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It’s not the end of the month. I just wanted to post a reminder about the May Visiting Teaching Message from lds.org:

“May Visiting Teaching Message

Because the May issues of the Ensign and Liahona contain a report of general conference, the magazines do not contain a specific Visiting Teaching Message. Visiting teachers are encouraged to prayerfully select a conference address to share with those they teach.

Visit LDS.org’s general conference archive for conference proceedings in several formats.”

This is a fantastic opportunity to individualize the Visiting Teaching message for the sisters in your care!

In honor of this past Mother’s Day, here’s a video message from a mother who learned what really matters:

THANK YOU to the bishop and everyone who made Mother’s Day so special for the Agoura 1st Ward ladies. The luncheon they provided was delicious, and the entertainment made me laugh and sometimes fight back tears (thank goodness for ice water). It is clear that our ward leaders value womanhood and motherhood, and I’m grateful to be under their capable stewardship.

As always, once you’ve visited with your sisters, let me know they’ve been taken care of! katrina.lantz@gmail.com
God Bless!

It’s that time of the month again!! No, not that time. Extreme Visiting Teaching Week! That’s right. Next week is the last week to get your April visiting teaching reported so we’ll know for sure that everyone is being taken care of.

Yes, April is coming to a close, and we are all probably hoping that these recent rain showers are being put to good use for May’s flowers. God is wise, and He never wastes rain. So be of good cheer, and if the cloudy weather gets you down, just give your visiting teachees a call!

Joy in service comes as we connect with one another. In reaching out, we are helping ourselves just as much as we are helping others. This month, I actually called the woman I am supposed to visit to ask for a huge favor. I know, that’s backwards, but here’s the story:

My three-year-old cherubim discovered that if he was really quiet, nobody would notice him breaking off bits of toilet paper and flushing them down the toilet. It must have given him a secret sense of glee, because he did this with an entire roll of toilet paper–yeah, a brand new one. I thought I had dodged a bullet because the toilet seemed to be functioning just fine. The next day, however, the toilet figured out that if it was quiet enough, it could flood the entire bathroom in an inch and a half of poo water. I’m sorry to pain you, but so it was! By the time I thought to myself, “Hey, is that septic smell coming from Sam’s pants?” the carpet in the hallway was already soaked. If you’re thinking, GROSS! you are not alone.

The wonderful lady who I visit happens to live in my apartment complex, so I called Jen and begged her via voicemail to take Sam off my hands while I cleaned up, since I was about to put baby LJ down for a nap anyway. She called me right back, and–even though she had a church meeting going on at her house–dropped everything to pick Sam up so he could play with her sons while I handled the small crisis. Well, it was small…depending on your gag reflexes. Mine happen to be very strong, so I was okay.

Thank Heaven for Jen M., and for the Bissell Little Green wet/dry vac. After the initial scare that maybe Mom was giving him away, Sam really enjoyed playing with his friends. And when I was ready to retrieve him (sorry I left him so long, Jen), I stayed and talked a while with my fabulous visiting teachee. She was making chocolate cookies for an event and we all got to “test” them for her.

Now, this is not an experience I plan to duplicate each month (we’ve taken away Sam’s toilet paper privileges), but I did learn something from it. The visiting teaching relationship can go both ways. If we’re too busy thinking about what we’re doing in that relationship, we might miss appreciating the spectacular talents and service shared by those we are meant to teach. Just as parents and teachers learn from their children–well, maybe not just like that, since we are all adults–we can be uplifted by those we have been called to uplift.

So this month, my challenge to you ladies is to notice and appreciate your sisters for their many talents and the service they give, even when it isn’t sought. Doing this will only strengthen the love we have for each other, and help us to see why God loves us each so much.

And if you haven’t already, drop me a line via phone or email (katrina.lantz@gmail.com) to let me know whether you’ve visited, called, or written to your lovely visiting teachees. The message is here.

And thank you for being so on-top-of-things last month! As a district, we did pretty darn great. I’m looking forward to an even better April.

I want to say a big thank you to the Relief Society presidency in our ward who put together the visiting teaching luncheon during third hour today! It was a beautiful tribute to our roles as visiting teachers and sisters to one another. And that salad was delicious!

