Sunday, June 3, 2012

Further Mailing Instructions for the Ukraine Donetsk Mission

Sending Mail to Ukraine Donetsk Missionaries:

Letters.  There are two ways to send letters.  You can use the pouch or you can send through regular surface mail.
  • If you choose the pouch, you have to follow the new “tri-fold” rules.  So you can’t include anything, like pictures, money, or credit cards with your letter.  This is the major disadvantage of the pouch.  You mail your letter to the pouch address, and the Church office in Salt Lake takes care of getting the letter to Ukraine.  The letters are delivered once a week to the Donetsk mission office.  The advantages of this system are that it’s dependable.  You know it will get here.  Also it’s cheaper—only the cost of a stamp to Salt Lake.  It takes 1-2 weeks.  Letters can’t be sent this way from the mission. (See the following attachment about pouch mail.)
  • If you choose surface mail, you still need to send the letter to the mission office address.  By the time the letter gets to Ukraine, your missionary may have been transferred to another area. There are a couple of post offices that get mail addressed to the mission office, and every week it is picked up and brought to the mission office. We get both letters and packages this way.  Surface mail is often opened and is not always  reliable. 
Packages.  There are two basic ways to send packages:
  • Surface mail.  The same process and problems described above under “letters” apply to packages. The advantage here is that it costs less to send packages by surface mail than through other companies described below.  But there is a major disadvantage:  Ukrainian customs opens many of the surface mail packages we get.  Usually items are removed from the packages that are opened.  You take that risk when you use surface mail.  Packages can take 2 months or more to get here.  Put the missionary’s name on the package along with the address.
  • Businesses set up to handle mailing packages.  Roxolana is the one used by Ukrainian missionaries.  It is definitely more costly, but we have never seen a package opened and things removed.   You do have to wrap the packages carefully and securely.  You do have to declare all that goes into the package. Packages sent this way usually take one to two months to arrive.  If you are shipping something really valuable (as opposed to, say, snacks), you should consider this method or Meest .  (See attachment on Roxolana and Meest)
Instructions for shipping through Roxolana:

Roxolana is the company most often used by parents of missionaries, as well as the missionary couples serving here.  It is a Ukrainian company based in New Jersey.  For instructions, call the Roxolana number and ask for someone who speaks English.  Tell them the number of packages you wish to send and the approximate weight of each.  They will then send you the shipping labels with the weight indicated on them, along with other mailing instructions.

Boxing your things:  Use a very sturdy box that will hold up with rough handling.   Place the box on a scale.  Then put items you are sending in the box until it weighs the amount you requested on its label.  When the box is the right weight, pack the items inside carefully so they will not be damaged during transit.  Be especially careful with liquids, placing them in a ziploc bag to prevent leakage if their packaging is damaged.  Close and tape the box securely.  Then wrap the box in brown wrapping paper and tape it securely again with duct tape or strong mailing tape.  Use tape liberally. If the box is taped, covered and retaped in this way, it will probably not be opened during shipment and all items will arrive!   Keep a list of what you have sent for your records.

Roxolana requires that you include a list of items you are sending in an envelope outside of the package.  The company will then fill out a shipping declaration form.  Your description of contents can be fairly general with minimized value stated to lessen chance of theft.  (For example, “dried food”)  Address the box according to the instructions from Roxolana.  Take the box to a UPS pickup point or arrange online or by phone to have UPS pick up the package at your home.

UPS will ship the package to the Roxolana address in New Jersey.  You will then receive a call from Roxolana indicating the cost of shipping, including the UPS fee. After you have paid this by credit card over the phone, your package is on its way to your missionary in Ukraine!   It may take 3 months to get here.

How much time it takes for your missionary to get a package also depends on where he or she is serving.   It is necessary to send all packages to the mission office (Bogdana Khmelnitskogo 67a, Donetsk, Ukraine, 83087).  If your missionary is currently serving in or close to Donetsk, he/she will get the package within a few days after its arrival.   Missionaries in Kharkov or Sumy receive their packages as quickly as missionaries or leaders will be traveling to those cities.  Because of the length of time required to receive a package, be careful not to send perishable items such as home-baked goods.  Also, plan far in advance for birthdays and holidays!

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