Here in New York City I occasionally run into the full-time missionaries. Usually when that happens, if I have some cash in my pocket, I give them a little money so they can “go buy a sandwich” or some kind of snack. I imagine that street contacting in NYC can be challenging and it’s my way of trying to boost their spirits a little bit. As I remember it, when I was a missionary, seeing a friendly face and having a little food in my stomach could make a big difference.

This morning on the way to work I saw the missionaries at 181st street, as I was exiting the subway. They were in the middle of contacting someone (in Spanish). I waited until they were done, got their attention and offered them five dollars. We were standing in front of Dunk’n Donuts, so it seemed obvious what they might choose to do with the money.

They seemed a little more reluctant than usual to accept it (at first I insisted). It occurred to me that they might have a rule on the subject. So I asked them. Sure enough, they told me they have a rule now that says they cannot accept cash gifts from members. I don’t know how the rule/regulation is worded and I’m guessing this is a local regulation. I don’t recall anything like this appearing in the “white Bible” back when I was a missionary.

Having experienced this though, it occurs to me that there might be some other more practical and constructive way to support the missionary program.

I suppose some of the possible solutions are obvious – but I’m wondering what suggestions readers might have.