11 January 2013

New Calling = Less Time

I haven't been posting because I've been just so busy with other things; particularly with my calling in the Branch as Relief Society President. This calling is time consuming in any unit but in ours it is time consuming for reasons of geographical distance rather than welfare work to be done. For example, I visited a sister yesterday, one of my assigned visiting teachees, and it took four hours! I started out on my way there at 10:20 AM (for an 11:00 AM appointment), made a stop at the bank (combining errands), then began down the country highway towards her town. After about 5 minutes I realized that I'd forgotten my Ensign and scriptures, as well as her new "prophet" manual, so I turned around and went back for them. I ended up almost 20 minutes late to our appointment. She is a wonderful woman, struggling with a mentally handicapped daughter, a stretched to the limit in his work as a surgeon husband, and loneliness in our little branch. They moved here from Price, Utah, where she had many friends and was visited regularly by her visiting and home teachers. She told me that in the five years they've been here home teachers have visited maybe three times; and she's not had any visits from visiting teachers. I listened to her for almost two hours. She just needed someone to talk to! I know the feeling. I get really lonely too and in the over two years we've lived here I've NEVER been visited by anyone from the Relief Society. Anyway, after visiting her I stopped at the store (combining errands again) and then drove home. Four hours had gone by! And that was just one visit, we have over ninety sisters in our branch. Attendance at RS on Sunday is usually four to six sisters.

As I've pondered and prayed about how to reach the sisters and help them, beyond the stupor of thought that persisted for a week, the thought keeps pressing on my heart and mind that I need to continue teaching and training the sisters in visiting teaching so that it becomes the norm and is effective. The previous RS President encouraged the sisters to simply send a card and that counted as a visit. She went so far as to instruct my visiting teacher to NOT visit me because it was "not safe." When my visiting teacher told me that I was stunned and absolutely incredulous. I live in a quiet rural town, I am a stay at home mom, and have never felt unsafe here.

I've been blessed with many revelations for this calling, from who should be my counselors, to what to put up on the bulletin boards, to what to teach. It has been a great oppotunity and blessing to me. But it sure doesn't leave much time for blogging.


  1. Rozy, you will do a great job! Wow, that is really incredulous what the previous RS president said. Yikes. I'd love to hear what her reasoning is that lead her to say that.

    We'll understand your absences.

  2. What a wonderful RS lesson Rozy! Thank you for sharing it with me. I loved what you told the sisters about the feeling they had, and to go tell others about it and encourage them to come experience it for themselves. I have the same feeling inside myself. I tell as many people as I can too!

    I can't say the least that I feel about how important I have learned that VT is. The sisters need someone to come and see how they are doing. I have a sister I VT who seems to be already 'full.' She is a regular church-goer, holds a YW calling, and is faithful. But every time I go, she doesn't seem to need me. It is a challenge for me. But I think she is not the norm. I crave my VT coming to give me a little spiritual nourishment and a lot of friendship. We all need each other so bad. The world is always trying to pull us away from our true identity, and having like-minded people around us is critical. VT helps this.

    Keep it up! I look forward to hearing more from your experiences during this special and sacred calling.

  3. Relief Society President is a great gig. It's also a great BIG gig. Reactivation seems to be the biggest concern in our branches in the South. My own home branch is facing the same problem. I know it seems forward, but you might ask people why they haven't been to church in a while. Their answers may surprise you, and possibly lead to a healing that can bring people back

    When I was RSP I heard women complain about their visiting teachers not seeing them, too, but only very rarely was this from women doing their visiting teaching. Often, a pointing out a lack of visiting teaching visits is a way to shift blame from the self to the church. "They didn't visit me -- they don't care about me -- I don't go to that stupid church any more." Feeling no one cares is a devastating thing, however, if people will reflect, generally there are other reasons they initially stopped coming to church. When no one came out to see why, it just reinforced the idea that the church is hypocritical, which can result in bitterness that erases the memory of the initial reason for leaving.

    Now for the real reason I posted -- I am asking for teachers who have taught seminary over Skype (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithpromotingrumor/2012/06/seminary-series-scripture-mastery/#comment-51763) to share their experiences on my website. Would you be interested in writing an article sharing your experiences? I know you just got terribly busy, and no is definitely an okay response.

    Please let me know at jennysmith.net@gmail.com