Robbie and I both work with the youth in our ward and it is basically the
best job in the world.We have awesome kids to work with and great leaders that work together to put fun stuff together. It's a dream! One thing that makes it a lot easier though is all the resources we've found. Truth be told, I get a lot of ideas for our Sunday lessons and Wednesday night activities from other people's blogs. We wanted to do a missionary-based activity and found a great starting idea here and decided to add to it to make a whole week-long Missionary Activity. It went SO well so I figured I'd share the love.
We passed out these adorbs invitations to the kids the week before the activity to psych them up and get them jazzed (Thank heavens for crafty friends).
Activity #1 - Intro
We opened up on a Wednesday night. We started by talking to the kids about the value of missionary work and how it can change people's hearts, including the missionaries. Then we gave the kids their mission calls. Each kid got a big white envelope with all of the following inside (click links to download files):
- Mission call (a one-week mission to one of the following places):
- Japan, Tokyo Mission (Japanese)
- Spain, Barcelona Mission (Spanish)
- Thailand, Bangkok Mission (Thai)
- Germany, Frankfurt Mission (German)
- New York, New York North Mission (Spanish)
- Russia, Moscow Mission (Russian)
- New Zealand, Auckland Mission (English)
- Peru, Lima Mission (Spanish)
We handed them all out and took turns having the kids read their call one by one (just the first two paragraphs). They got SO into it! It was awesome. There was clapping and hollering after each call was read. It felt almost like a real mission call! Each of the kids had a companion called to the same mission.
Then they needed some training so our next stop was the Missionary Training Center. We headed to the gym where the kids got their black name tags and then each companionship was put into a district (team). Part 1 of their training was learning practical skills missionaries need. The districts competed against each other in a relay race, covering a lot of the basic skills a missionary needs. Each team member was assigned to a specific task but they couldn't start until they were tagged. The tasks were narrowed down to:
- Iron a collared shirt
- Sew on a button
- Look up a scripture reference and read it out loud
- Make and eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
- Tie a tie
- Write out and say the name of the church in their mission language (using the board for reference)
- Run a lap around the gym (to get in shape for running to catch a bus, of course)
It was chaos but the best kind of chaos. They killed it! And we miraculously didn't have any injuries, so that's a win. Part 2 of their MTC training was getting comfortable sharing their testimonies. We gave each of them a Book of Mormon. The plan was to give them 5-10 minutes to write their testimony on the inside cover of their Book of Mormon. However, we were running out of time so we asked them to take it home and try to write their testimony in it that night. After they finished all their training, we went back to the small room and talked about the 3 big challenges they were given for the following week of their "mission."
Challenge #1 - Try to follow the missionary schedule as closely as you can.
Their mission call included our version of their missionary schedule (including wake up times, bed times, and suggestions for study times). The bulk of the day was to be spent serving people, spending quality time with friends and family, and sharing the gospel. They were not banned from watching TV, movies, etc. but were asked to try to focus their time on more positive things when possible. We explained that trying out the schedule would be fun, but the most important parts were doing their daily scripture study and sharing the gospel whenever possible.
Challenge #2 - Give out one pass along card every day and one Book of Mormon for the week.
The goal of this week is to share the gospel. We talked about giving pass along cards to anyone: grocery cashiers, mailmen, fast food workers, neighbors, friends, etc. The Book of Mormon should be the one they wrote their testimony in and might take a little more thought and planning.
Challenge #3 - Go out teaching with the full-time missionaries at least once during the week
We had sign-ups for the kids to choose a night to go out with the missionaries (coordinated with the missionaries beforehand).
The full-time missionaries gave a great spiritual thought encouraging the kids to share the gospel. Then we ended the night with one of our leaders who was a teenage convert sharing her conversion story. It was the perfect ending because she emphasized what a crucial role her peers played in helping her learn about and embrace the gospel when she was a teenager.
At the very end of the night, we had all the kids there take the classic map picture. Then they went on their way! Watch out for Florence's Army of Helaman!
Activity #2 - Follow-Up
Throughout the week we had checked in with the kids and reminded them of their night with the missionaries, etc. We also let them know that we wanted to hear about their experiences the following Wednesday at our activity.
For the second activity, the kids were asked to dress in missionary attire and wear the name tags that they were given the previous week. After a loud and proud opening song ("Called to Serve"), we opened up the floor and gave them the opportunity to share any experience from the week. They could share anything they wanted (something they learned from their scripture study, vocab they learned in their mission language, an experience giving away a pass along card or Book of Mormon, or anything from their night with the full-time missionaries). We didn't really know how it would go, but it turned out awesome! Some stories were funny, some were serious, but all were meaningful. The kids may not have stuck to the missionary schedule the whole week, but they all made an effort to share the gospel, which was the purpose of the whole activity. We loved sitting and hearing from these hilarious, amazing teens and their experiences and testimonies.
We ended the night by having two members of the ward share their mission experiences. One sister served in Japan and shared pictures and stories. The kids loved it (especially the two boys that were "called" to Japan). They asked tons of questions and loved hearing her stories. Our second speaker was my sweet. Robbie shared pictures and stories of his mission experiences in Romania. I've got to admit, I was feeling all kinds of nostalgia hearing him talk about Romanian life, food, culture and the hilarious and spiritual experiences that every missionary there gets to experience (for those that don't know, we both served in Romania). Plus, how could I not love getting to see my handsome guy sharing his testimony and sweet memories of his mission? He is just the best.
At the end of the night, we even gave the kids an actual taste of Romania. Robbie slaved in the kitchen all day and made some delicious sarmale! (authentic Romanian food: meat and rice-filled cabbage rolls). The ones that were brave enough to try it actually ended up loving it!
This activity was so great! We are lucky to work with some incredible leaders that did so much to help the kids get really into it. We loved it and the kids seemed to love doing missionary work. Many had never been out with the missionaries before and talked so much about the experiences they had. This activity was really meaningful for everyone and hopefully one the youth will remember for a long time!
*HUGE thanks to the other leaders and the friends and family that helped us do all the translations.