Thursday, August 27, 2015

5 Ways to begin a Mail Ministry

The art of art, the glory of expression, and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.  Walt Whitman

They are old and yellowed, with ink fading to a light blue. The soft, midnight blue velvet ribbon tied around them says it all – these letters are treasured. The art of writing personal letters is almost a gift of the past. Letters tell rich stories – of the writer and the recipient -- yet our generation is robbed of this gift.

Are handwritten letters a thing of the past? The availability of electronic communication makes it easy to send a quick message or make a phone call, thus writing a letter is usually too much trouble. Regardless, we all like receiving letters, and topping the list – the elderly.

Last year I made a commitment to send one letter a month to someone important in my life – someone who was alone and/or in a difficult situation. I didn’t quite reach my goal, but when I did, I was more blessed than the receiver. I knew I had brightened someone’s day. 

Essayist Phyllis Theroux said, “To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.” But it seems so hard. Where are the stamps? What’s the address? I found a way to make it easier. I addressed twelve notecards – even added stamps, then readily visited with my pen – moving only my heart.

If you sense God urging you towards a mail ministry, consider these suggestions:

1. College students: Young people away from home and need encouragement. I think it’s fun to stuff the envelope with a $5.00 coffee shop card.

2. Facebook friends: How many times do you read of a friend struggling? You can find almost anyone’s address on Buy a stack of encouraging cards or use a blank notecard. Write an appropriate Scripture, a verse of a hymn, or a personal prayer asking God to bless and comfort them.

3. Preschool children: Children love to get mail, and I’ve found that sending mail to a child also encourages their mother. When my young daughters received mail, they carried it around all day. Include a sheet of stickers or a coloring sheet. Teach your own children the beauty of letter writing, and suggest they write a letter to their friends.

4. Weary, tired mothers: Being a stay-at-home mother is priceless, but let’s not think every minute is a Kodak moment. Kids get sick, pout, tug on clothes, and wear out the word “Mommy.” What harried mom wouldn’t love to watch the postman drop a personal letter in their box? You could write a funny story from when your own children were young or include a cartoon clipping about motherhood.

5. Extended family. My Aunt Posie is slowing down. I rarely get to see her. When I connect through letter writing, I make sure to remind her I don’t expect her to respond to my letters. It’s my gift to her. In my most recent letter, I included a picture of my grandchildren so she could feel a part of my joy. 

Write letters to soldiers, prisoners and missionaries. Send them “just because” or on special days. Share what God is teaching you. Make a bookmark to send in the envelope or sprinkle in some lavender petals. There’s no right or wrong except not writing at all.

You may write on beautiful stationary with matching ink, or scribble quickly on your child’s school notebook paper. You may write the address with a flourish or quickly fold the letter into business envelopes. You may seal the envelope with wax or quickly run your tongue over the glue. But we can all write like the great Biblical letter writer, Paul, opening with, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”

These "tuck-in" cards have been taken from Paul's letters to his friends. Click here to Download. Print on Avery clean-edge Business Cards or on heavy paper and cut out.  Tuck them into your letters to encourage your friends. 

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Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Thank you, Pamela, this is great. I have been thinking about it, and am going to begin. <3

Rebecca said...

Maybe a sign that I'm getting older myself, but I am writing more notes/letters in this season of life. I think it's also a thoughtful gift to give notecards and stamps to elderly friends.....

Esther Asbury said...

Wonderful post! I've tried harder these past few years to send "thinking of you" notes to the elderly/shut-ins and personal letters to special friends who've moved away.
I know from experience: There's nothing like opening the mailbox to a personal note - especially on a "down day!"

Unknown said...

I so appreciate hand-written letters! Handwriting adds so much personality to words. In recent years I've noticed how much I treasure hand-written recipes. One of my closest friends lost her mother-in-law a few years back and each time I make her favorite chocolate cake recipe I am blessed to see her handwriting, a tiny piece of her on the recipe card. Thanks for this great reminder!