The videos, while funny, pointed out several mistakes visiting teachers make when we are just trying to get it done rather than listening to the Spirit and focusing on our sisters.

But in the last video, even though the sisters didn’t call before they came over, I loved the part where they rolled up their sleeves and said, “You take the dishes, I’ll do the laundry.” I could almost hear the words to “As Sisters in Zion” as they set out to serve their sick sister in her hour of need.

As sisters in Zion, we’ll all work together;
The blessings of God on our labors we’ll seek.
We’ll build up his kingdom with earnest endeavor;
We’ll comfort the weary and strengthen the weak.
The errand of angels is given to women;
And this is a gift that as sisters we claim:
To do whatsoever is gentle and human,
To cheer and to bless in humanity’s name.
How vast is our purpose, how broad is our mission,
If we but fulfill it in spirit and deed.
Oh, naught but the Spirit’s divinest tuition
Can give us the wisdom to truly succeed.
– by Emily H. Woodmansee

As we come to know and love our sisters, we will “have genuine concern for [them] and visit them regularly, pray for inspiration about how best to watch over them, listen with love, focus on them with sincere interest, and avoid gossip and criticism during the visit (and at any other time)” (from the Relief Society hand-out at the luncheon). In short, we will show our love by helping them with their spiritual and physical needs first.

The video of the sisters gossiping shamelessly, while the sister they were supposed to be visiting sat quietly, was somewhat comical, but mostly sad. For some of us, visiting teaching is one of the few times we get to see and talk to ladies from church. It’s natural to want to catch up on each other’s news. The same concern for each other that makes us share news like “so and so was just diagnosed with cancer” or “they could really use some extra help because he just lost his job” can turn into the dark and unhelpful conversation called gossip when we let pride creep in. We need to make sure all our conversations are peppered with the Spirit of God, so that pride has no room to enter.

From the hand-out: “Minister through Regular Contacts- Early in the month, plan when you will visit or contact each of your assigned sisters. A personal visit at least once a month is always preferable. When it is not possible to visit, use phone calls, letters, emails, or offer a service she needs.”

Even sisters who evade visiting teaching (yes, there are sisters who don’t love visiting teaching) need the love and spiritual revival that come through the visiting teaching messages. One great way to give the message, without quoting the Ensign verbatim, is to think of a way to communicate it through service your sister actually needs. For instance, in March, the message is about personal scripture study. The scriptures on audio book are available for free download. It’s easy to burn them onto a CD to share with busy sisters who don’t feel they have time to read. Alternatively, just point them in the right direction: Scriptures on Audio File- Free Download

From the hand-out: “If your companion isn’t able to go one month, it’s okay to go on your own.”  This is where the old me would fail at visiting teaching. I always had some excuse why I couldn’t go by myself- kids, lack of car, etc. Even if my companion couldn’t go, I should have been doing my visiting. I think of my own current visiting teacher, Jen, who has visited me every single time all by herself. She has made a priority of it, even though she had two boisterous boys to care for, even though she had to come by herself. Her example is an inspiration to me. “What Visiting Teachers Report: Any contact made, any particular needs of their assigned sisters, how physical and temporal needs are being met, spiritual and emotional well-being of sisters, any service they’ve been able to give that can be shared, and what further assistance is needed.” This illustrates the real reason for visiting teaching: meeting the needs of our ward family.

“Learn of Needs and Offer Appropriate Assistance: Let your sisters feel that in times of distress, they can ask you for help. Help could be listening, caring for children or household needs when a sister is ill, or writing a letter of encouragement. Be quick to observe and quick to provide needed support. Keep private matters confidential. Share them only with the Relief Society president. Help the Relief Society president identify both temporary and long-term needs. Visiting teachers are a channel through which the president can be sure all sisters are cared for. When the need is serious, report it immediately to the Relief Society president. She will call on others, if needed, to give further assistance.

“Look for Specific Ways to Help: Show your sisters you honestly want to share their burdens. Sister may be more willing to accept help if you offer to do something specific. It’s less helpful to say, “Call me if you need anything.” Here are some ideas for more helpful approaches:

-I’ll be home this evening in case you would like someone to talk with.

