How to send packages, mail, and more

I am often asked how a person can send a letter, package, or gift to the mission. Here are some ways you can send support!

Packages

My shipping address here in the Philippines is:

Father Silouan Thompson
Lambino Village Street
Corner of Colongan Road
Barangay Poblacion
Santa Maria, Davao del Sur 8011
PHILIPPINES
0995 456 8317

Remember to include the phone number, so the mailman can contact me to arrange delivery and payment of import duty.

Mail: Cards, letters, small items

The US Post Office will try to sell you expensive Priority Mail, but a plain 9″x12″ envelope can get here starting at just ten dollars. Finally, be aware that envelopes sent by mail may be opened by customs or by thieves, so don’t send valuable things by mail. For items of value, shippers like DHL or Federal Express may offer economical surface-shipping options from your country.

In the US, I receive mail at:

Silouan Thompson
1321 Upland Dr. #4163
Houston, TX 77043
USA

That address is my box at a company whose mailbots scan all my paper mail into PDFs, so I can read it all online immediately. Fast and convenient!

I receive mail in the Philippines at:

Father Silouan Thompson
Lambino Village Street
Santa Maria, Davao del Sur 8011
PHILIPPINES

Note that PhilPost is pretty reliable but they take a rather leisurely approach to delivery. Mail from the US usually arrives at the capital city within a week or so, but then it can take many weeks to make its way to our small town. Mail comes to Santa Maria almost every Wednesday, however the postman will usually not deliver anything to you until you have a few letters or packages built up, so it’s worth making the trip.

Balikbayan Box (bulk shipping)

If you have in mind to send a missionary care package, or relief goods such as over-the-counter medicines, then a “Balikbayan Box” will get here in about two months for a very reasonable price. A specially sized Balikbayan Box, regardless of weight, will get here for under a hundred dollars. LBC is by far the most popular shipper of this kind. Or if that process is too complicated, I can put you in touch with friends who will add your items to a box they’re already filling to send here.

Mission support, designated offerings, monthly pledges

From anywhere on the Philippine Mission website, the Donate button can help you partner with us financially. Those links go through Paypal, but you don’t need a Paypal account. (Paypal takes a nominal fee of about 3 cents per dollar, which is what any online giving or credit-card processing site charges the recipient.) Of course, if you prefer not to use a debit or credit card, checks can be sent to the Fund For Assistance to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, designated for the Philippine Mission:

The Fund for Assistance to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
P.O. Box 272
Glen Cove, NY 11542
USA

Be sure to note Philippine Mission on your check. Thank you!

Cash

If you ever want to send cash directly to anyone in the Philippines, by far the best service is Xoom.com. Western Union is more familiar to many Americans, but they are more difficult to work with, and have few offices here in rural parts of the country. Xoom knows the Philippines well. Because the one ATM in our town is unreliable, I use Xoom every few weeks to send cash from my US bank account to myself here. It’s usually approved instantly and cash is available to me right away. You only need to know the recipient;s legal name (on their ID) and their phone number so they can be notified. Mine is:

Philip Thompson
+63 995-456-8317

Cell phone load

Outside the US, most of the world has pre-paid mobile phone service. For that reason, when you call or text to developing nations, you will often hear “I can’t respond now because I have no load.” The person you’re trying to text or call needs to take cash to a vendor in the marketplace and buy more credits or minutes for his phone. This is also how many of us pay for our Internet connections, which is why we may be slow to respond to emails.

Here is a company that is a great help for missionaries: TawagPinas.com (the name means “Call the Philippines” but they support mobile users in many countries.) They allow you to easily send a mobile phone airtime recharge to anybody if you know their phone number.

My mobile phone number in the Philippines is 995-456-8317. The website will let you choose how much you’d like to send – the oddly-numbered choices work out to nice round numbers in pesos :-) If you haven’t used this service before, they will probably call you to verify that you’re a real customer, not a stolen card. I appreciate that verification! After the first time, it takes only a moment to send a mobile reload to anyone anywhere. This is an easy way to bless any overseas missionary whom you support.