Visiting Teaching Message April 2012
LOVE, WATCH OVER, AND STRENGTHEN
The General Relief Society announced they were going to be emphasizing Visiting Teaching for the rest of the year. I imagine this will continue with the new Relief Society Presidency. I like this approach. In order to reach people, you need to go after the heart first, and that is what Visiting Teaching is really about.
The lesson lists nine ways to connect with the people you visit teach. (Daughters, pg. 123.) This is a good model to use, but during the General Conference Training, Sis. Beck said something I am going to begin doing. She said, “I want to be like Sis. Allred when I grow up. She really knows how to visit with people.” She shared with us the questions Sis. Allred typically asks sisters all over the world.
- How did you get your testimony?
- How did you feel on your baptism day?
- Do you read your scriptures regularly?
- Do you pray? If you don’t know how to pray, I would love to show you how.
Sis. Allred brings the Spirit with these questions. The discussion is about important things. There is a sharing that happens. Teaching comes from all the sisters there with little effort.
Visiting Teaching needs to be a commitment. You need to dedicate yourself to your sisters. They are under your watchcare and should feel a bond and a trust with you. It may take some sacrifice on your part, but the joy you feel will circumvent any true hardship. Your service is what Jesus Christ spent his life doing.
Here is my short list of DON’Ts when you go visiting teaching:
- DON’T gossip about others, talk about yourself, or apologize for lack of preparation.
- DON’T spend the entire time in trivial visiting.
- DON’T read the lesson word for word, thus avoiding any discussion.
- DON’T teach your sister by telling her what she should be doing.
Now for the DO list:
- DO come prepared with a spiritual thought, lesson, or discussion material. Do your part in helping your sister feel the spirit.
- DO pray with your sister.
- If you see a need, don’t ask–just DO.
- DO show your sister that you love her, that you are there for her, that you are interested in her, and that you will check on her often.
Leaders have been advised to read the Handbook carefully for changes in the Visiting Teaching process. The Handbook is online (at www.lds.org), so anyone is welcome to read these new policies. They can also be found in the March Ensign.
A visiting teacher should be trained. If you feel you need some training, ask a member of your Relief Society presidency. It is very important that a visiting teacher reports back to her supervisor, or the presidency, because this is the best way to get any needs met. Even if everything is fine in the home, the Relief Society president and bishop need to stay updated and they are depending on the Visiting and Home Teachers.
Visiting teaching isn’t something you cross off your to-do list. It is ministering one by one all of God’s children. A visiting teacher can visit, call, follow-up, sit next to, greet with a hug, or email to make sure their sister is well, and feels loved.
It sounds like the number one responsibility for any leadership calling is to visit. Counselors can act in the name of the president as the three leaders separately visit sisters in the ward. Divide and conquer. Stake leaders should strive to know every sister in their stake. The only way to accomplish this is to visit with ward presidencies regularly. Every sister will feel loved and appreciated if presidencies are visiting, reaching as many sisters as they can, and visiting teachers are visiting and caring for their sisters monthly.
If we can connect on a personal level, one to one, we will be able to connect as a sisterhood. We will feel that we all belong, that we are all important, that we matter. It is for each one of us to do our duty. Our duty is to love, watch over, and strengthen one another. Easy peasy!
**Important Sidenote–Because the lesson is on how to be a better visiting teacher, PLEASE don’t share the message of how to be a better visiting teacher. Just BE a better visiting teacher. Go prepared with a message to share and throughout the month practice any of the suggestions in this particular message. Your example will go much farther than any amount of reading or explaining you do.
- Share the story found in From Our History about Lucy Meserve Smith’s record. This can be found in Daughters in My Kingdom, p. 36-37.
- Share any story from Daughters in My Kingdom.
- Share a story, or article, from the Ensign.
- Pick one of my posts on the history of Relief Society and have a discussion on how amazing our early sisters were, and how wonderful our Society is.
- Maybe you have had a recent miracle happen in your life. Testify of it.
- Maybe you know something about what your sister is enduring at this time. Uplift her, support her, or let her talk about it.
- Ask some of the questions Sis. Allred asks.