-Would it help for me to take care of your daughter this afternoon? I’d be glad to.

-Are there any errands that I could do for you?

-I’d like to help–what needs to be done that you don’t have time for?

-I could go with you to________,if you would like.

-While being sensitive to her wishes, just do something that you are confident will help.

“Share and Testify of Gospel Doctrines: Prayerfully prepare for your visit. Ideas will come. You will know what to say or do. When appropriate, share a gospel message, especially with less-active sisters. The gospel message you provide may be the only one that sister receives. Use the monthly visiting teaching message printed in the Ensign and Liahona magazines or the scriptures, whatever best fits your sisters’ needs. Be aware of the spiritual and temporal needs of your sisters. Sometimes the most important message you can share is to do something to lift their burdens.” As was mentioned before, service teaches a gospel message, too!

I’ll end with the cute poem/song by Shel Eldredge that the Young Women in our ward sang for us today:

The Bare Necessities of Visiting Teaching

God bless! He always does!

Don’t forget to report by the 30th at katrina.lantz@gmail.com🙂

Welcome, Sisters!

Hi! My name is Katrina Lantz and I’ve recently been called to be a Visiting Teaching supervisor. Since I have never been very good at consistently doing my visiting teaching, much less REPORTING it to anyone, I am excited for this opportunity to mend my ways by about 100%.🙂

Here, I will be posting reminders, inspirational talks or stories, and friendly monologue of my own experiences with visiting teaching. You are welcome to read along and comment to make my monologue a pleasant dialogue. But if you would rather simply do your visiting teaching and report it via phone, I am available for that, as well! You can always email me at katrina.lantz@gmail.com to get your reporting done and through. I will regularly post a reminder around the 20th of the month that will look something like this:

I do have a personal testimony of the importance of this sacred work. It is through visiting teaching that we truly become sisters in Christ, and sisters in Zion. In my life, I have had several very special visiting teachers, companions, or visiting teachees, who have each taught me and blessed my heart with their love and gentle encouragement. From helping me to paint my kitchen when I was pregnant, to helping me pack for a big move with a new baby, to just offering me a smile and sharing a bit of themselves with me, their support has been cherished. We are all daughters of our Heavenly Father, and He smiles when we love each other.

“There is one who smiles on high when there’s love at home.”- Hymn Book “Love at Home”

For the talk from which I stole my blog title, read: Julie Beck\’s \”A Sacred Work\”

Looking for fun ideas for visiting teaching in the month of March? Scripture Study Bookmarks

Talk about methods of personal scripture study:

A) The unit study: Look up a topic in the topical guide or Bible dictionary and read all the references prayerfully. This could bring up more questions- search the same topic on lds.org for modern revelations about it.

B) Chapter by chapter: Read a chapter at a time, straight through from front to back. This is the way I think of personal scripture study normally, and it will always bring greater spirituality into our lives. Surprisingly, when I’ve done this, I’ve felt that, magically, the message always applied to me on the day I read it, even though I was just reading chronologically.

C) Start in the middle, or skip around: Some people have read 1st Nephi a million times. That’s me. The idea of starting in the middle just to shock my system and get me reading more regularly appeals to me. The deja vu feeling of 1st Nephi can become a roadblock if we never venture beyond it.

D) Flip and point, like Millie in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: Remember when she put her finger in the Bible and found the verse about casting your pearls before swine, which just happened to apply perfectly to her situation? Some people swear by this, and I believe God reaches people in many ways. If this is all you have time for, do it. But I do think a regular scripture study will comprise more than just the flip and point method. It will show a devotion to God. That sacrifice on our part is an important component of drawing closer to Heavenly Father.

There are many ways to study the scriptures. Nobody said you had to start at the beginning and read all the way through, including the footnotes, though it would be very worthwhile to do so! Personal study is about coming closer to God by learning His words. I hope you all find a favorite way to study the scriptures to make it a regular part of your daily life. The promised blessings of peace, harmony, and enlightenment are incredible.

“And he said, Unto you it is given to know the amysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in bparables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not cunderstand.” –Luke 8: 10