I remember the day clearly…
My oldest son had been serving in South America for almost fourteen months, and his brother was really struggling in his absence. They were best buddies, confidants, partners in crime 🙂 I’d been praying and wondering what it would take for my younger son to snap out of his gloomy place.
Then one day a missionary name tag arrived in a dirty, crumbled envelope from Peru. That name tag, and the letter that came with it, changed everything.
My elder told his brother about the joy he’d found serving the Lord and the people of Peru. He explained that his name tag had gotten too worn out and he’d received a replacement, but he couldn’t bring himself to get rid of it because it symbolized the love, sweat, and tears that he was so grateful to have been able to experience. He said his name tag represented what was most important to him in the whole world – the Lord, His gospel, and eternal families.
The day my elder’s name tag arrived in the mail was a turning point for my younger son. It was simple, but it changed things for him in a powerful way. That tag and what it represented was motivating and inspiring. Most of all, it was a little reminder of his brother that he could look at every day, confirming for him that their time apart was worth it!
(Fast forward about 8 weeks… : )
As Christmastime came around a few months later, I was trying to come up with a meaningful, inexpensive gift for our family members who’d supported our missionaries during the year. Some of them contributed to our missionaries’ mission funds. Others wrote encouraging letters and emails. I really wanted something unique that would represent this special time in our family, and that would let them know how much their love and support meant to our missionaries and to us.
Remembering how much my elder’s name tag had meant to him personally, and what it had done for my son at home, I decided to design a name tag that could be hung on a Christmas tree, given as a gift, and kept in a special place in the home of any family with a missionary.
As you can probably imagine, the name tag gift was a hit! Our missionaries’ grandparents, aunts, and uncles loved them! My friends with missionaries asked me to make name tag ornaments for their families too. Now, here we are at the second Christmas season since creating the missionary name tag ornaments, and I have people I’ve never met contacting me to ask if there’s any way I can make them for their families! I even had a grandmother ask if I would make one for each of her returned missionary grandchildren so she could have a “missionary tree.”
With how much people have enjoyed the ornaments, I decided I would offer them on a website dedicated exclusively to missionary families. And I’d also offer other products, advice, and information that I’ve found helpful along the way. So that’s how MissionaryExchanges.com was born 🙂
Now, here’s my very favorite part of all this, and the reason why I didn’t give up when I realized how much work it was going to be, haha! Profits from Missionary Exchanges will go toward missionary work. That is my promise.
Thank you, you wonderful missionary families! Your sacrifice is so precious ♥