So you don’t speak a word of the local language, but thanks to the sweet missionaries, you were able to understand what was happening at the church .... how to say thank you for something like that? We have some ideas (and tips) that will work in any country.
So you certainly don't have be religious to volunteer with ILP, but a lot of our volunteers are a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and they love going to church during their semester. Even if you don’t speak the language, that’s OK! You may have a sweet member or even a couple of missionaries who might translate for you if you aren’t attending an English Speaking Branch.
Want to serve abroad with people who share your standards?
Come apply to teach with ILP!
Every ILP location has access somehow to an LDS church or branch. In China, that may mean skyping in on Sundays, or taking a fast train to another city to attend in person. Or you may be in a city that you just have a short walk, then you're there.
But what we don’t know is if there will be missionaries who can translate for you, but even if there aren’t, don't let that hold you back from the experience of it (church is great even if you don’t speak the language!) But if there are missionaries who have helped you out during your semester, here are some ways to say thanks!
Bake + Bring A Treat
Food is always a good option, right? Maybe there’s even some favorite American food you can wrap up to say “thank you”. You may be able to find your favorites in country, or you can plan on packing an extra pack of cookies and hot chocolate from home.
Or you can buy your favorite treats here (like this chocolate!) and write up a note. Maybe your school is right around from an amazing strawberry field — that works too! Anything with food is easy and heartfelt (not to mention delicious).
My sister brought home tons of pictures that members gave her to say “thank you” and she has them hung up all over her wall. Maybe you can pack up your polaroid camera (here's more on how to pack up your polaroid and answers to all of your other packing questions) and snap a quick pictures and give that to the Sisters or Elders along with a note. Or maybe you can take a really beautiful picture of the temple or the church building and write a note on the back ... up to you!
If you're artistic, drawing out a favorite memory you have of the city they're spending so much of their time in would be an amazing way to pass along your gratitude.
Tell Their Mom
So this one might not mean as much to the actual missionary, but it will mean so much to their parents! You can ask the missionaries to get an email address for mom and dad and tell the parents of these missionaries how much you’ve appreciated their service. How sweet, right?
Ask The Kids For Help
You are more than welcome to draw a picture to say thank you, but things are a lot cuter when kids are involved. If you are helping out in the primary, think about writing a thank you note and having the kids color it in or make a craft.
These are just a few ideas, but you can always just write a note or drop off some flowers for the sister missionaries, or just give a big heartfelt thank you on your last week in church.
Wondering what a semester with ILP is really like?