Monday, April 2, 2012

The Day the World Changed

(Quote from "Added Focus on Ministering Strengthens Visiting Teaching", Ensign, April 2012, p. 76.) Click on this link, then click on it again to enlarge it, then right-click to save it. 4 by 6", 300 dpi. You can upload the image file to a photo processor to have it printed as a photo if you'd like.

Did you feel that?
(The standard question always asked in SoCal after a small tremor.)

Not only did we get a brand-new RS general presidency on Saturday, but there was also a perceptible shift in the direction of Visiting Teaching on Sunday, April 1. Better yet, a sea change. And we will probably never be the same again. I teach G. A. Smith in RS so I am not officially trained to assist in this. I admit to feeling a little lost at sea. But remain calm--do not be alarmed. Help is on its way. Actually, help is already here! Look up to the left under the heading "VT Training Resources" for a few official links.

To me, it seems there are basically 2 main changes for us as Visiting Teachers. I'll call the first, A., the emphasis on ministering as more important than just getting the message out; the other, B., what we report:

Essentially the Same, but Different
--(A. and B. and emphasis added)

A. "...There have been times when sisters have focused more on completing visits, teaching lessons, and leaving notices when they have stopped by their sisters' homes...Sisters of Relief Society have at times imposed many written and unwritten rules in their desire to understand how to strengthen one another."

"With so much need for relief and rescue in the lives of sisters and their families today, our Heavenly Father needs us to follow a higher path and demonstrate our discipleship by sincerely caring for His children..."

B. "Leaders are now taught to ask for reports about the spiritual and temporal well-being of sisters and their families and about service rendered. "
Julie B. Beck, Ensign, Nov. 2011, as quoted in Ensign, March 2012, p. 29.

How Has Visiting Teaching Been Strengthened?, Ensign March 2012, p. 32. (A. and B. and emphasis added):

A. "Visiting teaching is not just a monthly visit; it is ministering. To watch over and strengthen sisters in their individual needs, visiting teachers have ongoing contact with them through visits, phone calls, e-mails, letters, or other means..."

B. "Visiting teachers are asked to report special needs and service given--in other words, their ministering. Count the caring instead of just counting visits."

Wonder what "ministering" means?
(To save, click on tag, then click on it again to enlarge it, then right-click to save it. 300 dpi.)

So, visiting teaching is kind of the same, but different! It's stronger. And starting this month, we are being trained in some of the ways we can better minister to our sisters.

For instance, in April, the visiting teaching message shares the ways "we can follow that higher path and demonstrate our discipleship." You'll remember seeing the following image in chapter 7 of Daughters in My Kingdom, p. 123. It's the exact same information as found in this month's message. You've already been prepped for this --so, no surprises. It feels very natural.

The reporting part is where I'm a little lost, but I'm sure our ward VT leadership will clarify things for us as it becomes necessary. I came across a report chart by talented Kristin at inkablinka that might help you keep track of your monthly acts of ministry if you'd like one. It's here.

I am inspired by your dedication! Thanks for visiting today.

P.S. Sorry for all the updates! Reflective thinking at work. Sort of.

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