Admittingly, I bypass reading most missionary letters. Either I do not know them personally or they come off as sounding like they hate writing missionary letters. I connect with those who let their reader into their hearts and write for real–People who inspire and motivate.
So I compiled a list of how not to engage your readers:
- Make sure your missionary letters have lots of grammar and punctuation errors.
- Make sure your missionary letters SOUND like you hate writing it. Make it as dry as possible so people will be sure to unsubscribe to it.
- Don’t write what really happens on the mission field; write what people want to hear and aim for support.
- Write the bare minimum of missionary letters because your words can’t possibly influence anyone in the United States. Maybe have one show up in people’s inboxes once a year.
- Don’t utilize social media. After all, the internet is from the devil and you have more important things to do.
Okay…so I went a little heavy on the sarcasm. You’ll probably add number six with something like, “to get people to unsubscribe to your blog, write a post like this one.”
In truth, missionaries have a lot going on beneath the surface. Working in foreign ports and away from home must take a toll on them at some point, but few really share those struggles. So someone wishing to be a missionary may look with wide eyes at the “glamorous” lifestyle of a missionary without seeing the hurdles. For instance, the books and blogs that opened my eyes to what God is doing out in the world weren’t written with the donation in mind. They inspired me.
- The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected
- The Voice of the Martyrs
- A blog written by a short term missionary under an assumed name while in the Middle East.
- Dangerous: Engaging the People and Places No One Else Will
Recently, I devoted a short time to actually read the ones I usually throw away. It surprised me how dry they were, and some surprised me, because they had improved over time. Those stories were more personal and came off well-written. Never underestimate what social media can do. If not for the Voice of the Martyrs and grass roots movements on bringing the stories of persecution to light, we would never know the amazing things that God does in the world, or how He is moving in the United States–our own backyards.
Hope is on the move!
Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”