Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Visiting Teaching

Julie B. Beck
Relief Society General President    Julie B. Beck

Visiting Teaching
Much of the essential Relief Society work we do doesn’t happen in meetings. Let’s focus now on learning about visiting teaching. Because we follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ, we value this sacred assignment to love, know, serve, understand, teach, and minister in His behalf. This is one duty we have in the Church where we are certain to have the help of the Lord if we ask for it. This is one responsibility that is certain to increase our faith and personal righteousness and strengthen our own homes and families as we become partners with the Lord. A sister in this Church has no other responsibility outside of her family that has the potential to do as much good as does visiting teaching.
Because this is the Lord’s program of individual watchcare for His daughters, the policies regarding visiting teaching are approved by the First Presidency as outlined in the Church Handbook of Instructions. Because visiting teaching focuses on individual sisters, Relief Society leaders do not organize women into groups for the purpose of visiting teaching.

The bishop, who is the ordained shepherd of the ward, cannot possibly watch over all of the Lord’s sheep at one time. He is dependent on inspired visiting teachers to help him. We know we should each choose to be a friend to everyone in our ward, but the bishop and Relief Society president have the responsibility to receive revelation as to who should be assigned to watch over and strengthen each individual sister. Ideally, every sister should watch over and strengthen at least one other sister in her ward. It is our blessing to pray for another sister and receive inspiration as to how the Lord would have us care for one of His daughters.
Visiting teaching becomes the Lord’s work when our focus is on people rather than percentages. In reality, visiting teaching is never finished. It is more a way of life than a task. Faithfully serving as a visiting teacher is evidence of our discipleship. We demonstrate our faith and follow a pattern established by the Lord as we report on our assignment every month. If our watchcare were primarily about reporting that every sister in the ward heard the Visiting Teaching Message printed each month in the Ensign and Liahona, it would be much more efficient to read it aloud to everyone in a sacrament meeting. Our reports are most helpful to the bishop and the Relief Society president when we inform them of the spiritual and temporal well-being of sisters and how we have been able to serve and love them.

How grateful I am for all of my visiting teachers who, over the years, have demonstrated their faith as they have served, taught, strengthened, and loved me in inspired ways.

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