Missionaries love to get mail all the time, but they especially like to get it around Christmas time. If you haven’t gotten your letters and care packages in the mail by now (early December) you better do so soon in order to make sure they arrive by Christmas. For many missionaries, the Church’s “pouch” mail system provides the most reliable way to get a letter to your Mormon missionary.
What is the Pouch Mail System?
In about 38 countries, effecting approximately one-third of full-time Mormon missionaries worldwide, local postal systems are often unreliable. To help get letters to the missionaries, the LDS Church provides a mail service known as the “pouch,” wherein family and friends send their letters to Salt Lake City where they are then forwarded to mission headquarters around the world. The Church mail room staff sorts the letters into packets for each of the missions on the pouch the service and then ships the bundle of letters using a reliable global carrier directly to the mission homes. The pouch system isn’t fast, it can often take several weeks for a letter to arrive, but it has proven to be a reliable way for missionaries to get their mail.
Over the years, letters to missionaries sent through the pouch occasionally included cash, medication, stamps, printed pictures, and other non-correspondence-related items. Laws in each country are different, but most have regulations and taxes that apply to these types of items. The Church must comply with these regulations or they will not be able to continue the pouch service, therefore they have developed the following guidelines.
You can send two kinds of letter through the pouch: either a postcard or a letter on one side of a single sheet of paper. These are the only types of correspondence the pouch mail service will accept. The service does not accept envelopes or packages.
If you are using a piece of paper, the sheet should be folded into three parts, as is commonly done to insert a letter into a business envelope. The top edge of the sheet should be fastened with tape on the top edge only, no closer than one inch to either side. They recommend a single 8 1/2-inch x 11-inch sheet of 20-pound paper (the equivalent of paper used in most copiers).
Write your return address in the top left corner. Apply a stamp to the top right corner of the tri-folded paper or post card, and mail it to Church headquarters at this address:
Name of the missionary
P.O. Box 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150