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?