The lesson this month is about charity; loving those who stray and never giving up on them. This is the very definition of visiting teaching.
Sometimes, I’m not sure how to go about sharing a visiting teaching message. For example, this month. Are we expected to talk about loving those who stray, or actually loving those who stray? Sometimes, I wonder if we talk too much about what we should, in fact, actually be doing.
I have to be honest. I’m active. My visiting teachers are active. At a glance, this lesson may not be very applicable to us. But that’s the challenge of a visiting teacher. Not just to visit, but to act. Sometimes, a little creativity, sensitivity, and true charity go a long way. Here are my suggestions for this month.
The first sentence quotes Pres. Uchtdorf: “The reality is that there are no perfect families …” We need to stop visiting our sisters, assuming everything is going fairly well in their lives. Sometimes, we have to ask hard questions because we want them to know we really care. Sometimes, we have to take matters into our own hands, and get up and help then and there. Sometimes we have to speak with power, leaving the spirit in that home.
Parents always worry about their children, whether they are young or old. Ask how the children are doing. Pray for those children together, and continue when you are at home. The sweet story about Lois, which follows this month’s message, suggests that we remember to add our sisters–and their families–to the temple prayer roll. It is a gift to know someone has thought of you in the prayers of the righteous.
For those who have personal struggles with doctrine, faith, and strength to believe, visiting teachers have an opportunity to come prepared to teach from the scriptures. With a prayer in her heart, a teacher can bring great comfort to one who is searching, one who needs another’s faith to lean on, and could use a trusted friend.
Let us always remember that we are sisters. We are assigned as a visiting teacher, but we can learn to love these women dearly. As Elder Brent H. Nielson stated, “May you and I receive the revelation to know how to best approach those in our lives who are lost and, when necessary, to have the patience and love of our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ.”
Everyone is at their own level of faith, life, and personal troubles. We all tend to stray when we’re met with a difficulty of any kind. May we reach out, loving those who stray–not simply talking about it but actually doing something to love them back home.