Saturday, September 24, 2011

Regular Visiting Teaching

I got a new visiting teaching route this month. I have a new companion and new gals to visit. Of the three gals assigned, two had phone numbers listed. Of those numbers, one actually worked. I left a message for that sister. Didn't hear back.

I searched for phone numbers for the other two sisters, but came up empty handed.

So...My new companion and I decided to do scouting visits.

I typed up the message for the month, put a nice "Hello" message at the top along with mine and my companion's phone numbers, and printed it on bright green paper. Bright green paper is lots easier to see than plain old white paper. I figured if no one was home, I'd tape the message to their front door. And once I knew where they lived, I could come back at different times to try and meet each sister.

My new companion picked me up about 9:15 this morning. We stopped at a bakery on our way out and bought a cinnamon roll far each lady. Why? Because Baked Goodies have magical, mystical powers. Some gals do not like surprise visits from church ladies. Some gals find it rude and decide that they do not like you and will never like you and further more they now do not like the church even more. BUT, if those church ladies come to a gal's house bearing baked goodies, they are usually forgiven for their surprise attack and welcomed into the gal's home. As I said, baked goodies are magic!

We got to the first gal's house and had quite an eye-opening experience. I won't go into the details here for obvious reasons. (In case you don't know what the obvious reason is, I will spell it out for you...p-r-i-v-a-c-y.) The thing I will share here is that this gal seems to not have had visiting teachers for YEARS.

The second gal we visited wasn't home. As I was debating whether to tape my message to her garage door or stick it under the windshield wiper of her guy's work truck, a neighbor came to see what we were doing. I explained that I was looking for the gal. He informed me that the truck was his. He was parking it at her house to make it look like someone was still living there. The gal herself had moved out several months earlier. She was now living in a town four hours away. 

This gal had only been baptized a year earlier. She should have had super-visiting teachers coming to see her for a year after her baptism to help her with the transition. I don't know what happened there. What I do know is that she has been gone for several months and her visiting teachers failed to report that. Which most likely means that her visiting teachers were not visiting her.

I couldn't believe that these two gals, who so obviously needed the love and support of visiting teachers, were passed over. I expressed my disappointment to my companion. She told me that she really hadn't had visiting teachers the whole time she has lived in this town either. She told me there was one lady who came to see her every so often (not the regular monthly visiting teaching), but that lady (I know for a fact) moved out of our ward over a year ago. This means that my companion hasn't had visiting teachers for over a year! And she is another one who could have really used the love and support of a visiting teacher.

We got to the third gal's house at that point. She was home and invited us in. We had a nice visit. She was so happy to have us in her home. And she was glad to see the treat, but even more excited to see the little handout I had made with our phone numbers on it. She seemed delighted when we told her to call us anytime she needed help.

Since returning home, I have been thinking long and hard about visiting teaching in my life. I try so hard to visit my ladies. I have since I was eighteen years old and was first given the calling of visiting teacher.

The first two years I lived in this ward, I had the same companion, Sister S. She and I tried to do an in-home visit every month. Sister S was kind of shy, so I was the one who usually made the appointments. If the gals we visited weren't available for an in-home visit, I asked them when was a good time for me to call back and just chat. I let them know that I was interested in them and their lives.

Sister S and I had one gal who just wouldn't commit to visits, so we surprise visited her more often than not, bearing baked goodies of course! We would only stay for a few minutes, but we CAME! We did our best to show her that she was important to us.

My companion was moved to a different route during the third year. I was on my own for a few months, but continued to contact my sisters every month. Now there were a couple of times when I was only able to call them because our schedules were crazy, but I contacted them one way or another every month! I can't same the same of the gals who were assigned to visit me. I can probably count on my fingers the number of times a visiting teacher has actually come to my home to visit me or purposely called to visit with me. This is kind of sad considering that I have lived in this same ward for three years. I'm not writing this because I'm mad or feel left out or anything. I know life gets busy. I'm not trying to judge.

I just wonder...what has become of Visiting Teaching?

And what will become of the women who are forgotten and overlooked in my little town?


Kimmy said...

Not trying to come off rude, so please don't read this that way, but I think I know who the second sister you were trying to visit was, and sister nelson was on top of that situation when she was here but that sister moved out and her new ward hasn't contacted our ward, so her records are still in our ward even though she is not. Laurie knew that but as sister davis is fairly knew and got called to be the new rs pres, she probably didn't know much about this situation, and when her and sister tolman got together to redo the vt lists they were making a gajillion changes cuz our ward has changed a lot in the past few months, and I don't think sis tolman knew much about that sister either, but her not being visited wasn't cuz she had lousy vt before..she left and sister nelson knew but then she moved too...just thought I would let you know...often times we don't know the details, and I just thought maybe instead of thinking badly about how the vt was done with her, you might like to know that that wasn't the case. Laurie was very on top of making sure newly baptized sisters had fellowship and constant contact from the rs presidency and the missionaries too. Like I said..I am not trying to offend, I'm just letting you know..=)
By the way...I m your new vt! Now ill have an excuse to drop by!

Sarah Blue said...

I am so relieved by your comment. I appreciate you taking time to let me know. I think part of my issue is that I have been a visiting teacher to a couple of ladies who have been inactive for years and were never contacted during that time. It just makes me sad when sisters kind of fall through the cracks, so to speak. And it's a bit more difficult in our ward because we are so spread out. So we have to be even more vigilant. Again, I am so relieved by your comment. Thank you for telling me. :)

By the way, I'm looking forward to having you as my visiting teacher. It will be fun to get to know you better. :)

Christina said...

Visiting Teaching is only a good as the sisters who do it. Unfortunately, not everyone understands the importance of it or the blessings that occur on both ends when we take the time to do it.

Grandma said...

Kimmy was my vt. I am jelous because she is the best!

Sabra said...

I am the absolute worst visiting teacher, and it all boils down to making the appointments. I am a chicken.