Monday, December 18, 2006

Epiphany

I've had an epiphany. I love visiting teaching and I have a testimony of this program in furthering God's work and serving others. I bellyache about those who don't and I complain about the hypocrisy of those who attend church regularly and bear their testimonies and don't do their visiting teaching. I know who they are because I'm the coordinater in my ward. Which is a totally thankless calling and I don't recommend it.

But somebody made an idle comment the other day that perhaps these people don't have a testimony of that particular principle, but they have a testimony of others. And I thought, "yeah, like how I don't like to go to church. I don't have a testimony of the importance of attending meetings."

And now I'm nicer to the ones who don't have that testimony, but have testimonies that I don't have. I'm also looking at myself nicer because it's not that I'm lazy and church is boring, it's that I don't have a testimony of it. Yet.

10 comments:

A. Nonny Mouse said...

I like that idea. It makes me feel better about other people in the church and better about myself, too.

Elizabeth-W said...

If it weren't for believing that principle of us all having testimonies of different things, I'd have stopped going to church (any church) long ago. Of course, on my not so smart days, hormonal days, whatever, I forget it, but then I get reminded in one way or another, and it helps a ton. But I do know what you mean about VT--it seems like such a basic concept-charity in action toward just a few people. I can't do everything, but I can do something.
So here's my beef with VT--I don't have a problem if you don't want to be VT'ed. Just tell the Pres and that's great. But, if you say you want them, then let me come. Don't cancel on my 4 times in one month, please! (December is a bad month anyway, but still...I have one sister who just doesn't seem too interested in having us over--maybe it's us-I'm willing to examine what we're doing wrong, too...)

annegb said...

I think you have something, Elizabeth. Maybe we should make it voluntary and those who sign up agree to participate. It would make it easier. I think I'd rather not have visiting teachers. I have too many people visiting already.

But I wouldn't mind visiting.

But I let them come, I don't dodge them like the ones you refer to.

It's a conundrum. Does your sister work? That makes a difference, I think.

Elizabeth-W said...

My sister? Sorry, got confused there for a sec. Yes my sister works, at the U of U. :)
But the sister who's hard to get doesn't work outside the home. I'm the one who does. I like to have a set day/time each month, second Friday for example, but that hasn't helped.

Barb said...

I like how so many people are involved in the Visiting Teaching program. Other Churches that I am aware of minister to shut ins, but I am not aware of much outreach to other members of the Church.

Looking back, I am so surprised how I volunteered shortly after being baptized to be a Visting Teacher. My visiting teacher was reading from the Ensign and I thought that I could do that. I was so shy and not a joiner.

I made a lot of great friends from the program and learned about service. To me, a mission and Visiting Teaching and Home Teaching are so much alike.

When I was in the YSA branch, I went visiting teaching with a young woman who was in College for several months at the time and when we went she said it was her first time ever. I wonder how many have had good mentors.

My first experiences were positive. Even the less active members and the one sister who did not attend Church, enjoyed our visits. She watched General Conference, however. We were not the type to invite to Church right away. I think it may have been over a year. We learned that she did not feel she could go to Church as she did not pay tithing. We could not convince her otherwise. We continued to visit this wonderful woman who had lunch every day with her husband in a nursing home. Her less active daughter lived with her. That daughter had a daughter who had a friend investigating the LDS Church. The friend was trying to decide whether to join and she mentioned it to my friend's grandchild who informed her that she was LDS. This made my friends grandchild have interest in the Church again. She did not remember being baptized at eight and wanted to be baptized again.

After teaching our friend for many years, her husband died. I happened to know that a friend of mine who is our Stake Patriarch used to Home Teach her and her husband years ago. I called him and he thanked me. He spoke at the funeral. A close friend of mine who I visit taught her and her companion had a husband serving in the Bishopric and he conducted. He was so reverent. And the former Home Teacher gave a great talk and it was so wonderful that he knew the brother that died. My same friend whose husband was in the Bishopric and her visiting teaching companion taught another of the daughters of the woman we taught. They said that she seemed more closed to them before the funeral. After the funeral, the Book of Mormon was a lot more visible.

If people are looking for immediate gratification, they will probably face a lot of discouragement. If they take a chance to get to know people and try to meet their needs, they can bless lives. Whether or not sisters become active, you can become an important part of their life.

Due to my problems, I do not like people to visit my home and I avoid going most places so I do not make it to Church or activities much these days. I had a visiting teacher once who used to call and we would talk. I knew her for a few years and the family she married into as well and also the family one of her brother-in-laws married into. We had interesting talks. I did not confide much about my disorder. When I did say something at one time, she compared my ocd to being overweight saying that if eating less and exercising were so easy that everyone would be the right weight. I liked that analogy as it was simple and yet underscored that it is not easy for many to get over ocd.

