“Taking Action in Time of Need,” Ensign, August 2012, 7
As visiting teachers, one of our purposes is to help strengthen families and homes. The sisters we visit should be able to say, “If I have problems, I know my visiting teachers will help without waiting to be asked.” In order to serve, we have a responsibility to be conscious of the needs of the sisters we visit. When we seek inspiration, we will know how to respond to the spiritual and temporal needs of each sister we are assigned to visit. Then, using our time, skills, talents, prayers of faith, and spiritual and emotional support, we can help give compassionate service during times of illness, death, and other special circumstances.1
Through the help of reports from visiting teachers, the Relief Society presidency identifies those who have special needs because of physical or emotional illness, emergencies, births, deaths, disability, loneliness, or other challenges. The Relief Society president then reports her findings to the bishop. Under his direction, she coordinates assistance.2
As visiting teachers we can have “great reason … to rejoice” because of “the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work” (Alma 26:1, 3).
In the early years of the Church, membership was small and centralized. Members could respond quickly when someone was in need. Today our membership is over 14 million and is spread throughout the world. Visiting teaching is part of the Lord’s plan to provide help for all His children.
“The only system which could provide succor and comfort across a church so large in a world so varied would be through individual servants near the people in need,” said President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency.
“… Every bishop and every branch president has a Relief Society president to depend upon,” he continued. “She has visiting teachers, who know the trials and the needs of every sister. She can, through them, know the hearts of individuals and families. She can meet needs and help the bishop in his call to nurture individuals and families.”3