The following article appeared in LDS living. Below is an excerpt.
I call, I text, I stop by, and I follow her on social media. But even when I feel my level of friendly “watch care” is teetering on the edge of stalking, I get nothing. Time and time again, I fail. Has the sister I visit teach dropped off the face of the planet? I’ve experienced this feeling frequently throughout my years of visiting teaching. At first, I thought it was me. But, in talking with friends, I realized this kind of reception is common among sisters. So, what’s a woman to do when she gets rejected time and time again?
Here are just a few tips I’ve learned through my colorful history with visiting teacher dodgers.
Think Outside the Box
After cultivating a wonderful friendship with one of my visiting teachees, she simply stopped associating with anyone in our ward at all. She wouldn’t come to any church activities—let alone church on Sundays. This worried me quite a bit because only a couple months before, she had decided to receive her endowments and had gone through the temple. I had hoped that because we were such good friends, she would tell me what the problem really was and what was troubling her. But it was no use. I tried everything. Texts, facebook messages, facebook wall posts, treats on her doorstep, and never so much as a text to tell me that she still acknowledged my existence.
I decided to think outside the box and not even try to entice her to church events anymore. One day I posted on her Facebook that I was dying to get a pedicure, and I wondered if she wanted to come with me sometime. I thought she would jump at the chance, since I know she loves getting pampered.
Thinking outside the box can mean anything from a new way to contact your sister to a new topic to engage her in conversation with. Leave a note on her car one day to let her know you’re thinking of her. Mow her lawn or shovel her driveway without waiting to be asked. Little bite-sized acts of service will make her remember whom she can turn to when she needs a friend one day.
Stalk if Necessary
Sometimes visiting teaching requires a sister to whip out her detective skills and put them to good use. I’m not condoning anything that could lead to a restraining order—that won’t help your visiting teaching record any. All I’m saying is a little extra knowledge obtained through friends or over the ward directory, Facebook, or Instagram can go a long way.
These tools are a great way to discover commonalities and find ways to introduce yourself to your teachee in a natural way. If you’re not plugged into any social media, but you know your teachee drops her kids off at school most mornings, hang around after you drop your own kids off and try to strike up a conversation. Ask her friends in the ward for ideas of activities you can do together. If you are unfamiliar with social media, this could be the perfect push you need to learn how to put it to good gospel use. Check her Facebook wall to see what’s new in her life or learn when she might need a simple, uplifting text or a little extra help.
To read more ideas on how to reach out to your visiting teachee, go here.