Monday, August 31, 2009
Home and Visiting Teaching: Feeding the Savior's Sheep
The Savior asked Peter if he loved Him. Peter's reply was, "Yea Lord, Thou knowest I love Thee." The Savior replied, "Feed my sheep". As we know, the Lord wasn't speaking about actual animals, but His people. In the church today, there are many ways we "feed" His people, but one of the most important ways is through the programs of Home and Visiting teaching.
Home teaching is a program of the Priesthood. Each active Priesthood quorum member is assigned a group of families to visit each month. He and another Priesthood holder companion schedule a time when they can meet with the families in their homes. During their visit, they share a message, and assess the needs of the family. If there are any needs that the church can help with, this information is passed on to the Quorum president, who can then arrange the needed help.
Visiting teaching is a program of the Relief Society; the women's organization. Just as with "Home Teaching", visiting teachers are assigned a list of sisters to visit on a monthly basis. They also share a message and assess the needs of the women. If help is needed, the Relief Society or Priesthood organizations can offer any needed service.
I have been on both ends of the Visiting and Home Teaching service. As a visiting teacher, I have had opportunities to provide service to women who were ill or needy. As a sister in the gospel, I have too been visited and blessed by my visiting teachers. Similarly, my family has been blessed by those who have "Home taught" us.
The greatness of these two programs is that through them we can be the eyes and ears of the Bishop. Often the Bishop does not have the time to visit every home, and assess the needs of every member. Home and visiting teachers can be made aware of needs during their visits that may otherwise go undetected. In this way we truly can become our "brother's keeper". We can also spiritually uplift and strengthen them through gospel discussions with them. We can show our love to the Lord by feeding His sheep.