|Photo courtesy of stockimages, FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
A friend asked me to ask my missionary friends for things they’d like to find in a missionary closet as well as things they wouldn’t use. I was overwhelmed by the many answers, so I felt like sharing their list with you.
Maybe your church already has a missionary closet, or maybe it doesn’t. Here’s my own definition: a “missionary closet” is a place in the church where helpful items are collected, so that missionaries that visit your church can go through and take what they can use.” Some churches use a point system, where the missionary can take up to 25 points, for example. Others let them go through and choose anything they can use. I have yet to see any missionary abuse this generosity. Most are choosy, since it is costly to take anything overseas. They think about present travel needs as well as their future needs on the field.
RECOMMENDED ITEMS (Most recommended first, least last)
- Gift cards—gas, restaurants, Walmart, hair stylists, Amazon, etc.—preferably to chain stores, restaurants and stations.
- Kids’ travel games and activities—books, sticker books, coloring books and crayons, games, etc.
- Hand sanitizer
- Thank you and blank notes
- Baby wipes, cleaning wipes
- Travel-size shampoos, conditioners
- Girls’ hair clips, bows, bobby pins
- Travel sewing kits
- Diapers—name brands, several sizes
- Music and children’s CDs
- Unscented lotions—Quite a few missionaries said unscented because of allergies. Some also said Bath and Bodyworks lotions.
- Unscented laundry detergent pods
- Duct tape
- Breath mints
- Good make-up (Mary Kay, Avon, etc.)
- Essential oils
- Flash drives
- Shaving supplies (for men and women)
- Cough drops (some sugar free)
- Toothpaste, toothbrushes
- Small tool kit
- Small office items
- Books—missionary biographies, children’s books, homeschooling books
- School supplies—pens, pencils, highlighters, paper, etc.
- Paper plates, bowls
- Travel snacks
- Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Advil
- Good multi-vitamins
- Travel snacks
- Yarn—for the crafty traveling lady
- New duffel bags, carry-ons, luggage
- Towels, wash cloths, hand towels, dish cloths, dish towels
- Seasonal decorations and or tablecloths: Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas
- quarters for laundromats (small bags of them)
DO NOT INCLUDE
- Anything that's past the expiration date and old
- Anything you wouldn’t be delighted with yourself
- Old clothing
- Large-size toiletries
- Large toys for children—no space in vans!
One thing that several of the women mentioned is that it’s much easier to go through the missionary closet by themselves. They know what they need and don’t need, and they don’t like to feel pressured to take things they don’t have space for or can’t use. Many missionaries live in small spaces on the field, and when they are on deputation, there is only so much space in a car or van. (Some said the same for going shopping. They didn’t want to feel pressured to find an outfit. They would rather find one by themselves.)
Every missionary appreciates a missionary closet! It shows you care about your missionaries and about what they’re doing on the field. If your church supports missionaries, this is one way your people can be a blessing to them.
I’d love to know if you found this list helpful. Does your church already have a missionary closet ? (If not, maybe you can start one!) Please share your thoughts in the comments.