Adult women who join the church are assigned visiting teachers through the Relief Society, the church’s organization for women. A sister, or two sisters visiting together, will come to your home each month to share a gospel message and visit. Unlike home teachers, these women are coming only to see you. Often women are more comfortable discussing their needs or feelings with other women, and the visiting teacher can be a built-in friend when you are new.
One year, after I had moved away from my extended family, I was feeling lonely and nervous. We had never lived away from any family before and I wondered what would happen if we needed something. Sure enough, a need arose and I panicked, wondering where to turn. I didn’t even know anyone at church yet, or at least, not well enough to feel comfortable asking for help. Suddenly my eyes were drawn to a bright card that hung by a magnet on my refrigerator. It had the names and telephone numbers of my new visiting teachers and said in bold letters, “Call us first!” Relieved, I called for help and was soon taken care of.
A visiting teacher ensures you . As a new member, you can count on your visiting teacher to help you navigate your new membership in the church. She can explain how to access services, give talks, handle callings, and anything else you might be asked to do that is new to you. When you have questions about the gospel, ask your visiting teacher to help out.
Because this visit is about you, and not about the entire family, try to arrange to see your visiting teacher alone, or at least in a way that isn’t too distracting. If you have a spouse who is home, ask him to entertain the children for you. If you need to keep your children with you, plan something for them to do so you can talk. Many children believe all visitors come to see them, and your visiting teacher, while happy to know and talk with your children, will also want time to find out how you are and to share the brief lesson she has prepared.
Visiting teachers are a great comfort to women in the church. It’s reassuring, when you’re the caregiver, to know that someone is looking after you. Many of my closest friends started as my visiting teachers. When both the visitor and the visited make a special effort to create a relationship, visiting teaching becomes one of the best parts of the Relief Society program.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.