Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Mormon Experience: Home Teaching

Since I am on a roll talking about our Mormon lifestyle, I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite things about our religion...Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching.

Home teaching is the practice whereby two men are assigned to visit a number of families, usually between 2 and 4, each month to visit with and share a scriptural message. Visiting teaching is similar, in that two women are assigned to visit a number of women in the ward, or church, once a month as well, again, to visit and share a spiritual message.

Every person in every ward is asked to participate in this practice. For example, I have two women who come to visit me each month, and I am also paired with another woman and assigned a few families to visit as well. Not only do we visit once a month, but we also assess any needs the family has and try to serve in any way we can. For instance, if a woman has given birth, it would be the visiting teacher's responsibility to make sure her family is taken care of in any way they need and to help in preparing and assigning meals during her recovery. If someone in the family is sick or otherwise disabled, especially a care-giver or a bread-winner, this would also be the perfect time for the home and visiting teachers to step in an serve where needed.

In addition, these companionships can be the eyes and ears of the bishops of our wards. It is the bishop's responsibility to care of his ward, but there is no way he can do it alone, and do it effectively. Therefore, if there is a problem or need in the home, the home or visiting teachers can make the bishop aware, and help can be offered where needed.

Home and visiting teaching can also serve as a "chain of command", so to speak. During the difficult times when the Gulf War first began, we were living as a military family on a fort in Texas, and enduring terrorism threats and scares regularly. It was during this time that our bishop set up a calling system whereby in the event of an emergency, such as a mass evacuation, he and his counselors would call each home teaching companionship, and in turn, those home teachers would call each of the families over which they held stewardship. If they could not reach them by phone, it was then their responsibility to go to their home personally to give them the message and any help they might need.

This program has been the source of so many blessings in my life. The friends and close acquaintances I've made through these programs have truly enriched my life and the lives of my family. Pictured below is one of our home teachers, giving our children a message about the importance of finding truth and gaining a testimony of Jesus Christ...



I really thought it was endearing that most of the children chose to sit on the couch next to our home teacher, even though I was the only one on my couch! And he didn't even seem to mind that the 3-year-old boy was rubbing his hand up and down the inside of his shirt sleeve during his entire message and that the 9-year-old boy was waving a flyswatter dangerously close to his face.

Pictured below is John trying to entertain the twins, well Twin A, as Twin B had just fallen asleep with a fever. You can see he's trying to pay attention to the message, between smacks on the forehead by Twin A trying to get his attention to continue naming the pictures in the baby book...



This was just a sweet moment in my sabbath day I wanted to share with you. If you'd like to learn more about this program, feel free to ask in the comments section... :)

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10 comments:

Janelle Bartlome said...

That is the best picture I have seen in a while. Life is sweet.

Lydia said...

Some of my best friends have come through visiting teaching. great explanation of what it is.

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Thanks, Janelle and Lydia! You are right, life is sweet as a member of this church and I, too, have experienced some of my best friendships through visiting teaching! :)

R Max said...

Home teachers know the deal - they aren't afraid of a little fly swatting and a bit of friendly sleeve investigation...

My son still tries to sit in the HT lap... and he's eleven.

Amanda B. said...

I agree that this is one thing that makes our religion stand out from others. Whenever I tell friends from other denominations about the program, they always say "wow! What a neat idea!!" Just today I got to sit and visit with a young newlywed expecting her first child in a few months that- without this program- i may not have gotten a chance to know her.

GapGirl said...

Thanks for sharing. I never knew about home visits and such before. How special and a great way to keep in touch
XoxoGapGirl

Melinda said...

You are lucky to have such a great home teacher. Love to visit and Love to get visits.

Cheryl B. said...

A family gathered together learning about God is always wonderous!!

Do all of your family always get dressed up in Sunday type clothes when your home teacher visits?

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Cheryl, that's a really good question. Our home teacher usually comes to visit us on Sunday (once a month). Every Sunday, we go to church in our church clothes, but we don't change out of them once we return home. We wear them the rest of the day, unless we take a nap. That way, the kids remember how special and important the sabbath day is and it encourages them to perform activities that would be fitting of the sabbath. Does that make sense?

Cheryl B. said...

Definetly!!

I usually stay in my dress, but for a different reason - Brian loves to see me in dresses, but while I have tried it, I'm just not comfortable wearing them ALL of the time, so depending on weather conditions and where and what we're doing, I wear them on our Friday date days, and all day on Sunday.