Lewis McClendon BCMN

When you arrive at a new place, there is always a learning curve you have to endure. You don’t know for sure where to park, which door to go in, or where anything is. After you have been at a place for short while you begin to get a feel for the place. Every time a new missionary arrives at your church, they experience that learning curve. Some well thought out communication from you can shorten the learning curve for the missionary.

Pre-arrival information

Missionaries appreciate any information about your missionary housing that you provide. It takes the guesswork out of planning their stay with you. If they know a washer and dryer are available, they can plan to use them during their stay. If not, they know they need to work in a trip to a laundromat. It would be helpful for missionaries if you put together an informational email that you send to them as soon as they are booked to stay in your missionary housing. That information would include, but not be limited to, the following items:

  1. Where should they park? A property map showing where to park and which door to enter to find the office is appreciated.
  2. How many rooms, beds, cribs, or air mattress are in the apartment or house? Is there a washer and dryer? Is there a refrigerator, microwave, stove, or dishes?
  3. How do they get the key, especially if the missionary will not arrive during office hours? One of the best ways to provide a key is to put a key in a lock box, which is opened by a combination, on a wall near the door they will go in or hanging from a doorknob. Just be sure to send them the combination to the key box.
  4. How should the family dress for services and activities? At some churches, a tie is appropriate, and at other churches, missionaries have been requested to remove their tie.

Arrival information

  1. Provide a written church schedule for the dates the missionary will be staying in your mission housing. Missionaries appreciate knowing about a 6 am men’s breakfast and Bible Study or a teen all night event in the gym. In the schedule you give them also let them know what activities they can attend or are expected to attend. Missionaries have missed an event that the pastor assumed they would attend, and missionaries have shown up at an event where they were not expected or, in some cases, not wanted.
  2. Provide a written information sheet that informs them about everything they need to know about your mission housing.
    • Up to date Wi-Fi instructions
    • Who to call with a maintenance problems or suspicious circumstances that cannot wait for office hours. Provide the phone numbers of at least a primary and secondary person to call.
    • Where the laundry is and when they can use it if the washer and dryer are not in the room.
    • Where should they take the trash they want to take out of the room.
    • Instructions for the TV, heater, air conditioner and any other electronic equipment in the room.
    • The location of extra sheets, towels, wash cloths, cleaning supplies, etc. if not located in the room.
    • The location of recommended stores, restaurants, parks, and places of interest in your area, and warnings about any unsafe places in your area.

Departure information

Missionaries sometimes find themselves in a “you should have, you shouldn’t have” world. The expectations about how to leave the missionary housing run the gamut from “the church will do it all, just take your stuff and go” to “deep clean and recarpet.” Missionaries are happy to clean a room just like you want it cleaned if they know what you want and have access to the equipment and cleaning supplies they need. Take the mystery of what your expectations are by writing and posting your cleaning list in the room. Be very specific. In those instructions clearly state where unwashed laundry goes, where the trash goes, and where to leave the key. State if you want the carpets vacuumed, the floors swept and mopped, and if the bathtub should be cleaned. If you have volunteers who enjoy the ministry of cleaning the room to be a blessing to missionaries, let them know that as well. The key to less frustration in the cleaning of your mission housing can be reduced with clearly written, detailed and posted cleaning instructions.