Our purpose for this letter is to discuss and share a few problems we have been having with packages being sent to your missionary, but first we have to say something about your son or daughter.
We are sure that we have the best missionaries in the entire church. All over the mission our missionaries are doing their very best to be a “Consecrated Missionary” and to be focused on their purpose; that of inviting all to “Come Unto Christ.” The enthusiasm we feel from every Zone is fantastic. We are exceeding our goal of 300+ baptisms and know it is largely because of the dedication and commitment of every single missionary. That is impressive, and it is because your son or daughter is doing all that he or she can to further the work and demonstrate their faith in the Lord We love each one of them and thank-you for sending them to us so prepared and ready to work.
Now to address the problem of packages. For some reason Spain has been targeting large packages that come from the United States and holding them in the customs in Madrid. When they do deliver them we are obliged to pay 50 Euros (around $70.00) to receive the package. We cannot continue to do this so as of June 1st, we will be refusing packages that have been sent after May 25th. This means all the money you, as a parent, have spent to send the package, plus the contents, will be sent back to you.
We have a few guidelines to suggest and hope that they will aid you in deciding what to send to your missionary.
1.Don’t send large packages, which are bigger than 12 by 12 or the rectangular priority box that is a little bit bigger. They seem to target the larger ones more than any other. Remember that Spain is a modern country and if you want them to have some clothes or personal supplies, just add money to their debit card (if they have one) and tell them to buy it here in Spain. It is so much cheaper than mailing.
2.Send your packages directly to your missionary’s address. Also, don’t send them a package after they have been in an area for over two transfers. The mail is slow here and there is a good chance they will move after 3 or 4 transfers in an area. Send packages just after they have been transferred. Don’t send anything express; there is no such thing here. They deliver it when they get around to it.
3.Fill out customs forms completely and don’t send anything of real value. Again, they can buy anything here. They will almost always hold up packages that say “medicines” and will not allow them in and more than likely they will be returned. Again, we have most all the same things here and we now have Elder and Sister Massaro, two retired registered nurses, who are helping our missionaries and they can find what medicine they need here in Spain.
4.Send letters. I know what you are saying, we e-mail them every week. If you could see all the missionaries when we come around to Zone Conferences or trainings and see how much they hope they get a letter. They love the e-mails; don’t stop them, but to have a hand written letter is better than a package. As one missionary described it, “it’s like gold.’ Pictures are also a big hit. Small envelopes and letters come just fine.
5.Finally, please don’t send CD’S and items that are not “mission approved.” They can listen to anything that can be played in a Sacrament Meeting. Don’t send headsets or fancy electronics. They cannot use them and they will be held in the mission office until they go home. Send them uplifting and encouraging letters and e-mails. You can’t believe how hard it is on them to be burdened down with concerns from home. Write them your testimonies often and build them up, they love this. And please don’t miss a week of e-mailing them, they look forward to this and when they haven’t heard from you for more than a week or two it affects their work tremendously.
We hope this will be helpful. We hate to see you spend a lot of money on a package that is held up for 3-6 months and then gets returned back home. We love our missionaries and just want what is best for them.
President and Sister Clegg