“10: The Teaching Part of Visiting Teaching,” Teaching, No Greater Call: A Resource Guide for Gospel Teaching (1999), 147–48
“10,” Teaching, No Greater Call, 147–48
When you are assigned to be a visiting teacher, an important part of your responsibility is to “learn of the spiritual and temporal needs of the sister and her family” and to “give spiritual instruction through a monthly message” (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2: Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders , 203). You are a teacher of the gospel.
In order to teach the sisters assigned to you, you need to prepare yourself spiritually and learn to apply the principles of gospel teaching discussed in this book. You should also strive continually to improve your teaching (see “Making a Plan to Improve Your Teaching,” pages 24–27).
This preparation will help you greatly because you may be called to teach sisters in many different situations. You may teach those who are young, elderly, married, single, divorced, newly converted to the gospel, very active in the Church, less active, well-educated, learning disabled, busy, lonely, welcoming, or resistant. Different sisters require different teaching approaches. Whatever the circumstances of the sisters you teach, you can help them know the Savior better and live His gospel more faithfully.
When Sister Elaine L. Jack was serving as general Relief Society president, she told the following story:
“Priscilla Samson-Davis, a sister in Ghana, has known struggles. There have been many rocks on the path of her life. As a teacher she has watched families nurse children through dysentery and malaria, work hard, barter daily for sacks of rice, onions, tomatoes—any food to keep their loved ones alive. She serves as a visiting teacher, regularly traveling on the bus to see a sister on the other side of town. When asked if this task were a burden, given all she had to manage, she simply replied, ‘It’s not hard. The woman I visit can’t read. When I go, I read the scriptures to her.’
“Her simple answer testified of the faith and assurance she had that she was on the proper path. Though her bus route was halting and likely wound up and down streets, in the Lord’s eyes it was truly straight and narrow, for she was going in the right direction. She was about her Father’s business” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 19; or Ensign, May 1994, 16).
As you select a message to share, remember the following instruction: “Visiting teachers give spiritual instruction through a monthly message. Messages that are published in the Ensign or the International Magazines are to be used as a guide and adapted to the needs of each sister” (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2: Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders , 203). Seek the guidance of the Spirit as you carefully review the monthly message with your companion and then consider prayerfully each sister you teach. In addition to the prepared message, you should use the scriptures and the teachings of latter-day prophets as your main resources in planning the message. You may supplement these resources with other Church-produced materials.
Prepare each visiting teaching message as carefully as you would prepare a lesson for a Church class. The following suggestions may help you:
Review the lesson. Counsel with your companion about what each of you will contribute to the presentation.
Follow the suggestions found in “Creating Lessons from Conference Talks and Other Resources,” pages 100–101.
Adapt the message and the teaching methods to the circumstances, background, age, and interests of each sister you teach.
The following suggestions will help you as you teach the sisters you visit:
Pray and read the scriptures together whenever possible. Use the scriptures at every appropriate opportunity. Bring them for each visit. Use them to answer questions or give counsel.
Follow the promptings of the Spirit as you teach.
Be sensitive to the time constraints of the sisters you visit.
Find ways for the sisters you visit to participate in the lessons. Show keen interest in what they have to say.
Testify of the truths you teach. Share examples of how to apply those truths in everyday life.