“A Circle of Support: The New Visiting Teaching Messages,” Ensign, Jan. 1987, 32
Beginning with this issue, the Ensign, as well as sixteen of the Church’s international magazines, will print the monthly Relief Society visiting teaching messages. This will provide visiting teachers with current guidance from Church leaders and give more sisters worldwide greater access to the visiting teaching message.
As a visiting teacher, you have a sacred commission from the Lord to be his listening ear, loving arms, and accepting heart. As you visit, call, and come to truly care about your sisters in the gospel, you become part of a divine sistership.
“Many can make visits,” explains Barbara Winder, Relief Society general president, “but because of the covenants we have made as members of the Lord’s church to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ and to bear one another’s burdens, we go in the Lord’s name. In so doing, we are blessed to say and do those things that we would not otherwise know to say and do.”
The visiting teaching message you carry is twofold. The first, less tangible message tells of a circle of support strong enough to sustain each sister through fears and frustrations and rejoicing. You also carry an inspirational message of hope, encouragement, and guidance from Church leaders.
In the two general conference issues, May and November, no separate visiting teaching message will be printed. Instead, visiting teachers may choose an address given by the First Presidency of the Church that is printed in those issues. The direction and counsel from a modern prophet can be used to present timely and inspired visiting teaching messages.
To prepare your lessons from those talks, prayerfully read the address. Then pick out the most important points. Look for the overall theme or the specific concepts which would be the most helpful to the sisters you visit. Acquire a testimony of the truthfulness of the counsel and bear testimony of its importance for us today. Leave your sisters with the challenge to implement the prophet’s advice in their lives.
In 1987 the visiting teaching messages will focus on self-reliance and provident living, augmenting the Home Management lessons. These messages will cover such topics as service, the pursuit of learning, doing things in their season, personal growth through homemaking, privileges and opportunities of Latter-day Saint women, gospel principles related to welfare, and financial and resource management.
Your Relief Society leaders will make sure you have access to the monthly message if you do not have the Church magazines in your home.
At the end of each visiting teaching message, a reference will be given to the Family Home Evening Resource Manual. This manual can give you additional ideas in lesson development, if you need them. It can also be used to help expand the visiting teaching discussion into a family home evening lesson, whenever parents feel the topic would be appropriate for their family.