A friend of a friend posted on social media a video of her 14 year old son opening his mission call for 'mission month'. She says they do it every year in their ward and the kids get a mission call, go teach a family, have dinner with them, have companions, name tags, zones, etc. And that 'it really helps them prepare for going on a mission once they've done it for several years in a row!'
I remember doing a week mini mission when I was in high school. And it wasnt with the local ward missionaries. It was with a neighboring mission. I lived with the sister missionaries, living the missionary life for a week.
Do the 14 year olds teach a never-mo family or a TBM family preventing to be never-mo? Is the experience sugar coated or comparable to the drudgery of actual missionary work?
I remember in the MTC when practicing the discussions on the instructor, how easy it seemed. The instructor pretended to be an investigator but didn't ask tough questions. He accepted the baptismal challenge and it all seemed so easy! Imagine my horror when the first door I knocked in Zurich, Switzerland was a professor's who wanted to argue church doctrine with us while we stood on his doorstep. My companion was in tears. The first discussion we taught was to the Moonies who tried even harder to convert us. And then there was the endless trackting in all kinds of miserable weather. If I had spent just two hours knocking on doors as a 14 year old I NEVER would have gone on a mission!
This was my thinking. All this sugary crap of fake name tags and pretend investigators wouldn't have held my interest. I'm pretty sure that a week of full discouragement would have convinced me to never serve a mission (pre-google).
One thing that is constantly swept under the rug is that there may be no REAL person to talk with when times get tough. You may have a missionary companion that HATES your guts and a MP that believes that you are the WORST missionary on the planet. If you follow the missionary rules, who can you turn to?
Missionaries can go out with any priesthood holder actually. That includes the Aaronic priesthood. Missionaries can go on splits and trade their companion for a 14 year old boy who doesnt know any of the mission rules and is completely clueless about the world.
Missionaries do this so they can misbehave on their mission. The kids could already serve as a missionary companion in the field in this way. The mission Presidents think that they can double productivity by splitting missionary companions up and letting them go off with a kid.
I'm sure it's all sugary and 'fun'...giving them the excitement of opening the letter, a legit name tag with their name on it, having an assigned zone, and family (which are probably members, not nevermos or inactives). The idea is to get them all excited to want to go on a mission a few years later.