Once she made Christmas cookies and asked if she could bring them to my house. I am so glad she called because even coming to my door can make me so nervous and I declined. I did make it to Church every so often in those days and she would make it a point to come and talk to me. I would be feeling very contaminated. If someone talked to me at Church, I would want them to stand far back especially if they had children and babies as she did even if the babies were not with her at the moment. But she was so sweet to me. And I liked sitting a few rows ahead of her family as her daughter who I think was only about six would sing the adult hymms out loud and strong and in key.

What this sister did for me that I appreciate so much to this day is she laughed a lot when I spoke to her. If I can make someone laugh, that makes me very happy. :)

White Man Retarded said...

I like the idea of Home Teaching, and I guess i do have a testimony of it. I wonder sometimes if maybe Home Teaching (or Visiting Teaching) was designed to give the socially rebellious, shy, or freaked-out an excuse to step out of their shell and help other people...? I've had other similar epiphanies. They're little rays of light in the darkness.

Bookslinger said...

"I wonder sometimes if maybe Home Teaching (or Visiting Teaching) was designed to give the socially rebellious, shy, or freaked-out an excuse to step out of their shell and help other people?"

That's exactly it.

"Aha! You're my home teacher! You HAVE to be my friend!" Or conversely, "I'm your home teacher! You HAVE to let me be your friend!"

Otherwise, lots of us dorks wouldn't have any friends in the church at all.

Barb said...

Yes, being friends is part of the Visiting/Home Teaching program. It is so much more than assigned friends though!

I actually makes friends on some level pretty easily these days with a lot of personality types. I do best though with people that are more out going as it can be harder to make conversation with quiet people. But even with quiet people, if they are receptive and polite, I have had sucess in forging some friendship with them.

I can actually be on the manic side at times as you may have noticed. Surprisingly, that has not turned some people off to me. When I was at a rather manic stage, the Stake Relief Society President was calling me to set up an appointment with a member of the Stake Presidency and I was talking a hundred miles a minute and she told me that she liked talking to me. It is embarassing looking back because although the thoughts were mine the rapid fire delivery and some of the manner was not me. It is not like we were friends outside of that.

There is a sister who I called because I was her Visiting Teaching Supervisor and despite my being manic in those days, we really hit it off. She liked to know what I was thinking or reading and still does to this day. I did not contact her when she was not on my list, but when we resumed things really took off with our friendship as I now had internet access. She loves it when I share memories even going back to childhood and we have uncanny similiarities in certain ways. We talk about Gospel subjects. She volunteered to go to Stake Conference Adult session with me and said she would do anything to make me comfortable even risking her life. That was very moving to say the least. I was concerned when I was assigned her Visiting Teaching as that could change the dynamics of her friendship. I wanted her to know that our friendship was at a level that it would not end when my calling ended. She emailed me back letting me know how happy she was that I was her Visiting Teaching and referred to it as having and used a word that I think referenced the inspiration I can receive for her. Her being gracious means so much to me. When others have made me feel strange or odd, it means so much that some people really like my friendship.

That is the same feeling I get from you Annegb! Perhaps it is your involement in the Visiting Teaching program as well as the Twelve Step Program that allows you to cut me some slack when I am rather intense, passionate, angry, or just want to talk.

There are some people that may not give a person the chance that they need to get to know them unless they are directly involved in the Visiting Teaching program. However, I think we can expand our borders more.

annegb said...

Elizabeth, one thing that has worked for me, occasionally, is just dropping in. It might go over better here, but once in awhile, I just drop in, sometimes with something, cookies, etc. Sometimes I honestly happen to be in the neighborhood.

I had a woman years ago that would never honor appointments, so I didn't make them. I just went. Eventually, she let me in and we actually became very good friends.

It's all about friendship. I guess visiting teaching is the ten commandments of friendship. God's just waiting to give us the higher law.

Ann said...

I opted out of visiting teaching several years ago, when a woman I VTaught asked me what I thought of the Book of Mormon. I had not thought through what I would answer to such a question. So I told her. I opted out immediately after.

I had visiting teachers who didn't come for several years after. I was pretty suicidal at the time and figured it was a sign that I was so worthless that even the people who were assigned to be my friends didn't like me enough to bother.

Then I had a VT who was unable to read social cues and I had to practically shove her out the door when I had said, "I have to be back at work by 5:00" and she just kept talking and talking and talking.

I had lunch today with my new VT, who is new in town. About my age, but prettier, and with more kids, and I really like her. We connected on the depression thing.

But I can't bring myself to think it's a good thing for me to do. I'm always happy to help when I know about a need, but VT=testifying, and I really can't do that.

Glad you have a new perspective, and glad to see you blogging again. How you doing?