How would you like to get off the plane returning home from your mission and have no one there to meet you? One of the questions I ask when I make the "trunky calls" to get information i.e. airport they want to fly in to, current address of parents and other questions, is "Will there be anyone at the airport to meet you when you arrive?" I hold my breath and wait for the answer. Many times, if it is an African missionary he will answer "No, there will be no one." And my heart sinks. In this case I email the Stake President or Bishop/Branch President and request that they arrange for someone to meet their missionary. Sometimes several emails or phone calls are made until I get a reply. If no one will be there to meet them, I arrange transport by bus, etc. for the missionary from the airport to his home. I'm reminded of the DVD "RM" when the missionary returns home from his mission, nobody is there, he climbs up the ladder in to a window and soon discovers that his family had moved!
We also have missionaries who NEVER get mail. I talked with one this morning who said he hasn't been in touch with family members for a year. He goes home in three weeks. I'm calling Samoa tonight at 8:00PM our time to talk to his Stake President at 7:00AM Samoa time.(Sometimes the contact persons have no email address) Itineraries are mailed out six weeks ahead to family, Bishop/Branch President and Stake President. However, the mail is so unreliable in many of these countries that follow up is necessary.
And then we have the U.S. missionaries who reply to my question with "YES! My family and the whole town will be there!" And I like to add "and a Big Brass Band!" Now, that's the way it should be.