How to better serve those to whom you are assigned as a home teacher or visiting teacher

Home and visiting teaching offer us the opportunity to give Christlike service on a one-on-one basis to our brothers and sisters. For some, your visit may be the only contact that family has with the Church that month. For others who lack extended family, you may be an invaluable source of strength and spirituality in their lives

To better serve those you visit, you should remember the following:- Get to know each person you serve. Find out hobbies, interests and special needs. Remember birthdays, baptisms and holidays.

Love those you serve. Seek to find ways to bless their lives. During times of illness, loss or difficulty, seek the Spirit so that you can comfort and bless them.

Pray for those you serve. Pray with your companion before you visit and pray for those you visit in your personal prayers. Ask for wisdom to recognize their needs and for ways to strengthen and serve them.

Adapt the lessons to the needs of each individual. Involve those you teach in discussions of the gospel principles you have been assigned to teach.

Invite those you serve to homemaking meetings and stake and ward activities. Keep the less-active members aware of ward and stake activities. Be a true friend.

Be a good listener. When problems are observed that require special attention, consult the bishop, quorum leader or Relief Society president. Home and visiting teaching provide priceless opportunities to influence, bless and serve others. When we seek to love, serve and listen as the Savior would, we will discover that through simple acts of kindness we can experience pure joy. - Carol Brown, Sandy, Utah

What we did:

`Get out the door'

Most of us simply need to "get out the door," which is often difficult to do if you are assigned as a home teacher to families you do not know or have nothing in common with. Where possible, keep a garden planted year-round and always take some vegetables or fruits. You need to harvest the garden anyway so you might as well share with someone.

We also try to remember our home teaching families and their children on birthdays or holidays. If there are four in the family, there's four visits right there. Now that you're "out the door,' work on preparing a lesson. - Victor C. Thompson, Lakewood, Calif.

Mourn with, comfort

Magnify your calling by the following:

Celebrating the good things in the lives of the sisters to whom you are assigned by recognizing birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, new job, new Church calling, new baby, new car or new home.

Pay attention to interests and talents.

Think about those to whom you are assigned when you attend meetings or activities. Notice when she is absent and drop off the ward news bulletin or programs, plus handouts from classes.

Mourn with and comfort through trials those you serve.

Don't skip visits. Phone calls are nice, but they can't replace a person-to-person message.

Make a visiting/home teaching chart for you and your partner so you'll know who does what each month. - Donna K. Maxwell, Syracuse, Utah

Pray for them

Get into a schedule. Know your sister's free evening or day that coincides with yours. That way you will have a readily accepted routine.

Pray for the sisters you visit. This will keep them in your mind. Check with them to be sure they know of coming events or if they need a ride.

Think of those you visit as you would your own closest family. Often you really are their best helper and friend.

Pray with them after giving the lesson. Smile often.

Visiting teachers sustained me in my early membership in the Church. They helped me feel part of my ward family. In later years, they saw me during crisis and nurtured me after surgery. Their love and prayers today help me to stay in good cheer even though I am, for the most part, alone. - Pauline M. Mihm, Bradenton, Fla.

Determine needs

Home teaching and visiting teaching have been defined as love by assignment. As with all other time issues with which we have to deal, it can be planned in or planned out.

The following are some suggestions that have been helpful in doing quantity and quality teaching:

Make the visit within the first two weeks of the month.

Always have a short message ready to present that has been prayerfully prepared.

Make sure both teachers participate equally.

Have prayer with the family, if it is agreeable with the head of the family.

Communicate and work with the head of the family, if possible, on anything that has to do with the family.

Always make the appointment for the next visit before you conclude the current visit.

Determine through inquiry and quiet observation the real needs of the family and how best to take care of them.

Home teaching and visiting teaching are the methods by which all who belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may be assured that someone, under the direction of the priesthood, is concerned about them. - Elder Robert W. and Sister Lorraine M. Cutler, Nauvoo (Ill.) Visitors Center

Opportunities to serve

If you are like me, you would much rather help someone else than be helped yourself. Your home and visiting teaching families may feel the same way. Don't ask them to call you if they ever need anything. Most families will never do that. Instead, get to know your families very well and pray for an opportunity where he/she can serve someone else.

This will make them feel good about themselves. All you need to do is allow them plenty of opportunities to grow through service, and you will be surprised how quickly they will want to become more active. - W. Denis Nurmela, Sun City, Calif.

How to checklist:

1 Love those you serve; observe special occasions; give personal attention.

2 Pray for guidance; be a good listener; keep confidences.

3 Report concerns to bishop, priesthood leader, Relief Society president.

4 Realize importance of a visit, not just a phone call.


Jan. 31 "How to save more, spend less."

Feb. 7 "How to teach children respect for their elders."

Feb. 14 "How to keep a clean home despite a busy schedule."

Feb. 21 "How to teach children to be honest."

Feb. 28 "How to supplement your regular income."

March 7 "How to deal with neighbor problems."

Also interested in letters on these topics: "How to help yourself or loved one overcome an abusive nature," "How to be prepared to share the gospel and answer questions," "How to build a strong work ethic in children," "How to encourage children and young people to be physically active," "How to avoid greed."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2524 or use internet E-mail: Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

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