Wycliffe Guidelines for Writing Letters to Christians Overseas

The following guidelines are provided by Wycliffe to ensure that mail to Barb and Reg arrives and that it doesn't jeopardize their work.

1. Most mail entering and leaving is routinely read in spite of official denials. Nothing is "censored" out of letters -- in some areas, much mail never arrives. It is good to number letters or to say "This is my third letter to you since Christmas." Note that typed letters, especially air forms, arrive more easily than handwritten.

2. Feel free to write 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, sightseeing, vacations, etc.

3. Be positive and encouraging; responding to some items in your friend's letters that will show that you have prayerfully read them.

4. Avoid "I'm praying for you"; substitute "thinking of you." Avoid politics, support or money gifts comments, negative comments, evangelism, missionary work, witnessing, etc. Do not mention "newsletters" or "prayer letters."

5. In no way imply that the person is in this country as a "missionary" or "for the Lord" or is in any way connected with any Christian organization. Do not write on paper that has church letterhead or any Christian agency letterhead. Do not ask about giving out Bibles or about any type of witnessing, teaching Christ in the classroom, or about meeting house-church Christians.

6. Mail is eagerly received by your friends, especially if photos of friends and home are included. Special American days provide a great time to show you care through cards. Postcards, birthday, Easter, valentine, Thanksgiving and Christmas cards can be sent directly.

7. Most packages never arrive. However, parcels weighing less than two pounds and sent in jiffy bags/flat packs can be sent "small packet rate" by air and usually get through just fine.

Mail is so important to those far from home. Frequent cards are better than one long letter. Pray for your friend as you write! God bless you!

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