Welcome! We are very happy to have you as a new visiting teacher in our ward.
Thank you for being willing to serve. The following are some guidelines and ideas that may help you with this very important calling.
What is a Visiting Teacher?
A visiting teacher is one of a set of companions assigned to watch over, care for, visit, and teach the RS sisters on her assigned route. She is the eyes and ears of the Relief Society President.
Why does the church have Visiting Teachers?
Because the Lord has asked up to follow the example of the Savior in “feeding his sheep”. Each visiting teacher receives blessings as she serves her fellow sisters. Even newly baptised sisters are called as visiting teachers. When we are baptized we promise to “bear one another’s burdens, mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort”. (See Mosiah 18:8-9)
Who do I visit?
The Relief Society president will give you a list of sisters to visit each month, along with their addresses and phone numbers. Some of these sisters may be fully active, others may not have attended any church activities for a long time. Each sister is important, and because she is a member of the Lord’s church she is entitled to the watch-care provided through visiting teaching whether she is fully active or not.
When do I visit?
Every sister on your route should be contacted at least once each month. This contact can be through a personal visit in her home, a phone call, or a letter. At least once every three months the contact should be a personal face to face visit. If your route contains sisters that are new in the church, less active, or who are experiencing difficulties, it is suggested that these sisters receive priority in receiving a personal visit every month.
What do I do when I visit?
This will vary from month to month, depending on the needs of the sisters you serve. In general, however, the following guidelines should be followed.
- Never go alone; visits should be made with your companion. If she is ill or out of town, ask another sister to accompany you that month.
- Pray together with your companion before going in to visit someone.
- Take turns preparing a visiting teaching message to give during your visit. This message is found each month in the Ensign magazine. If you are making a phone visit, discuss the message with your sister, or include a copy with your letter if you are writing her that month. (During the months of May and November, you may choose from among the conference addresses printed in that month’s Ensign.)
- Find out how the sister is doing. It will take more than just asking “is there anything we can do for you?”. Allow the spirit to help you know what to ask. If there are needs, do what you can to help, or arrange for others to help if needed.
- When appropriate, ask the sister if you can pray with her before ending your visit.
- What do I do after I visit?
At the end of the month, please call your visiting teaching supervisor and report your visits for that month. In addition, you will be able to report verbally on each of your assigned sisters to a member of the RS Presidency in a quarterly interview. The Relief Society handbook says that “in order to be effective instruments in performing assignments, visiting teachers can seek the Spirit in the following ways as they serve their sisters: - pray unceasingly for direction as to another’s needs - use the scriptures, letting the Spirit speak directly to their hearts. - testify to others of the truth of the gospel - when appropriate, use hymns to soften hearts - share expressions of love for God and for others - bless others through faith, love, prayers, and service.
What do I do if one of the sisters I visit expresses a serious problem, such as a financial need, emotional problem, abuse issue, or serious health problem? Call the Relief Society president. Do not wait until you make your report at the end of the month, and do not discuss the need with others. Problems such as those above should be kept confidential. The RS president will know how to handle them, and will report it to the Bishop.
What if I call a sister on my route and she asks me not to visit her? Miracles have happened when visiting teachers prayerfully seek ways to contact their sisters. Sometimes it takes many months before a heart is softened. Do not give up. Inform the Relief Society president of the sister’s response. She may direct you to continue trying each month to visit, or may ask you to call or write that sister each month.
We know you will find great joy in serving as a visiting teacher. if you have any questions, please ask. May the Lord bless you in your calling.