We all have loved ones, and when we’re apart it can be extremely hard. Being reunited with someone you miss deeply can be such an exciting and nerve-racking experience. If you want to do something special to show the individual how much you care, a welcome home sign may be just the thing.
What is a missionary welcome home sign? A missionary welcome home sign is a sign that is used to portray a message to a missionary who is returning home. This sign is used at pick up locations as a means to be easily identified by the individual returning home.
This post is categorized in a few different parts. It explains what a missionary welcome home sign is in more detail, as well as lists what to include and use on a sign. In addition, I have provided recommendations on where to make customizable signs online.
- What is a Missionary Welcome Home Sign?
- What do I Include on the Sign?
- List of Materials to Use
- Where Can I Customize a Sign?
- Helpful Things to Keep in Mind
What is a Missionary Welcome Home Sign?
Before you make a welcome home sign, you should first understand what one is. A missionary welcome home sign is a sign or banner that is held typically at airports, bus stops, train stations, and pick up areas. They vary in size or style, however, they are usually large enough for the individual to see from a distance.
MIssionary welcome home signs are special ways to invite someone home. It is a way to say “We love you,” “We missed you,” and “We’re happy you’re home.” Welcome home signs are also practical because they help the missionary find their family and friends easily. Most means of travel are busy.
Therefore, it can be difficult to find people in the crowd. A welcome home sign is an easy thing to spot. It may even be the first thing that the individual sees after stepping out of the vehicle.
What do I Include on the Sign?
What is included on the sign is highly up to the creator. The creator has the opportunity to create or design a sign as he or she thinks best. Furthermore, this creator takes into account what the missionary would prefer.
There is nothing that cannot be put on the sign (however I do recommend its appropriate if it’s being presented in public). Likewise, there is nothing that must be on the sign. This is a special decision that ultimately rests upon the personality and desires of the missionary. However, to help you brainstorm, I am listing some fun things to include on your sign.
- Inside Jokes – Inside jokes are a fun and personal way to invite someone home. This is especially because only the missionary and the people at hand know what the joke is referring to.
- Pictures or Objects that the Missionary Likes – Does your missionary love random things? For example, has your missionary’s favorite animal always been a dog? Include them on the sign in a creative way to show that you notice even the smallest things about them.
- Photos of Loved Ones – Pictures paint a thousand words. By using pictures you can stir up positive emotions, feelings, and memories to the missionary.
- Memes – Memes are a little less serious and a little more fun. For your humorous missionaries, this may be a fun expression.
- Gift Cards – Why not double your sign as a gift? Purchase gift cards to the missionary’s favorite restaurants and stores. Then, tape them on the post.
- Sentimental Phrases – Make your missionary feel especially loved and cherished by adding a personal message.
- Signatures – If numerous people make the sign together, have them all sign their names. This will help the missionary remember who all was there, even years later. Small personal notes can also be added by each signature.
What Materials do I use?
The materials that you choose to use for your sign depend greatly on your missionary. I personally enjoy elaborate signs with glitter, color, and streamers. However, this is not the case for all individuals. Men and women have different tastes. Some individuals do not like signs at all and would prefer an alternative welcome home gift.
Since there is such a large variety, I will not list all the things to include or exclude on your sign. Instead, I will give some suggestions that may help you in your decision-making process.
Best Materials & Recommendations
- Posterboard – This is perhaps the best base to use as a sign. Posterboards can be found in practically any grocery store, craft store, or dollar store.
- Markers – Markers are a great way to make the wording on your sign stand out.
- Glitter – Glitter can add excitement to your letter, background, or additional designs.
- Streamers – Streamers can be hung from the sides of the sign to add more emphasis.
- Cultural Elements – To the best of your ability, add cultural elements that relate to or are from the location that your missionary is returning from. This is a special way to recognize the culture in which your missionary became acquainted.
- Candy – Candy signs are a fun and delicious way to spread your message. Candy can be taped to the poster either in an intentional design or randomly. At times, candy is placed in a punny way that either forms a sentence or relates to another joke.
- Photos – Use photos of your missionary, either that you received while he or she was on the trip or photos of family and friends. Photos are a sentimental way to spread the message. They represent many memories and relationships.
- Stickers or Decals – Stickers and decals add another element to a sign or banner. They can be used for design or for lettering. For those who struggle to write large letters, decals are a great alternative.
- Laminate – If you laminate the poster, it will last much longer. It can then be hung in a room and kept. Lamination also helps keep the sign intact if you are adding glitter, stickers, or additional elements.
Where Can I Customize a Sign?
Handmade signs are time-consuming and require levels of creativity. For those who do not have the time or the desire to make a handmade sign or banner, they can opt for a customized sign. There is no shame in opting for a customized sign over a handmade one. Customized signs retain the sentiment of a handmade sign because they are created especially for the individual.
They often last longer since they are made out of better materials that are designed to withstand the elements. Customized signs have many benefits and appeal. For this reason, I have listed some different options for customizable signs. There is variety in the types and styles of these signs.
Vista Print is an incredible place to shop if you are looking for vinyl signs and banners. Mesh banners and retractable banners are also available. The styles and materials are suited for either indoor or outdoor use over a longer period of time. These banners and signs will not rip or tear quickly as paper signs do.
Banners and signs are not the only products available at Vista Print. If you want to add additional gifts you can design photo gifts, clothing, and bags.
Visit Vista Print, here.
Banners on the Cheap
Banners on the Cheap give you the opportunity to design your own personal sign. The smallest size is 2′ 2′. This size costs roughly $8.29, depending on materials and content. The largest size is 10′ 3′. This costs about $32.35.
There are various sizes in the range in between. The materials are made from mesh, vinyl, fabric, flags, and retractable banners. These banners can be designed just with words or with a large photo as well.
