or large flat rate boxes.
MissionaryBoxMoms: This company sells sticker kits and printable (customized or non-customized) that you can stick into boxes to make a quick and cute missionary box.
What is the best way to send missionary care packages?
There are many different ways to send missionary packages. Make sure to explore options for your son’s or daughter’s area (other missionary parents are great resources) before you try and ship something. There are lots of horror stories about parents paying hundreds of dollars to ship a package that never gets to their missionary (or gets held hostage in customs!). A little investigative work before you send off your package will save you money and heartache.
In the U.S. sending packages via United States Postal Service mail (especially USPS Flat Rate Priority Envelopes) is an excellent and less expensive option. You can order free priority boxes on the USPS website or pick them up at the post office. A Flat Rate Priority envelope means that whatever fits inside the envelope (up to 70 lbs) is sent for the same price anywhere in the U.S. The cost to send other Priority boxes depends on the distance and weight of the package. USPS has International Shipping Options as well…but some countries are better able to receive packages (check with other missionary moms in your area!).
Fedex, UPS and DHL have domestic and international shipping options. They are generally more expensive than USPS and have differing success rates for international shipping, but depending on your location and what you are sending they can be a good option. Check on their websites for shipping estimates (or stop in at their store!). WARNING: I have read a LOT of horror stories about international shipping and things getting stuck in customs. If you have the option of sending a package by courier, that is definitely cheaper and less risky!
There are quite a few courier services that have popped up in recent years especially for LDS Missionaries. A courier service means that you pay to ship a certain amount of weight (cost is per pound), then you either mail or hand-deliver (in Utah, usually) the items you want in the package to the courier business.
The packages are then transported on airplanes as luggage. The courier (delivery person) flies with the packages and usually hand delivers them to the mission homes in that country. Because of packaging times, flights and then travel time, it can take several weeks to a month for your missionary to receive their package, but you can usually watch the progress and there is so much peace of mind knowing your items are being hand-delivered to the mission offices.
Many couriers also have the option of sending a pre-made package with goodies and notes. The only work you have to do is select the package you want and pay!
LDS Courier companies recommended by missionary moms
I would love to add more recommendations! If you have a courier that you have used and loved please comment on this post or send an email to [email protected] letting me know the business and location you successfully shipped to! I only want to add couriers that have been successfully used by other missionary parents so you can have peace of mind when you use them.
Missionary Packages Brazil: This is the courier I’ve used for my son in Brazil! They have several drop off locations in Utah, some at missionary stores that you can purchase additional items (which they will ship for free). They charge per pound but also have options to buy pre-made packages.
MyLDSXpress: This courier delivers to Ghana, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Europe, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Paraguay, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, Ecuador and Colombia. You pay a per pound fee PLUS a delivery fee (minimum of 2 lbs). They deliver to mission offices or use a third party shipping to get to mission offices that are hard to reach. Be sure to read their instructions, for some countries you will package in clear bags, other countries you will box your items.
Mission on the Fly: Courier Service Delivering to Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. You pay per pound PLUS a delivery fee. You will purchase and ship your items to the courier for your country (located in TX, CA or AZ depending on the country). You can also ship items to the couriers via Amazon OR have them shop for you.
My Missionary Shipping: This is not a courier company, but is a group DHL shipping set-up. They get a discount because of their business of sending so many missionary shipments. You pay and they send you shipping docs, and you schedule a DHL pickup. They say they can send to any International DHL shipping location but the recommendation for this shipping service came from a mom shipping to the China, Hong Kong mission.
Mexico Missions Express: For this company, you ship your items to an office in Del Rio, Texas and they then carry it over the Mexico border and ship from within Mexico to any mission office. Packages of 1-3 pounds cost $10, 4 pound packages cost $40, 5-10 pound packages cost $50. You will pay the cost to ship it to Texas, plus the Mexico Missions Express. This is less risky than sending U.S. mail to Mexico however, and Mexico Missions Express handles all of the customs paperwork within Mexico. Another benefit of this courier is that you can send any time (you don’t have to book certain delivery dates).
PackMule Express: This courier company delivers to missions in Argentina. You will pay per pound PLUS a delivery fee. They have a VIP membership (yearly cost of $150) that gives you a per pound discount and a delivery fee discount. Pack Mule Express has pre-made packages as well and they can do reverse shipping if your missionary wants to send something to you!
