My introduction to Relief Society came not from attending meetings, but from reading the Relief Society Magazine. I received the magazine as a thoughtful gift from my husband's sister, Louise Miller of Venice, Utah. So even before my baptism, the ideals of Relief Society were becoming part of me.
At first after my baptism, I enjoyed my visiting teachers, but was a somewhat reluctant one myself. However, during most of my 42-year membership, I have been a visiting teacher and now appreciate the importance of the calling.While living in the La Puente Stake, later named the Walnut California Stake, my companion and I had a rewarding experience as visiting teachers. We were given the name of an less-active sister and were told, "She will never let you in. She never lets any visiting teacher in."
About 10 years earlier, when this sister first joined the Church, she not only had been active but also had been Primary president. But following the death of her husband, the victim of an industrial accident, she found it difficult to cope with such things as being a widow, poverty, illness, and raising five children, the youngest only 3 years old when her husband died.
Actually, I don't remember exactly how long it was between the time we knew someone was home but didn't answer the door and the time when we were able to talk briefly when she opened the door a crack. But it was only a few months until we progressed to the living room. Widowhood had reduced her to such abject poverty that it was easy to see that she had been ashamed to let anyone see her home.
With the help of my husband, who loved everyone's children, we began our efforts to help this family back into activity.
Calls to offer rides to meetings were at first refused. But then the teenage girls still at home began going to meetings with us because they were finally convinced that we truly cared about them.
We still faithfully asked her to go with us each Sunday. Mostly she just said no. One Sunday, she said she didn't have a dress to wear, so we took care of that. Still we saw no immediate results, so imagine our delight and surprise when one bright Sunday morning, she joined her children - and by this time she had grandchildren - in the car.
Heavenly Father never gives up on anyone; I'm so glad He didn't give up on me when I was searching for truth. The sister I came to know when I was her visiting teacher became a good friend of mine. Eventually, she and I became visiting teaching companions until the time that I sold my home and went on a mission. This experience helped convince me of the importance of visiting teaching.