Banners on the Cheap have a 5 out of 5-star rating from over 5,000 reviews. They are well known for their speedy deliveries, quality, and price range.
Learn more about Cheap Banners, here.
Personal Creations offers customizable signs that dual purpose as a household decoration. If you want to give your missionary something they can keep forever, then this option may be right for you. The signs vary in size, the materials used can include wood, metal, and slate. There are various shapes and combinations to choose from.
You can still use these signs at a pickup location, such as an airport, bus stop, or train station. They are the perfect way to great your missionary while showing your support and love. This gift is something that they can keep for a lifetime. You won’t have to worry about the paper, plastic, or other materials typically used that rip and tear after a couple of days.
Learn more about Personal Creations, here.
Gifts for You Now
Similarly, there is a website called Gifts for You Now that allows you to customize long term welcome home presents. These also include various sized signs, garden flags, blankets, picture frames, and even t-shirts. A welcome home sign doesn’t have to be restricted to a typical poster board paper. It can be as creative and unique as you like.
A fun idea would be to design t-shirts that welcome your missionary home. All the t-shirts in the welcoming group could be the same, or you could spell out a phrase using numerous shirts. In addition, the customizable picture frames are a special way to send your message alongside the sentiment that comes from photos.
Gifts for You Now can be found, here.
Minuteman Press provides a wide array of paper products. Although they don’t offer a banner or sign, they do sell window and wall decals. For those of you inviting a returning missionary into your home, this may be a fun and slightly over the top way to say “we missed you!” Minuteman Press also has custom plaques and awards. Even though plaques and awards aren’t a common welcome home gesture, they are sentimental. They can be used to honor the hard work and dedication that your missionary put forth.
If you are part of a church or organization that has sent a missionary, this is one way to honor their sacrifice and service. Plaques and awards can be given informally. They can also be given in a banquet setting. Larger settings may more officially congratulate the work and completion of specific missionary tasks.
Visit Minuteman Press’ website, here.
Amazon has an extensive array of banners and signs. Most of the signs are customizable. These include your traditional welcome home banners and posters. There are dozens of styles and sizes to fit your needs.
Some of the banners are made distinctly out of the shapes of the letters. Others are a rectangular or square shape with your message displayed across. If you want glitter, fringe, or photos, you can find it.
Access Amazon’s page about personalized banners, here.
Helpful Things to Keep in Mind
Welcoming a missionary home is an exciting and emotional event. The location and time a missionary was gone may heighten these to greater levels. Both the family and friends, as well as the missionary are experiencing overwhelming emotions, thoughts, and feelings. Many of these are good, however, some of them may be characterized by fear, exhaustion, confusion, and reverse culture shock. Here are some helpful things to keep in mind as you welcome your missionary home.
Your Missionary is Tired
Your missionary is exhausted from travel, culture, social interactions, and physical changes. Even transitioning to eat another type of food can be hard on a missionary body. Meanwhile, your missionary worked extremely hard in another culture and faced numerous difficulties while away.
Keep this in mind while interacting with your missionary, especially right after they return home. Offer them comfort foods and relaxing activities. Make the place they stay as comfortable as possible. Also be aware of the noise, crowds, and activities going on around them.
Your Missionary May be Experiencing Reverse Culture Shock
Reverse culture shock occurs when an individual first leaves their culture, enters into another culture, and then return back to their native culture. This is an overwhelming event. Especially for those returning to a Westernized culture. After seeing such need and depravity in third world countries, missionaries may struggle to grasp the waste of Western culture.
Your Missionary Needs Time
A huge celebration and a day packed full of plans may seem like the best route to welcome someone home. However, if you desire to support your missionary in the best way, allow some fluidity in your plans. Don’t make your plans too concrete. Lower your expectations, even if they are birthed from good intentions.
Give your missionary the time they need to rest, recuperate, and readjust. This may mean postponing parties, activities, and additional travel until days or a week later. Ask your missionary what he or she would like to do. You can make suggestions. But ultimately, allow your missionary the ability to turn down plans if necessary.
Your Missionary Needs Support
Your missionary has undergone incredible things that have been rewarding and difficult. They have experienced many things that perhaps you, and those around you cannot relate to. Do not let this get in the way of your community and relationship with your missionary.
Be as understanding as possible. Seek to understand their perspective, even if you can’t personally relate. Do additional research about their work, location, organization, etc. that may help you gain insight. Ultimately, support your missionary in as many ways as possible. Do not leave them alone to readjust. Respect boundaries. However, don’t isolate your missionary.
Don’t expect things to instantly return to the way they were before your missionary left. Instead, grow alongside your missionary. Build new memories. Form new hobbies together. Talk about new subjects. Learn about one another all over again.
Resources to Support Your Missionary
Missionaries are taking part in difficult work. What they do is not an easy task and it involves great levels of sacrifice. Therefore, they need as much support and care as possible. In addition to welcome home signs, there are care packages that can be sent while your missionary is overseas. There are also simple and practical ways to encourage your interns or missionary.
The blog post, What to Pack in Missionary Care Packages, gives a simple list of what to send and what not to send. There are 5 easy steps to take to ensure that the package is efficient and effective for its purpose. Further, there are details about international shipping, and common errors to avoid.
If you are seeking to be more of an encouragement but you don’t know how, refer to, How To Encourage Your Intern: Four Ways on Preventing Culture Shock. This post gives a personal word from an overseas intern. It also explains culture shock and four practical ways you can alleviate some of the struggles.
Lastly, How You Can Pray for Students on Internship, gives 6 crucial areas of prayer to cover an overseas missionary in. These include prays of acclimation, unity, language learning, loneliness, spiritual warfare, and perseverance. There are also Bible verses referenced that can be read as prayers.