Today our guest post comes from Amaryah Cannon:
I have always loved visiting teaching, and I know that it is a central part of our work as disciples of Christ. Visiting teaching not only allows us to make friends with sisters in our wards, but also gives us opportunities to serve one another and develop Christ like attributes. I currently serve as the 2nd Counselor in my ward’s Relief Society, and as such have been assigned to work with the Visiting Teaching Coordinator and District Leaders. Our ultimate goal is for visiting teaching to be part of a fluid chain where visiting teachers can report how the sisters they teach are doing to their supervisors; those District Leaders can then report to the Coordinator, who then reports to the Presidency; and if needed, the Relief Society President can then report to the Bishop about needs individual sisters may have.
As a Presidency, we felt that we weren’t getting enough information from the sisters about how their visiting teaching was going, so I created this list of questions to help the District Leaders know how to find out this information. We wanted to focus more on individual women in the ward, not just numbers, and so worked to make sure that all of the questions require more than just a yes or no answer. Furthermore, we aren’t just looking to find out about needs of the sisters, but about their overall well-being; in other words, we want to know about good news too!
I also included some questions in the list about the companionship. In my ward, people move in and out all the time, as we have to change companionships more often than we like. We hope that by encouraging District Leaders to also find out about the companionships, they can alert us to any problems there might be between companions, or difficulties they have in coordinating schedules, etc.
District Leaders are not required to ask all or even any of these questions, but if they do, hopefully it will help them to get more information about and develop better relationships with the sisters that have been visit taught that month. We have already seen as a Presidency an improvement in the information we receive and we feel that it helps the District Leaders as well as individual visiting teachers to better see the importance of their callings.
Possible Questions for VT District Leaders
You do not need to ask all of these questions every month; you may not need to ask any of them. They are only meant to serve as a guideline to help you as a District Leader fulfill your responsibilities and to help the Relief Society Presidency be made aware of any needs or concerns that sisters might have. Please communicate frequently with the sisters in your District in order to better serve them. If your sisters email or text you their reports, don’t hesitate to email or text them back some questions if you feel you need more information.
- How is ___________* doing?
- What message* and or service did you and your companion share with her?
- What needs/news does___________ have that you have become aware of?
- How can you and your companion help with those needs?
- How can the Relief Society Presidency help with those needs? (Remember, if the sister has confidential information about someone she visits, have her call the RS President directly).
- Is there anything else I (District Leader) should know about?
- Why do you think that you were unable to meet with ____________ this month?
- Did you have trouble coordinating with your companion?
- Did you have trouble coordinating with ____________?
- Do you think you will be able to visit ____________ next month? Why or why not?
- What can I (District Leader) do to help you visit your sisters?
- How is your relationship with your companion?
- Have you met each other?
- Do your schedules work well together?
- Do you have any concerns or questions about your companionship?
- Are there any changes that you feel should be made?
*Make sure you ask these questions about individual sisters visited, not sisters visit taught as a whole. Ex.: “How is Mary doing? Does Mary have any needs?” NOT “How are the sisters you teach? Do they have any needs?”
*Remember, a “message” can be a variety of things. It may be the VT message from the Ensign, a scripture, a General Conference talk, or it might be you simply expressing your love, taking dinner over, or taking your sister out to lunch. Whatever form your “message” takes, it should express your love and concern for the sisters you visit.