“Love, Watch Over, and Strengthen,” Ensign, Apr. 2012, 7
Like the Savior, visiting teachers minister one by one (see 3 Nephi 11:15). We know we are successful in our ministering as visiting teachers when our sisters can say: (1) my visiting teacher helps me grow spiritually; (2) I know my visiting teacher cares deeply about me and my family; and (3) if I have problems, I know my visiting teacher will take action without waiting to be asked.1
How can we as visiting teachers love, watch over, and strengthen a sister? Following are nine suggestions found in chapter 7 of Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society to help visiting teachers minister to their sisters:
Pray daily for her and her family.
Seek inspiration to know her and her family.
Visit her regularly to learn how she is doing and to comfort and strengthen her.
Stay in frequent contact through visits, phone calls, letters, e-mail, text messages, and simple acts of kindness.
Greet her at Church meetings.
Help her when she has an emergency, illness, or other urgent need.
Teach her the gospel from the scriptures and the Visiting Teaching Messages.
Inspire her by setting a good example.
Report to a Relief Society leader about their service and the sister’s spiritual and temporal well-being.
“Visiting teaching has become a vehicle for Latter-day Saint women worldwide to love, nurture, and serve—to ‘act according to those sympathies which God has planted in [our] bosoms,’ as Joseph Smith taught.”2
A sister who had recently been widowed said of her visiting teachers: “They listened. They comforted me. They wept with me. And they hugged me. … [They] helped me out of the deep despair and depression of those first few months of loneliness.”3
Help with temporal tasks is also a form of ministering. At the October 1856 general conference, President Brigham Young announced that handcart pioneers were stranded in deep snow 270–370 miles (435–595 km) away. He called for the Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City to rescue them and to “attend strictly to those things which we call temporal.”4
Lucy Meserve Smith recorded that the women took off their warm underskirts and stockings right there in the tabernacle and piled them into wagons to send to the freezing pioneers. Then they gathered bedding and clothing for those who would eventually come with few belongings. When the handcart companies arrived, a building in the town was “loaded with provisions for them.”5