Every First Wednesday

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“Every First Wednesday,” New Era, May 1975, 11

Every First Wednesday

The call to be a home teacher is very important to Bart Hales. And in fulfilling this duty Bart tries to follow the counsel of President Romney:

“The duty to perform the service of a home teacher is inherent in the acceptance of ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood and to the office of Priest and Teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood. … Home teaching is one of the services by which priesthood bearers magnify their calling and qualify for the great promise that ‘… whoso is faithful unto the … magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies,’ and bearers [who] magnify their calling … qualify for the great promise that [they will] become members of ‘the church and kingdom, and the elect of God.’” (Church News, Apr. 19, 1969, p. 16.)

Bart Hales has magnified his calling, and because he has, he has grown greatly himself. What is a good home teacher, and what qualities make him that way? Let’s go home teaching with Bart and his companion and see.

Photos by Eldon Linschoten

Even though Bart is the junior companion, he makes sure that his senior companion will be ready to go at the appointed time and that there are no problems. Often senior companions are very busy men, and as they work together with their junior companions, they will appreciate help in checking on appointments. Bart’s companion has only forgotten once, but he dropped everything when Bart reminded him, and so they were just a few minutes late that night.

Bart and his companion take turns every other month giving the lesson. Bart approaches the responsibility of giving the message with study and prayer.

Bart says that home teaching serves two main purposes: first, to check and see how the family is doing as far as sickness and the necessities of life go, and then to deliver the message of the gospel as the prophet and president of the Church would have him do.

Bart’s senior companion lives nearby and picks him up in front of his home. At the present time Bart and his companion visit two families, and their homes are far enough away that driving is necessary. The families expect Bart and his companion on the first Wednesday evening of every month unless they make other arrangements. This prearranged time makes it convenient for both the families and the home teachers.

Bart takes special pains to look presentable when he goes home teaching. He knows that a tie and jacket are not critical to the quality of his spirit, but it does let the families he visits know that he considers home teaching a special responsibility.

Bart warmly greets his senior companion. He is a man who Bart knows is very busy, and Bart appreciates the time they spend together. Perhaps you might even recognize him. Bart’s companion is President N. Eldon Tanner of the First Presidency of the Church. Bart feels that if President Tanner has time to go home teaching, there probably isn’t anyone, anywhere, who cannot find the time to be a good home teacher.

President Tanner and Bart visit the Snow family first. In his lesson Bart recalls the untimely passing of a young man who lived in his ward. Bart tells the Snows that at the funeral the bishop said that this was a young man who was truly ready to meet death. In Bart’s message he suggests that we should all prepare and be ready for death because we really do not know when it will come.

Bart says that being President Tanner’s home teaching companion has been a great opportunity as well as a great responsibility. Bart knows that he must be a good example to others.

Bart says that President Tanner will often ask the young men in his ward if they know the gospel is true. This really makes the fellows in the ward sit up and think.

President Tanner and Bart also visit the Gearys. Home teaching with President Tanner has been a growing experience for Bart, and he will never lose sight of the great importance of his visiting the Saints in order to bless their lives because he knows that he brings the Spirit of our Father in heaven into their house.

“For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;

“And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;

“And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.” (D&C 84:36–38.)