As a woman in my Church I am part of the Relief Society. It is the largest women’s organization in the world. To say that it is highly organized would be an understatement. One of the ways that we reach out and fellowship other women in our congregation is through visiting teaching. Every woman has designated visiting teachers (usually two, in a companionship) who visit or call regularly, ideally at least once a month. This inspired program links each woman to other women in her congregation. It can create friendships, provide opportunities to serve, and help everyone involved learn about and grow closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I am the first to admit that I have sometimes had a bad attitude about going visiting. Sometimes it really feels like one more thing to check off my list each month. Then there are the moments when I realize that there is a reason for me to go and that I know that the Lord knows who I am and knows how I need to grow.
Recently my visiting teaching assignment changed. I have a new visiting teaching partner and I visit one woman that I had never met. I have to admit I was nervous to go and visit this woman that I knew nothing about.
Luckily, I have a friend that I get to go and do visits with. She is fearless and volunteered to go and find about more about this lady before we went to see her. I am so grateful for her fearlessness! She found out that sweet Jane lives in an assisted living home and is suffering from dementia. My partner’s father also has dementia so she is very comfortable with sitting and visiting with Jane and she quickly set up a time for us to go. So now we (my two year old daughter, Agnes, my visiting teaching partner and I) go each month to visit Jane, even though she has no recollection of us. We pet the funny dog they have at the assisted living center and we smile and chat with the others that live there. Agnes searches for the cat that has been banished to the backyard. We have the chance to chat with the lovely woman who runs the home. Last week she kept me entertained with stories from her childhood in Romania.
After we left Jane’s house last week I was happy. Visiting Jane brings me joy. Seeing Agnes run and smile and entertain the women I teach gives me joy. Teaching my daughter that visiting teaching can change lives (even if just for a moment) brings me joy. Becoming comfortable in a situation that I would normally avoid brings me joy. Continually learning and growing in the gospel of Jesus Christ gives me joy.
Do you have inspiring stories to share from visiting teaching? If so, send them to mormonwoman(at)gmail(dot)com.
Thanks Phoebe! You just reminded me I need to schedule my visiting teaching appointments for the month.
Visiting teaching is as much for the teachers as it is for the people we visit.
Great post, Phoebe! I just got a new sister to visit who is a great-grandma, and I was a little bit worried about how we would connect before our first visit. I love her and have made a really good new friend. There are so many things I love about visiting teaching.
I had some tender visiting teaching experiences this week…hope to write them up soon.
Thanks for writing this. I am grateful to be a part of Relief Society, and grateful for visiting teaching.