10 May 2010

Visiting Teaching Conference- "Called to Serve"

We had a wonderful Visiting Teaching conference yesterday during Sunday School and Relief Society. Thank you to the priesthood for covering all of the teaching that took place in the other auxiliaries so all of the RS members of our ward could attend the conference. I don't think we had an empty chair!

As the sisters entered the room, they were giving a personalized missionary tag. We had a map of the "mission boundaries" (ward boundaries) and push pins dotting the homes of each of the sisters in our ward. We decorated around a harvest theme (D&C 4:4) with fruits, vegetables, loaves of bread, etc. The take home gift of 2 oz. of homemade raspberry jam and a mini loaf of bread were on display too. Sheryl and Kayla made each loaf of bread and made and filled each jam jar...both were delicious!

Our RS Pres., Sheryl opened with a list of things her husband said he learned on his mission. She reassured us that through Visiting Teaching, all of these lessons (the power of testimony, gospel knowledge, fasting, loving those you serve, etc.) can be a part of our souls as well.

We stood together and recited D&C 4. Returned missionaries (RM) will recall memorizing D&C 4 and reciting this from MTC days and regularly throughout the mission. It felt GOOD to do this in RS!

We heard from our newest sister RM (of 2 weeks!), Kelly. She took the "responsibilities of Visiting Teachers" near the bottom the RS VTing page at lds.org and taught us how VTing is much like missionary service.

“Missionary work is but [visiting] teaching to those who are not now members of the Church, and [visiting] teaching is nothing more or less than missionary work to Church members.” -Harold B. Lee

Kelly referred to "Preach My Gospel," the section on "charity" in particular which teaches us that striving to serve with charity enables us to feel the love that Heavenly Father has for those we serve. She reminded us of Paul's teachings of charity found in 1 Cor. 13, and highlighted verse 12.... "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." Kelly taught that we do not know our sisters as perfectly as our Heavenly Father does, therefore we should seek to understand, to discern, and follow the Spirit when we are on the Lord's errand of watchcare.
Kelly shared how while serving her mission in UT, she saw firsthand how important faithful visiting teachers were in helping sisters come back to church.
We are blessed to have Kelly back in our Relief Society!

Bishop B. spoke about why we report visiting teaching each month.

Kayla played a beautiful piano solo. Thank you, Kayla for sharing your talent with us!

I spoke on Pres. Eyrings talk, "Rise to Your Call" and related that to VTing. On my mission we were given a handbook, rules, and discussions. I found success and didn't have a problem with any of these things, but found that my mission meant so much more than "following the handbook." We need to understand a few crucial things in order find success in our call to serve as visiting teachers....1. You are called of God.


2. You are promised that the Lord will guide you by revelation. Answers will come to your prayers of faith on behalf of the sisters you visit teach. President Eyring taught, "To know [the Lord's] will you must be committed to do it. The words "Thy will be done," written in the heart, are the window to revelation. Pondering the scriptures will lead you to ask the right questions in prayer. The answers come by the Holy Spirit.

3. Just as God called you and will guide you, He will magnify you. The adversary will try to bring you down and thwart your efforts with doubt ("I doubt this sister cares about the letters I send her each month because I never hear from her.", insecurity (I don't understand what this sister is going through. Sister So-and-so would be a much better VTer for her than me!), feeling overwhelmed, and feeling inadequate. President Eyring taught, "You are inadequate to answer a call to represent God with only your own powers. But you have access to more than your natural capacities, and you are not alone." As sisters in Relief Society we should seek for ways to express and show support for one another...
"Good luck on your job interview. You'll do great! I'll be praying for you."
"I don't know exactly how you feel, but I'm here for you and I care."
"I feel so blessed to be your visiting teacher."
"I feel the Spirit in your home."
"Our Relief Society is better because of you."

4. Your service as a visiting teacher will have eternal consequences...for you and for the sisters you visit. Just as we offer gratitude for those who've impacted our life for good, our sisters and their ancestors and descendants who chose eternal life because of something you said or did will be eternally grateful for your kindness. Our every effort to offer watchcare to our sisters truly matters.

“[Visiting Teaching] is one responsibility that is certain to increase our faith and personal righteousness and strengthen our own homes and families as we become partners with the Lord. A sister in this Church has no other responsibility outside of her family that has the potential to do as much good as does visiting teaching.” -Sis. Beck

We closed with prayer and had lemon, lime, and citrus bars, and fruit salad for refreshment as we all visited until our kids came in with hungry tummies wanting to head home:) What a blessing it is to be a part of our ward Relief Society! May we each express that love, in no uncertain terms to the sisters we visit teach, so that each of our dear sisters will find herself clearly inside our circle of sisterhood.

With Love,
Sheryl, Jan, Rebecca, & Kayla

02 May 2010

Notes from the Stake Relief Society Conference

  • Sis. Dushku referred to The Woman's Exponent, a periodical written by pioneer Relief Society sisters. She spoke of the RS conferences recorded there and what a privilege it is to carry on that tradition. I felt like I struck gold when I found The Woman's Exponent on BYU's online library. Click HERE to take a look....enjoy!
  • Renew your faith everyday. -Sis. Hutchins
  • Take off your magnifying glasses when interacting with sisters in Relief Society. Be slow to judge or take offense, but quick to befriend and uplift. - Sis. Hutchins.
  • "We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction that we may all sit down in heaven together." -Lucy Mack Smith
  • In the Family History workshop: "Family history work has the power to do something for the dead It has an equal power to do something to the living. Family history work of Church members has a refining, spiritualizing, tempering influence on those who are engaged in it..." - Boyd K. Packer
  • "Having Faith amidst Modern Day Trials," by Marielle Joseph. She taught a beautiful lesson beginning with many scriptural accounts of faith. She then shared several inspiring stories of faith regarding the recent earthquake in Haiti. Marielle's mother, who is not a member of the church, is in Haiti and her life was spared because she followed the words of a child, "Do not go to choir practice. You will die if you go." The earthquake happened as the choir was practicing. The church collapsed and no one survived. Marielle shared that in parts of Haiti 90% of the area was destroyed, yet now one of our churches fell, and we were able to offer shelter right away. None of the members went without food from the beginning. Stephanie Granger from the Westford ward went to Haiti as an interpreter for a medical team 6 weeks following the earthquake. She attended church and found the members in white shirts, ties, well groomed and happy to be there. She said that the members spoke of faith, of heeding the prophet's counsel to have food storage. They do all they can to attend the temple in the Dominican Republic. There is a collective desire to be right with the Lord; to be prepared to see his face, knowing that could be at any moment.
Thank you to our stake Relief Society leaders for putting together a wonderful women's conference. Lunch was delicious and kindly served by the high priests.
It was a great blessing to attend.