Friday, March 6, 2009

How to proceed?

I know I should have asked you guys sooner. but I didn't. This post is going to be about church stuff so for any of you who prefer not to read on, stop now.
I'm in charge of Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment in our small branch (church group) here in Istanbul. We have a meeting in a week and I want it to be good. Good, good, good. The topic is Visiting Teaching. Here is the info on our branch. We aren't officially recognized as a church in the country yet. We are under a title called "LDS charities". A large percentage of our branch consists of migrant Americans that come, stay for a year or two or three, then go home. There are other foreigners here that are here to stay. And there are a handful of Turkish members. Actually, there are a large number of Turkish members but they have since been forgotten which I think is horrible! Now only two or three come. Church is held in English and we have translation for the Turks when a member comes that can speak both languages well.
Why am I choosing to implement Visiting Teaching?
Because I hate seeing people come to church and not know anybody. I hate to see people come for a while and then stop coming, for whatever reason it may be. I believe Visiting Teaching is a wonderful way to help members help themselves.
Here is my question.
How do you present the Visiting Teaching program for the first time ever?

Here are some things to keep in mind when answering.

1. Our numbers are very few. We have about 20 sisters and only 12 active ones.

2. We are spread across a massive city divided by a wide waterway with only two bridges and ferryboats to get us across. (There is usually traffic on these bridges every day from 7-10 and 4-7) It could be quite costly to do, and time consuming.

3.They've never heard of it before.

Give me some ideas please. Even if they have to visit eachother at the branch for now, I'd still like to implement it. For the sake of the sisters who are joining but not continuing to come.


Strawberry Girl said...

I have always felt that it would be nice if visiting teaching were a bit more open. like, you find a friend and then you just decide to go visit and check up on another friend. You could try doing things regionally at first (I don't know how much space there is)group them together by area... Or you could have it be an assignment to make the sisters feel welcome. You assign two sisters together and their assignment is to make sure that 1 other sister know's that someone cares whether or not they come and to call their sister if they don't see her at meeting... Good luck :0)

Code Yellow said...

I want to call you and talk on the phone about this! I LOVE visiting teaching and think it is so important and potentially life changing both for those who visit and those who are visited.

I helped with a VT conference once and have a couple ideas...perhaps I will e-mail you details.

Our branch is quite similar to yours, spread over a wide area, many transient sisters, and transportation is a huge our RS presidency found in the handbook of instructions that in such a situation, an actual home visit may only be possible once every quarter, which is OK. For the other two months in the quarter, notes or small "check-in" visits when you see your sisters at church are sufficient, as long as each sister has a specific visiting teacher/friend and knows who they are. I think the once a quarter thing is a very reasonable place to start in a small branch where the whole idea is new.

I hope it goes well! I will probably e-mail more, whether you like it or not. :)

Tara said...

In HK the sisters are assigned Visiting Teachee's who live relatively close to where they live. (Sometimes that just means on the same Island :) It is a sacrifice for many as sometimes it is an ALL day activity. However, the Lord uses us to help keep track of all his sheep, to make sure that all their needs are being met. A friend of mine has to travel to a nearby Island to do hers and it is a 6-7 hour trip when all is done.
I know that if it isn't feasible to do that then a lot of members are able to do Visting Teaching and Home Teaching after or before Church.
I definitely think you can make it work! I think start out small. When it is too overwhelming sometimes we don't even want to try. However, sometimes we surprise ourselves, when we are called to rise to a challenge, we do it.
Good luck!

Sonja said...

You are the perfect person to teach this! I know that you are inspired.

This is a hard thing you ask of us! I'm not sure if i have any fabulous advice, but I do believe in the power of example. When someone does something nice for me or goes out of their way to visit me, I have a greater desire to go and do the same.

Maybe you could start by giving everyone an assignment to learn a particular thing about the sisters they visit. Then ask them to share it at a meeting. What's the internet situation like over there? Would that be a useful tool?--to supplement the physical visits when it becomes difficult to travel. I also LOVE getting snail mail from my visiting teachers. It just feels good to know someone was thinking about you.

It may start slowly, but I'm sure your example will go a long way.

Cameron said...

HARD CORE!!! You go sista! Serious Christine that is awesome you are in an area where people actually need each other in the church. You are like a pioneer out there isn't that exciting. Member missionaries literally.

Marcelo D2 said...

If I were you I would go there and tell them how bad people they are. Also if they don’t go to church I would say …You have two options, go to church or go to church. Just kidding! I agree with Cameron, which would be so nice to be a pioneer, to live at that time, to see things happening. You have this opportunity now, and one thing that is extremely important is to show love to those who are out of church, and it is something you can do better than anyone . You are the best sister missionary ever. Good luck on that and shall de holly ghost be with ya.