Missionary Packages Argentina: Another Argentina specific courier, MPArgentina has courier services and pre-made package options. You can also make a custom package with items from their shop! You will pay per pound PLUS a delivery fee for “send your own” packages.
Philippines Missionary Packages Facebook Group This Facebook group has options for shipping to the Philippines and was recommended by a missionary mom.
Pre-made Missionary Packages
There are also companies that put together pre-made missionary packages. You choose the package, pay and let them know where to send it to. This takes a lot of the work off of your plate and there are so many clever and cute options these companies have!
MTC Mexico Care Packages They have a huge selection of pre-made packages OR you can choose items individually. They deliver to both the Mexico MTC and other mission offices in Mexico. They also have a pricing guarantee…if you find shipping lower somewhere else, they will match it.
Missionary Packages Mexico Tons of fun options you can choose from, with delivery to the Mexico MTC and other mission offices in Mexico! They also will deliver letters to the Mexico MTC for free (you type your letter in the form and they print and deliver it). They have a “custom” option where you can ask for specific items not shown on their website. They will look for it, let you know the price and then ship it.
Missionary Packages Brazil: There are many different pre-made package options that they will deliver right to your son or daughter’s mission office.
PackMule Express: Pack Mule Express has pre-made packages with all of the favorite items your missionary serving in Argentina might be missing!
Missionary Packages Argentina: There are some really wonderful pre-made packages, you can also make a “custom” package with items from their shop!
Companies that deliver packages to the MTC
There are some companies that will deliver packages directly to the MTC in Provo. You can pick and choose particular items and they will deliver directly to your missionary in the MTC.
Called2Serve: Tons of different options from Krispy Kreme donuts to Febreeze! 🙂
Companies that deliver packages to other MTCs
If your missionary is going to another MTC, here are some options for shipping packages. (Please send me a message if you’ve used MTC delivery services at other MTCs successfully so we can add them to the list! [email protected].
MTC Mexico Care Packages They have a huge selection of pre-made packages OR you can choose items individually. They are located in Juarez, Mexico so they can get items to the Mexico MTC the next day! They also have a pricing guarantee…if you find shipping lower somewhere else, they will match it.
Missionary Packages Mexico Lots of cute package options your can send next day to the Mexico MTC. They also will deliver letters to the Mexico MTC for free (you type your letter in the form and they print and deliver it). You can even send digital pictures and they will print them for you!
Can you send missionary packages anywhere?
Unfortunately, there are some countries where sending a package just isn’t feasible. Whether it is because of mail theft or mismanagement, crazy costs, or missions that are so rural it is impossible to get mail delivered, there are some missions where you won’t be able to send a missionary package.
What should I do if I can’t send a package?
I think it is important to be fully transparent with your missionary about why you are unable to send packages. If you don’t have the budget to afford it, don’t beat yourself up about it!
You can always put the money you would have spent for a special birthday or Christmas package into a bank account for your missionary when they return home. There are lots of things that need to be bought (new clothes, electronics etc) that they will be grateful for a little nest egg! Just tell them, “Instead of paying $200 to send $50 worth of gift, I’m putting that $50 into a bank account for when you get home!”
How often should I send my missionary a care package?
There is no right or wrong answer to the question. Some missionaries will love getting packages often and some budgets will allow for you to send packages for all sorts of occasions! But please don’t feel bad if you aren’t able to send packages often (or at all!). Packages are like a cherry on top of a mission sundae…the mission will still be sweet even if the packages are few and far between.
That being said, some parents like to send a welcome or “Greenie” package near the beginning, a half-way box at your missionary’s half-way point, and a special box for birthdays and Christmas.
My other website, The Gifty Girl is all about gift ideas, so I had a ton of fun coming up with 91 Clever Missionary Package Ideas and Themes for you moms who are able to go the extra mile! I’ll also make it easier by giving you links to click on and purchase straight from Amazon in individual month posts!
Key Takeaways on sending your missionary a package
I’ll be completely honest in saying that when I found out my son was going to Brazil I was super sad about the package situation. I had visions of fun and creative packages that went up in smoke because sending packages there is expensive and impossible except by courier.
I’ve learned to accept that my son’s mission will still be wonderful and he will still know we love and support him even if he isn’t getting a St. Patrick’s Day package. Whatever you can fit in your budget (time and money wise!) for packages is EXACTLY what your missionary needs. You are doing great, mama!