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Communication Guidelines

Contacting Christians in Sensitive Areas

Some missionaries cannot be identified online to protect their identity. If you would like more information on a particular missionary, please call the church office at (513) 542-9025.

Most communication entering and leaving sensitive areas is routinely monitored. Please review the following for guidelines on communicating with missionaries.

Letters

Nothing is "censored" out of letters — in some areas a majority of mail simply never arrives. One good practice is to number mailed letters, or to mention "This is my third letter to you since Christmas." Typed letters, especially air forms, arrive more easily than handwritten letters.

Feel free to communicate about your personal life and to share how God is working in your everyday affairs. Ask about their job, studies, living conditions, lifestyle, sight-seeing, vacations, etc. Be positive and uplifting, responding to items in your friend's letters to show you have prayerfully read them.

Instead of "I'm praying for you," please write "thinking of you." This will help your letter pass through official channels.

Words to Avoid

Politics, support or money gifts (except for birthdays or Christmas), foreigners' rights, negative comments, evangelism, missionary work, witnessing, etc. Do not use words like "newsletters" or "prayer letters." Do not imply that the person is there as a missionary or is in any way connected with any Christian organization. Do not use church, mission or Christian agency letterhead.

Do not try to write between the lines. Anything that might appear to be a secret code could raise suspicions.

Do not use the full name of any other Christians in the country or otherwise pinpoint them. Never mention the word "Muslim."

Unless your friend asks you to write directly, use the address given to you in ECC's Missionary directory.

Mail time is always a highlight for our missionaries, especially if photos of friends and home are included. (Avoid sending photos of obvious church activities other than weddings). Before sending gift packages, contact the Mission Committee for mailing instructions. Packages often do not get to the designated recipient. Once you have mailing instructions, always airmail a list of the contents separately.

Check for International postage rate changes with your post office.

After you send your first letter, set a reminder to write again soon! Mail is important to those overseas. Frequent cards are better than rare, long letters.

E-mail

Individual e-mails are also read by officials in many areas. Follow the letter-writing guidelines above for appropriate e-mail content. Do not send e-mail from a religious-sounding e-mail address or other indication that it comes from a Christian organization.

Skype (VOIP)

Skype is a convenient way to keep in touch with overseas missionaries. Please note the time zone difference and call during appropriate hours for both of you. As always, be careful not to use an overtly Christian username and keep your conversation simple for missionaries' protection.

Social Media

Facebook and YouTube are also good ways to communicate. Like any web-based communication, be cautious with what you say and post. If posting a photo, use only missionaries' first name in a tag, never their full name.

As you communicate, pray for your friends. You join their work when you keep in contact with them.