Marie said...

Interesting that I would read this post when I've been thinking about the same thing. I have two aunts that I rarely get to see and have thought often of writing. Thank you for a well-written and thought-out post. Blessings to you and yours!

Marie @

Unknown said...

Receiving letters has to be one of my most favorite gifts and I used to be very diligent in sending them out to others when I thought about it. Now, it has become easy to forget to do,but your post inspired me to start that habit again.

A sweet friend of mine has mastered this ministry tool, though, and it is quite unique. She actually reads the paper and sends a card to those who lost a loved one, were hospitalized, or maybe have a birthday with a word of grace and a prayer of hope. The love she pours in faith is an overwhelming testimony of His love in her. It is beautiful.
Thanks for sharing this dose of wisdom.

Sheila said...

Just recently I was thinking about letter writing also. When we moved to Indiana, it put me over 500 miles away from my parents. Mom & I faithfully wrote to each other, maybe once or twice a week. I remember being so excited when I would open the mailbox & one of her letters would be there. After I few years I thought of saving them. How I wish I would have started keeping them from the beginning. They are stashed away in a keepsake box where once in a while when I want to hear her voice, I can pick one out, read it, & almost here her talking to me. And, they contain a lot of family memories!

Thanks for the reminder. I'll try to do a little letter writing myself!

Tayrina Gonzalez said...

What a great post! Thanks for sharing this at Grace & Truth Link Up.

Tayrina from

Joanne Viola said...

Wonderful post & suggestion for us all. We all love to get a card or letter. May we bless someone with the gift of seeing our handwriting today :)

Denise said...

such a wonderful idea.

Gail Griner Golden at Gail-Friends said...

Wonderful ideas, Pamela. Thanks for sharing the with us.

Shannon Wallace said...

Pamela, of all of the ministries I have had in the past, my mail ministry is probably my most favorite. I'm an old-fashioned soul that loves to send letters (and get a few too). There are times I just really feel the Holy Spirit moving my hand and filling my mind with words to encourage my dear sisters who are scattered all over the world. I truly believe that a hand written letter is a lost art that needs to be revived. Nothing like a personal, hand written note of encouragement! Thank you for sharing! :)

dawn klinge said...

What a wonderful idea! I know that I love receiving letters. I also love writing them, especially when I have some beautiful stationary. You have inspired me. I will try and write a letter to someone special this week.

Unknown said...

HELLO! How fun to see you :) And what a great post. My senior mom has loved to do this for years. She's reaching a point where she's not able to do it as much any more. But her great grandkids have a stored treasure of her love in the notes and cards she's sent them thru the years. :)

Have a blessed and beautiful week!

Kaye Swain

BARBIE said...

I love receiving handwritten notes in the mail. These are all great ideas of how we can begin our own mail ministry. Thank you for sharing at Weekend Whispers.

Jelli said...

This is a fantastic idea! I love getting and sending mail but have gotten out of the habit since having kids. I like buying assorted cards from Dayspring right after Christmas when they're super super discounted (not just Christmas cards go on sale then!) and sending them out throughout the year.

Andy and Ana said...

Thank you Pamela, This is so Encouraging~now I have a Format to create Scripix-note cards. Love all your Creative Ideas. <3 mrs.ana

Wanda said...

I appreciate these Pamela. I was looking for additional something to stick inside cards for my Compassion sponsor kids. These will make a perfect little addition.

myrtlebeachweddings said...

Good morning Pamela! I've been trying to "unplug" as well and get back to the basics in many areas. Snail mail is the greatest thing ever and I miss it terribly so I'm trying to send more of it to family and friends and have even been contemplating starting a pen pal club for kids. I love the tuck in cards! I'm also trying to get back to blogging regularly so stop by my blogs for a visit and hopefully I'll be posting more frequently soon!!!

Happy to have stumbled across your blog!