Friday, July 20, 2012

Family, Friends, & Fellowship: The Importance of Visiting Teaching

I have come across a lot of sisters in my life who tell me that they are "too busy" to do their visiting teaching.  I'm not judging.  I'm concerned.  Ever since I was 18 and assigned my first visiting teaching route, I realized the importance of visiting teaching.  I have not always been the best at it and I've never been perfect at it.  Yes, I've contacted the sisters I am assigned to visit each month, but this isn't the 100% I'm talking about.

President Henry B. Eyring has said, "The only system which could provide succor and comfort across a church so large in a world so varied would be through individual servants near the people in need. The Lord had seen that coming from the beginning of Relief Society. He set a pattern in place. Two Relief Society sisters accept their assignment to visit another as a call from the Lord."

Succor and comfort.  This is not accomplished by just going to someones house once a month for the token visit or making a phone call once and reporting that we couldn't get a hold of the sister.  While each situation is different, we should make EVERY EFFORT to become friends with those we visit.

"We will know we are successful in our ministry as visiting teachers when the sisters we visit can say:
  • My visiting teacher helps me grow spiritually.
  • I know that my visiting teacher cares deeply about me and my family.
  • If I have problems, I know my visiting teacher will take action without waiting to be invited."
Now, I have one thing to say about the last one before we go on--you cannot take action without being invited if you do not have the proper relationship in place.  This comes as we find ways to serve the sisters we visit in other ways besides the "traditional" ways.  Here are some things to consider when you pray about the sisters you visit:

*Visits in the home are essential, yes, but what about the sister that doesn't like people seeing the inside of her home?   Consider taking this sister out to lunch if you can afford it or invite her to your home so that you can talk.  Meet somewhere that the sister feels comfortable with.  I speak from personal experience.  I have gone through a seriously stressful time and I have a very hard time allowing people into my home because during this time, my home was not the haven it should have been.  There were people constantly going in and out of my home judging me and not appreciating things that were going on in my life.  So, I have serious trust issues with who I allow into my home.  Is that right?  I don't know.  Is it wrong?  I don't think so.  Do what the sister you visit is comfortable with.  And don't be discouraged if you are unable to meet in their home each month!

*Phones are an important part of life.  I don't know one person who would dislike getting a phone call randomly just to see how he/she is doing.  This applies to text messages, too.  Now, I believe that talking is incredibly important, but there have been times that texting a sister has been invaluable.  There are times when sisters cannot talk about something, but feel comfortable writing it down.  Utilize your phone--you never know when a text message or phone call could be just the thing that changes a bad day into a great day.

*Give of yourself!  You have been given talents that are to be used to uplift those around you.  My talent is crafting/card making.  I like to make cards for my sisters just because.  I send them out throughout the month when I feel they're most needed.  Which could be anytime!  The best thing about giving something tangible to the sisters you visit is that they will have a physical reminder that they are loved by you.  They can look at whatever you've given them and see the time you spent making something for THEM.  It doesn't have to be a craft.  It could be flowers.  It could be food.  It could be a favorite recipe.  It could be helping them become self reliant by teaching cleaning and organizational skills.  What are your talents?  Use them!

*Facebook and the internet are good, but they are not for everyone.  I personally feel that if you want to get a hold of someone, the best way is to talk to them.  The internet is NEVER a good medium to get a hold of someone.  Emails get rerouted or never sent.  Some people don't want to friend a ton of other people on Facebook.  Some people aren't on the internet much.  So, while it is a good idea to use Facebook and the internet as an occasional tool, NEVER USE IT AS YOUR ONLY TOOL.

So, those are my two cents.  Please know that these are my personal opinions and that you must do what is right for the sisters YOU visit.  Each sister is a unique and beloved daughter of our Father in Heaven and deserves to be treated with love and respect.  Don't do what is best for you--do what is best for her!  I hope these ideas help you as your strive to become the best visiting teacher you can be!

1 comment:

TJ said...

Well said! The last time I had a VT interview the Presidency Member asked "When you visit your sisters, what makes your visit 'successful'. I said, "If I've lifted the sister's burden in some way, spiritually or physically." Sometimes that's really hard.... especially if I don't really have a relationship with that sister, yet.