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As the Personal Progress adviser, I’m always trying to think of fun things to do with the girls that will help them pass off experiences. On the 5th Wednesday months and sometimes other days, I am in charge of planning the activity. In the Spring, I decided it would be fun to have a missionary themed night in which the girls would get to experience serving a mission in one evening. Crazy, right? But I thought it would be fun. This could also be adapted to a joint activity.
I will take it step by step so it will easier to follow.
TWO SUNDAYS BEFORE ACTIVITY:
First, the girls needed to fill out their mission papers. I found the actual mission papers as a pdf and printed off the first three pages. Really, this served to let the girls see some of what the mission papers looked like. I just had them fill out the basic information in Opening Exercises a couple of Sundays before the activity. I asked our Bishop to come and spend a few minutes talking with them about the process of interviewing and applying to be a missionary. He was very sweet and signed off on all them being ready to serve. I also asked for their favorite scriptures to use on their plaques.
Second, I created sign up forms for Relief Society and Priesthood. I asked for volunteers who would be willing to teach and share about a country they knew about, both return missionaries and those who had experience in another country. The teachers would be split up, depending on their area of the world, and share experiences about their mission, the country and cultures, and even share some food from that country. I wanted the girls to be able to experience another culture and hear first hand what serving a mission was like. I told the volunteers to prepare a 10-15 minute little presentation and asked for three volunteers per area of the world (I had three areas so needed 9 teachers).
I also asked for volunteers who wanted to make food to bring from different countries and cultures. They would just drop the food off the night of the activity.
In Relief Society, I left cards and did an announcement asking for the ladies to write “letters” to our girls. They could specifically address certain Young Women or do them generically. My goal was to have one letter for each girl to open in our “P-Day” portion of the activity.
Third, I talked with our stake’s full time missionaries. I wanted to get them involved because there are things that we can all be doing now the help with missionary work. In talking with them, we got the idea to have the girls write their testimonies in Book of Mormons that the missionaries would then use and place here in our area. Once they wrote their testimonies, the girls would then be split into companionships and actually practice placing those Books of Mormon, using the missionaries and the teachers who would role play as nonmembers.
Fourth, at the weeknight activity this week, I took pictures of each girl for their mission plaques.
ONE WEEK BEFORE ACTIVITY:
I created a display of mission plaques to display in our foyer. I thought it would be fun for the ward members and girls to see this. I created a separate post about how I made this, along with a video tutorial of using the jpg file I included for the plaques.
I had the calls for the girls to hand out to them. This was fun. I found a list of missions around the world and split the world up into three areas. We have about 20 Young Women, so I planned on having about 6 girls in each area. The areas I did were Asia/Pacific, Europe/Africa, and North/South America. Each girl received a call to a different mission. I have the template that I used for the calls in the zip file I’m sharing with all documents below. I copied an actual mission call but tweaked it a little and left some things out. I encouraged the girls to study the mission or country they were called to. This could be a value experience in faith or knowledge.
We passed the calls out in Opening Exercises and the girls each read their calls excitedly. If we had more time, I would have put together a video of them opening their calls but the activity date was changed and moved up three weeks. But it would be cute to do this and then share at the activity.
I also went in to Relief Society and asked for more help with writing the letters and having some extra food. I coordinated with the teachers as well, letting them know what time to be there and what to expect. I created a little information letter to give to them with my contact info if they had questions.
SET UP AND SCHEDULE THE NIGHT OF:
I found some fun travel themed items to use to decorate the rooms. Here are the rooms that I used and what they were used for:
Foyer: this was for the MTC. The girls were “dropped” off here. They received their missionary name tags (also a download in the file), and were welcomed by the teachers. Some of the teachers shared their experience in the MTC. This lasted about 10 minutes and then the girls were sent to their “missions”. The foyer had a poster I made that said Missionary Training Center on it as well as the display of mission plaques. Before they went to the next stage, I gave them each a “passport”. It’s a little booklet with questions that they can answer throughout the evening or at home. By completing this, they can pass off an experience for knowledge or faith. The mission badges were easy. I used a white font to add each girls name, printed them off, and then laminated them. I bought a bag of pins at Hobby Lobby that had sticky backs. So easy!
Three Class Rooms: I used three of our class rooms for each area of the world we had. I used the signs I created, also a download, and put them on the doors. Each room had some balloons, a table cloth, and a banner. The teachers also brought pictures, souvenirs, and food to display in the rooms. After the MTC, the girls came to their assigned rooms and spent time learning about missionary service from their teachers. Because the groups were smaller, it gave them the opportunity to ask questions too. I planned on doing this for about 30 minutes, but we ended up doing this portion for about 45 minutes.
The Stage: This served as the P-Day Area. Once the girls were finished with the classroom mission presentations, we all came back together for P-Day. Here, we had set up tables with Book of Mormons and pens, cards and stationary with baskets for each of our ward’s current missionaries, and some a table with the girls’ letters and packages they would be receiving. Here, we first asked the girls to write their testimonies in a Book of Mormon. We told them it didn’t need to be long, it could just say “I believe this book is true” or “I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior”, and that the books would be used by our Full Time Missionaries to give out to contacts. Next, we had the girls split up into companionships. Here is where they got to role play. The Full Time Missionaries and our teachers pretended to be nonmembers and the girls were trying to teach and place Book of Mormons with them. This ended up being a really fun part of the activity. The teachers didn’t make it easy on the girls and even shared some experiences and funny moments with them. It was fun to hear how each girl reacted to the questions asked by the “investigators” and it gave them an opportunity to think about their own testimonies. This lasted for about 15 minutes. We had planned on the girls writing to our ward’s missionaries at this point, but ran out of time. Instead, we did that the following Sunday during Opening Exercises. At this point, the girls also each received a package and a letter. The package was a cute kraft bag with some candy in it, closed with washi tape, and the printable I created (preview below).
The Relief Society Room: This room was the most decorated. We had a table cloth, banner, balloons, posters, and a dessert/food table with more food displayed. The cupcakes had cupcake toppers that were travel themed. The posters said things like “Welcome Home”. We had a big banner across the chalkboard that said “Returned With Honor”. This was the Homecoming room. I had asked parents and other ward members to hang out in this room so they could give our missionaries a fun homecoming. After P-Day, I ran and told everyone in this room to be ready with the posters and to cheer the girls as they came in. We opened the doors, and the girls were greeted with cheers and hugs, as if it was a real homecoming. After taking a couple of pictures, we had the full time missionaries wrap things up by sharing what we could be doing now to be missionaries. This took just a few minutes. Then we said a prayer and everyone enjoyed the treats before we cleaned up.
The activity came together really nicely. Everyone enjoyed themselves, including our inactive and nonmember girls. It was fun to involve other ward members. I’m always looking for ways to do that because we are a ward family and all involved in helping our youth succeed. We have several missionaries out in our ward, and with more young women serving missions now, I thought this was helpful in giving them a taste of missionary service, whether or not they choose to serve.
If you’d like a fun handout to give, I created this printable with a missionary scripture that is now the 2015 Youth Theme!
If you have any questions, leave them below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The zip file is below with templates for everything that I used. I would love to hear how you used them too!