“It Started with Home Teaching,” Ensign, July 2014, 70–71
I was the home teacher of a less-active sister who lived with her children in a home that was falling apart. I helped her make some minor repairs, but they were insufficient. Considering the condition of the home, I recommended that they find another place to live. But she simply couldn’t afford to leave the home she had inherited from her parents. So our bishop decided we should make the needed repairs to the house. He assigned me to evaluate the situation and report back to him.
As I examined the home, I saw that the wood siding was rotting as well as the framework that held it in place. Small animals had accelerated the damage by gnawing through the wood in search of shelter. When I walked around the attic, I could see the sky through holes in the wood siding. In the front room, the flooring was about to collapse. And the teenage daughter’s room flooded whenever it rained heavily.
Although I served as a ward welfare specialist, I was not an expert in any of the skills needed to repair this house. I also felt that the ward members didn’t have the skills to repair it either. So I prayed and asked Heavenly Father for help. The thought came to me to heed the counsel given by President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008): “I am satisfied, my brethren, that there is enough of expertise, of knowledge, of strength, of concern in every priesthood quorum to assist the troubled members of that quorum [or ward] if these resources are properly administered.”1 Despite the obstacles we faced, I decided to propose that we put the prophet’s counsel to the test.
When I reported back to the bishop, he agreed that we should ask the priesthood quorums in the ward for help. He drew on fast-offering funds to purchase some of the needed materials. I coordinated the efforts for repairs and made phone calls to local vendors and community members for donations of materials. We circulated a sign-up sheet in the elders quorum and high priests group, asking for brethren to work on the house for the next few Saturdays. To my surprise, we found brethren who had expertise in construction, carpentry, plumbing, and flooring installation.
When we ran into challenges, the Lord provided someone who knew how to solve our problem—whether it was fixing a broken water pipe, repairing a patchy roof, or replacing rotted wood framing. Among them was a full-time missionary who had previously worked as a carpenter. The ward youth painted the house, and they reached out in friendship to the teenage daughter. The priesthood quorums worked every Saturday until the work was done. The sister who owned the home provided linoleum flooring for her daughter’s room, and her young single adult son trimmed back the trees near the house.
Members performed a miracle for this family, but those who had pulled together were also blessed. They had put the prophet’s counsel to the test and were astonished at how much they had accomplished by working together. And it all started with home teaching.