3 Dos and Don’ts When Talking to Your Missionary Friends
April 2024

Digital Only: Young Adults

3 Dos and Don’ts When Talking to Your Missionary Friends

We can all offer meaningful support to our friends who are serving the Lord.

a man typing on a computer and smiling

When I was serving as a missionary in the Dominican Republic and Iowa, getting emails and messages from my friends was a huge support. Knowing I had people in my corner back home made me feel strong enough to face the challenges of a mission.

But some weeks, I found myself facing the dreaded post–preparation day blues as I logged off my email or hung up the phone. Getting back into the rhythm of the work was hard. Why was it that some weeks left me feeling refreshed while others brought waves of homesickness?

If you have friends currently serving missions, you may find yourself asking, “How can I best support my friends while they are serving?”

Here are a few ideas!

Don’t Cause FOMO

Two years or 18 months can feel like a long time, especially at the beginning of a mission, and the FOMO—or fear of missing out—can hit hard. Your missionary friends want to hear about what’s going on in your life, but it might not be helpful to bring up the latest episode of their favorite TV show, the score of the last basketball game, or what someone they once dated is up to. Help your friend focus on the wonderful things they are doing—how they are helping others come closer to the Savior—rather than showcasing what they are “missing out” on.

Do Join Them in the Work

It can be difficult to deal with feeling distant from your missionary friends while they are gone. Your relationship may feel like it’s shifting. Though you may not be spending time with them for a while, you can still feel close as you seek to join them in the work of gathering Israel—a work that President Russell M. Nelson described as “the most important thing taking place on earth today.”1

For you, gathering Israel might look like spending more time studying the scriptures, going to the temple, or seeking out your own opportunities to share the gospel with those around you. Ask your missionary friends about the people they are teaching. Pray for them by name. Keep up with experiences and special moments.

Whatever ways you choose to join in on the missionary work, make sure you share your spiritual experiences with your missionary. As you bring others (or yourself) unto Christ, you’ll find that your bond with your friend has grown stronger than ever!

Don’t Be Upset When You Don’t Hear from Them

A missionary’s preparation day can get busy; with chores, errands, activities, emails, and phone calls home, it sometimes feels like preparation day is the most stressful day of the week. And for some missionaries, especially at the beginning of their missions, spending a lot of time writing or calling home can make them more homesick. Your missionary friends love and miss you, but sometimes the best way to help is to be understanding if they can’t talk every week.

Do Remind Them Who They Are

Missionary work can be difficult, and one of Satan’s greatest tactics is discouragement. He often tries to get missionaries to forget who they really are or to feel like they are not good enough. But each of us is a son or daughter of our Heavenly Father with infinite worth and potential.

As Elder Mark A. Bragg of the Seventy taught: “We truly are divine spiritual beings having a mortal experience. Knowing who we are and being true to that divine identity are foundational to the development of Christlike poise.”2

If your friends feel discouraged in their missionary work, remind them of who they truly are! As their friend, you are in a unique position to uplift them—remind them of their strengths, gifts, talents, and important calling. You may also share stories of times they’ve inspired you! But above all, remind them that Heavenly Father trusted them to represent the Savior and His Church in this great work and that He will be with them for support.

Don’t Pressure Them to Break Rules

The overall guideline that missionaries have for communicating with friends is that they “should limit [their] communication to email or letter and not by phone or video chat, unless approved by [their] mission president.”3 Rules for communicating with friends—like what platforms are allowed—may vary with each mission. Find out what the rules are in your friend’s mission so you can support them in being obedient.

Do Be Authentic and Inspired

At the end of the day, the best way you can support your missionary friends is by being authentic to yourself and by seeking inspiration from Heavenly Father. Do spiritual work each week to keep the Holy Ghost with you. The Spirit will help you know what your friends need, and as you follow His influence, He will guide you to say and share the messages your missionary friends need to hear when they need it most.

And then, like Alma and the sons of Mosiah, when your friend returns home, you can “rejoice exceedingly” (see Alma 17:1–5), knowing that during their sacred time of missionary service, you’ve both grown closer to the Lord.


  1. Russell M. Nelson, “Hope of Israel” (worldwide youth devotional, June 3, 2018), Gospel Library.

  2. Mark A. Bragg, “Christlike Poise,” Liahona, May 2023, 61.

  3. Missionary Standards for Disciples of Jesus Christ, 3.9, Gospel Library.