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

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