Missionaries are dedicating 18 months to 2 years of their lives to the Lord and his work. They need things that will help them accomplish the Lord work or help them be inspired to do the Lords work. Things that missionaries needs have changed over time. When I was a missionary a cassette tape player or mini-disc player would have been nice, but not really all that practical today since those things are not really used anymore, as they can listen to talks digitally.
Most missionaries already have scriptures or the technology that they will need to be able to do the work. Things have changed a lot since the 1980s of what missionaries really need.
Missionaries need reminders, they need reminders of what they are doing right now. Simple artwork that they can carry around in their scriptures of the Savior is a good choice. I think that missionaries need less stuff, often times just inspirational quotes, encouraging words and prayers go farther than a package full of stuff.
Towards the end of my mission my clothes were pretty ragged, new white shirts are nice or pants.
Missionary service has changed a lot in the last 20 years. Missionaries were not allowed to use electronics and now are encouraged to. Missionaries were not allowed to set their own scheduled and were told how to run their day, now they have more flexible working hours. Missionaries now go out at 18 rather than 19. As missionary service has changed so does our thinking on gifts needs to change.
I would encourage you to pray about what missionaries may need and then act according to the spirit.
Copyright © Scott T. Petersen - Used With Permission