Care packages are a great way to encourage missionaries and send them a bit of home—but sending care packages can also be tricky. In some countries, care packages and their contents can present a huge hassle for your missionary. Always coordinate care packages with missionaries before sending them. Here are four questions you should ask:

1. How long does it typically take a package to reach you?

Packages sent overseas could take months to arrive. If you’re trying to send a timely care package, like a birthday or Christmas gift, give yourself plenty of lead time.

2. What’s your shipping address?

Ask your missionary exactly how to fill out the shipping label—specifically whether it should be in English or a local language. If the shipping address is incorrect, it might never reach your missionary.

3. Are there items we shouldn’t mail?

Make sure whatever you send will make it through customs. Some countries have quotas on what you can send and how much, missionaries might have to pay for some items, and some items are likely to get stolen. On another note: some items don’t mail well. Chocolate, for instance, usually melts before making it to a destination. If physical packages are too much of a hassle, consider how you might be able to send a gift card through email—but be sure to ask your missionary if the gift should be in local currency.

4. What do you miss?

For many missionaries, the support and encouragement found in a care package is much more meaningful than the contents—but it’s still nice to send a few of their favorite things from home. Ask them what they miss the most or what they need and aren’t able to get where they are. Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Handwritten notes
  • Favorite snacks
  • Cooking spices
  • Coffee
  • Books
  • Holiday-specific decorations and ingredients
  • Toiletries or personal items
  • Small candles or other scented items
  • Pictures of family and friends
  • Games or toys for children

When missionaries receive care packages, they see more than a box of things—they see someone who spent time and energy thinking about them. They experience your care.

This article was originally published on The Network.