Dear Brother & Sister Forshee,
We are grateful to have Elder Forshee serving with us in the Bulgaria Sofia Mission. We appreciate his enthusiasm and we are confident that he will help us move forward. We will do everything possible to insure that he remains healthy, happy, and actively engaged in his missionary labors. We pray for our missionaries, as well as their families, every day.
We just want to let you know some of our thoughts and feelings about how you can effectively support your son and to let you know how the Bulgaria Sofia Mission operates. As parents of a returned missionary, we know some of what you are experiencing and are confident you will receive great blessings through Elder Forshee's faithful service. It is a great time for you as well as for him.
Communication With The Mission Office:
Normal inquiries and questions about packages or anything related to your missionary's service should be directed to our mission office. We have a wonderful senior couple serving there who fondly look after, and serve with your son. You may email at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will gladly respond. The mission office phone number from the US is 00359-2-946-3329, and the fax number is 00359-2-944-5258. These numbers include the international and country codes from the US. If the office doesn't know how to respond, or if your request/question needs further attention, they will forward your email to the president.
Communication With The Mission President:
If you have concerns that you feel should be shared with us, the best way to reach us is by email at:
President Wilstead email@example.comSister Wilstead firstname.lastname@example.org. We are often traveling so it may take a day or two to respond. If there is an emergency concern that you feel demands immediate attention (for instance the death of a grandparent) please call us on our cell phones, President Wilstead 00359-888-639-275 and Sister Wilstead 00359-888-569-690. These numbers include the international and country codes from the US. We do not have voice mail on our cell phones, so if we are unable to to answer, I suggest you call back in an hour or so.
Your Contact Information:
We want to be sure that we can always reach you to share with you some of the great events in the life of your son or in the rare event that there is an emergency. If your emails, home address, home or cell phone numbers change, please send the updated information to the mission office at the email address above. Thanks for your help with this.
The best way you can support Elder Forshee is to write weekly emails. Preparation Day is the time when missionaries read their emails - remember that we are nine hours ahead of the Mountain Time Zone - so you need to send your email by Sunday evening. Occasionally preparation day is changed to accommodate zone conference. In this case preparation day would be changed to another day; Tuesday or Thursday. In your emails share what is happening in your family as well as your testimonies and spiritual insights each week. We encourage every missionary to follow the Missionary Handbook which limits a missionary's weekly email to family (parents, siblings, and grandparents) and to the mission president, using only his myldsmail.net email account. All other correspondence should be letters and cards.
We encourage missionaries to write or email you every week. If you do not receive an email for two weeks in a row, or have a pattern of sporadic emails, please let us know and we will follow up with your son to encourage him to write. When you receive your son's email you may want to have a list of those to whom you forward his email. In our case our son would highlight confidential information in his email so that we knew to delete it prior to forwarding to a list of extended family and and friends.
Letters And Cards:
Letters and cards can be mailed to the mission office at:
Bulgaria Sofia MissionElder Nicolas William Forshee 21 Marin Drinov1504 Sofia, BulgariaEast Europe
Letters and packages will be delivered at the first opportunity. Please do not send money or valuables. Another great way to communicate is through the on-line DearElder site - it is $1.05 and gets here in a week.
Small airmail packages take about two weeks to arrive. Packages sent by surface mail can take two to three months to get here. Hefty customs fees will be charged for packages with a value over $30 US. NEVER INSURE PACKAGES as they will be given a stiff customs charge that the missionary will pay from their personal funds. Also, if anything edible is listed it will go to the Department of Agriculture and probably be eaten there! Mail and packages are picked up regularly by the office staff.
Phone Calls and Visits:
Parents and family will have the opportunity on Christmas and Mothers' Day to visit for 30-40 minutes with Elder Forshee by telephone or Skype (where available.) You will be responsible for making the phone call. A few weeks prior to the day he will let you know the number at which he can be reached. Use this as an opportunity to share and express your love towards one another. Encourage Elder Forshee to share his testimony in his mission language. These calls are memorable and special times. Enjoy them!
Visits from family and friends or acquaintances with your son during his service in the Bulgaria Sofia Mission are against Church policy. Please help your son maintain his focus and singleness of heart and mind on the work of the Lord.
Traveling to the Bulgaria Sofia Mission to Pick up Your Missionary:
The Church discourages parents from traveling to a mission to pick up a missionary at the conclusion of his service. Until he visits with his stake president, he must dress and conduct himself as a missionary. Also, the exact return date for your son will not be fixed until approximately four to five months prior to his return. We have two languages and two countries in which to balance our resources so we wait until we know the timing of the new incoming missionaries before we fix the departure dates of the returning missionaries. Your son's return date will be somewhere within thirty days prior to or after his anniversary date.
We encourage you to come back after your son has been released to see Bulgaria. He will have no restriction and can help with the planning. You can also chose a time and weather that is convenient for you to experience some of the wonderful culture here.
Our primary goal in scheduling arrivals and departures is to minimize disruption with our proselyting efforts and help bless the lives of the people of Bulgaria by teaching them about Jesus Christ. This may not always be compatable with your travel plans. We appreciate your understanding on this matter.
We will do everything we can to help Elder Forshee strengthen his faith in Jesus Christ and reach his potential. If at any time you sense a problem with your son or have a suggestion as to how we can help him be more effective, please send us an email. You deserve to be very proud of Elder Forshee, he is great! Thanks for your support!
President Michael S. WilsteadBulgaria Sofia Mission