September 2012 Visiting Teaching Message: Special Needs and Service Rendered
September 06, 2012
Use the Visiting Teaching message and a supplement from President Thomas S. Monson to discuss often overlooked (but crucial) ways we can serve and help others.
September Visiting Teaching Message:
“The needs of others are ever present,” said President Thomas S. Monson, “and each of us can do something to help someone. … Unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives.”1
As visiting teachers we can sincerely come to know and love each sister we visit. Service to those we visit will flow naturally out of our love for them (see John 13:34–35).
How can we know the spiritual and temporal needs of our sisters so we can render service when it is needed? As visiting teachers, we are entitled to receive inspiration when we pray about those we visit.
Maintaining regular contact with our sisters is also important.
Supplement: Read the following excerpt from President Thomas S. Monson's October 2009 address, "What Have I Done for Someone Today?":
My brothers and sisters, we are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness—be they family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers. We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us.
You may lament: I can barely make it through each day, doing all that I need to do. How can I provide service for others? What can I possibly do?
Just over a year ago, I was interviewed by the Church News prior to my birthday. At the conclusion of the interview, the reporter asked what I would consider the ideal gift that members worldwide could give to me. I replied, “Find someone who is having a hard time or is ill or lonely, and do something for him or her.” 10
I was overwhelmed when this year for my birthday I received hundreds of cards and letters from members of the Church around the world telling me how they had fulfilled that birthday wish. The acts of service ranged from assembling humanitarian kits to doing yard work.
Dozens and dozens of Primaries challenged the children to provide service, and then those acts of service were recorded and sent to me. I must say that the methods for recording them were creative. Many came in the form of pages put together into various shapes and sizes of books. Some contained cards or pictures drawn or colored by the children. One very creative Primary sent a large jar containing hundreds of what they called “warm fuzzies,” each one representing an act of service performed during the year by one of the children in the Primary. I can only imagine the happiness these children experienced as they told of their service and then placed a “warm fuzzy” in the jar.
I share with you just a few of the countless notes contained in the many gifts I received. One small child wrote, “My grandpa had a stroke, and I held his hand.” From an 8-year-old girl: “My sister and I served my mom and family by organizing and cleaning the toy closet. It took us a few hours and we had fun. The best part was that we surprised my mom and made her happy because she didn’t even ask us to do it.” An 11-year-old girl wrote: “There was a family in my ward that did not have a lot of money. They have three little girls. The mom and dad had to go somewhere, so I offered to watch the three girls. The dad was just about to hand me a $5 bill. I said, ‘I can’t take [it].’ My service was that I watched the girls for free.” A Primary child in Mongolia wrote that he had brought in water from the well so his mother would not have to do so. From a 4-year-old boy, no doubt written by a Primary teacher: “My dad is gone for army training for a few weeks. My special job is to give my mom hugs and kisses.” Wrote a 9-year-old girl: “I picked strawberries for my great-grandma. I felt good inside!” And another: “I played with a lonely kid.”