“Visiting teaching is genuine caring; it is compassionate service. It is making the bishop and the Relief Society president aware of the needs of the sisters that they visit.” —Sister Jean B. Bingham
Beginning January 2018, changes to the monthly visiting teaching message will help sisters “minister” to each other in a more personal way. Rather than providing a specific message, each month a “Visiting Teaching Principle” will provide ideas to help sisters minister more effectively to each other.
“We want to help sisters understand how to really care for and strengthen each sister,” Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President told the Church News. “The [Church] handbook doesn’t talk about our responsibilities to teach a lesson. It talks about how ‘visiting teachers sincerely come to know and love each sister, help her strengthen her faith and give service. [Visiting teachers] seek personal inspiration to know how to respond to the spiritual and temporal needs of each sister they are assigned to visit’ [Handbook 2, 9.5.1].”
The changes are meant to help visiting teachers look beyond a universal prepared message and figure out what the sister they visit personally needs.
“What are we supposed to do?” asked Sister Sharon Eubank, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency. “Do what she needs.”