After returning home from serving a full-time mission for the church, I spent two months with my family before leaving to jump right back into school. For eight months I totally immersed myself in the realms of academia. Then I felt prompted to come home. My family needed me, and I probably needed them as well.
This is how I found myself back in the same stake singles ward I have been attending since I graduated High School at 17. Where there was a handful of familiar faces, most of my friends from years past had either; graduated from college and moved, or they had gotten married.
For the first few months, I forced myself to be outgoing and try to make some new friends. The result was that I had people to talk to on Sunday, but no close friends. I had met some people whom I felt a connection to, whom I wanted to become friends with, but I didn’t know where to start. I saw and spoke to them every Sunday. I even invited them to my house, or to go do something. (By the way, these two girls were roommates and close friends) Yet, despite my best efforts nothing came of it.
Then one Sunday the new Visiting Teaching assignments were handed out. I love Visiting Teaching. I have a real testimony of the importance of this program. It is more then just a calling to go once a month into the home of these sisters, and share a spiritual lesson, ask if there is anything you can do for them, then leave until another month has come around. It is an opportunity to build friendships that last for years.
This is why I was so very excited when I read my new assignment and discovered that not only did I have a new V.T. companion (another girl whom I also wanted to get to know better), but I had new sisters assigned. Included were the two girls I had been trying to reach out to for the past few months.
It was during our first visit that whatever barriers were standing in the way, of us getting to know each other better, disappeared. We all began talking, and though we realized how very different we all were, we also realized how much we had in common. Over the next few months the bonds of friendship were deeply forged. One of the girls has become as a sister, to me, and the other a very close friend.
Looking back over these last few months and all we have each been through, I see how much I needed their friendships to help me make it. I also see how much they each needed my friendship. What a tender mercy from God, to have brought us together, when He did.
I have a real testimony of the Visiting Teaching program. Heavenly Father instituted this program for some wise and powerful purposes. Among which was to bring the sisters of the church together, in a way that would help us move past the barriers we all have around us, and build lasting and meaningful friendships.