Guidelines for Communicating with Christians in Sensitive Areas
Some missionaries cannot be identified online to protect their identity. If you would like more information on a particular mission, please call the church office at (513) 542-9025.
Most communication entering and leaving is routinely monitored, in spite of official denials. As technology advances, so does our communication. Please review the following for guidelines on communicating with missionaries. Nothing is "censored" out of letters - in some areas much mail never arrives. It is good to number mailed letters, or to say, "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 your friend's 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.
AVOID "I'm praying for you"; SUBSTITUTE" thinking of you."
Topics to AVOID: politics, support or money gifts (except for birthdays or Christmas), foreigners' rights, negative comments, evangelism, missionary work, witnessing, etc. DO NOT MENTION "newsletters" or "prayer letters". In NO way imply that the person is there as a missionary or "for the Lord" 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 seem to be a secret code could cause suspicions and misunderstandings.
DO not use the full name of any other Christians in the country or otherwise pinpoint them. NEVER mention the word MUSLIM.
AVOID "Jon Smith is also a missionary in China." SUBSTITUTE "Jon is like minded in your region."
Unless your friend asks you to write directly, use the address given to you in this directory.
Mail time is always a highlight, especially if photos of friends and home are included (but avoid 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.
When you send something, mark your calendar to jog your memory to write again soon! Mail is very important to those overseas. Frequent cards are better than one long letter.
Email is also read by officials in many areas. Follow the abaove guidelines for its contents. Do not send email with a “From” address or other indication that it comes from a Christian organization.
SKYPE is very convenient. Please note the time zone you are calling and use a time that is best for both of you. Facebook and YouTube are also ways to communicate. Again, these are web based and caution should be used. If posting a photo, use only the first name as an ID tag, never the full name.
As you communicate, pray for your friends. May you truly feel a part of their work as you support them by your communications. GOD BLESS YOU!!