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Guest Mores

Ministering

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Guest Mores

So, I'm just wondering.  How is everyone doing on ministering?  Now that the "requirement" for visiting has been deleted, I find that no one is doing much of anything.  I can't even get an appointment with my families.  Everyone simply says,"Oh, we're ok. You don't need to visit us."  And I'm left thinking, how am I supposed to get to know them at all?  I keep trying.  But...  Of course, it doesn't matter with one family that has gone inactive.

My ministering brother tried seeing me for a couple of months.  But I was ill for a while and unable to accept visitors.  Since my recovery, he hasn't asked about me at all.

I don't really know what anyone else is doing.  What are you all doing?

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The sister who ministers to me and I are doing fine.  We've had the "say hi and chat, ask if you need anything" relationship going before it was the official how-to-do-it.

I have been unable to minister myself due to complications, but I was also a very bad visiting teacher before then so nothing has changed there.  My companion has been good about contact though.

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My ministering companion just had a baby, so the sisters I minister to have been helping me minister to my ministering companion.  Our RS Presidency decided to give me a Filipino companion and 2 Filipino sisters (mother and adult daughter living in the same house) to minister so ministering to us is just doing what we Filipinos have always done... just show up at each other’s house and eat their food while talking about anything and everything.  Haha.

The EQ that ministers my family is really awesome.  He’s always by himself because his companion is always busy when he shows up to minister.  The way he ministers is he just talks to us on Sundays or when we’re having YM activities (he’s in the YM Presidency) and pays attention when we shoot the breeze.  So, like last week, my son mentioned he can’t attend YM because he has all these performance rehearsals.  I posted the performance schedules on FB and he just showed up.  So, it just so happened that my son had 2 performances that day with about an hour in between.  My other son brought his fishing pole because behind the concert hall was a big stocked lake.  So, my other son spent the waiting times fishing and our ministering brother went fishing with him.  

I really like that about him.  He just listens and knows what’s going on so, without waiting for an appointment (because our family are “shoot at the hip” type people who can’t plan anything beyond what’s for dinner), he just shows up prepared to spend time doing our thing.

Edited by anatess2

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Guest LiterateParakeet

Our Ministering brothers are the same as home teachers were before...they come over once every few months. The sister who ministers to me and I do art together weekly. I have three sisters I minister to. One I meet with one weekly, another I talk to several times a week, the other really doesn't want contact, I haven't given up with her, but taking it slowly. 

I like the new program. To me Ministering/friendship flows more naturally this way than the way we did it previously.

Edited by LiterateParakeet

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The brother that ministers to me use to strike up conversation and joke about how bad he was at ministering, but now he doesn’t do that much anymore and haven’t seen him outside of church since.

The people I visit don’t need too much contact. I visit one once a month to keep up with his life. The wife of another family I minister to ministers to my wife so we get together on occasion and hang out. The last couple So minister to are good friends of ours an we see each other every other week while playing games and hanging out.

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1 hour ago, LiterateParakeet said:

 

I like the new program. To me Ministering/friendship flows more naturally this way than the way we did it previously.

I feel the same way.  It is much easier now I think because every contact is a visit even the time she taught me the proper way to make pansit. 😃

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Same old same old, but this is how we always did it anyway.  I have two added families.  We have monthly "official contact" and varying amounts of other contact throughout the month.

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Guest Mores

Man, it looks like you all have it easy.  All visiting with everyone who opens their arms and homes to you.

How the heck am I supposed to do that when I can barely get the time of day from active members, much less the inactive ones?

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Guest LiterateParakeet
5 minutes ago, Mores said:

Man, it looks like you all have it easy.  All visiting with everyone who opens their arms and homes to you.

How the heck am I supposed to do that when I can barely get the time of day from active members, much less the inactive ones?

Pray about it. The Lord can guide you.

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Guest Mores
21 minutes ago, LiterateParakeet said:

Pray about it. The Lord can guide you.

Of course.  Like I haven't been doing that already.

Edited by Mores

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10 minutes ago, Mores said:

Of course.  Like I haven't been doing that already.

Well, you don't seem to know since you're asking us. 

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Guest Mores
8 minutes ago, LiterateParakeet said:

Well, you don't seem to know since you're asking us. 

I don't know what?  How to pray? or how to minister? 

I do know how to pray.  I don't have the foggiest what steps I need to take next to minister.  And I HAVE BEEN PRAYING.

LP,

I realize you're trying to help in your own way.  And I don't want to swat you for trying to help.  So, thank you for at least trying.  But if your only advice is "pray about it", well, I'm already doing that.  And I've got nothing.

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Guest LiterateParakeet
Just now, Mores said:

I don't know what?  How to pray? or how to minister? 

I do know how to pray.  I don't have the foggiest what steps I need to take next to minister.  And I HAVE BEEN PRAYING.

LP,

I realize you're trying to help in your own way.  And I don't want to swat you for trying to help.  So, thank you for at least trying.  But if your only advice is "pray about it", well, I'm already doing that.  And I've got nothing.

You are right, that I'm trying to help. I have more suggestions, but I think the give and take of advice requires trust that we don't share. No hard feelings. I hope you are able to work things out.

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Just now, LiterateParakeet said:

You are right, that I'm trying to help. I have more suggestions, but I think the give and take of advice requires trust that we don't share. No hard feelings. I hope you are able to work things out.

I'd be happy to hear more suggestions regardless of trust.  It's just that if it is something I'm already doing or have already tried... well, I don't know what else to say about that.

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1 hour ago, Mores said:

Man, it looks like you all have it easy.  All visiting with everyone who opens their arms and homes to you.

How the heck am I supposed to do that when I can barely get the time of day from active members, much less the inactive ones?

I have similar issues. Do your families have facebook accounts?  

Thanks, -Wade Enlgund-

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Guest Mores
26 minutes ago, wenglund said:

I have similar issues. Do your families have facebook accounts?  

Thanks, -Wade Enlgund-

The inactive family's mother does.  But she does not respond to me.  The other families don't have facebook accoutns.

Edited by Mores

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Guest Mores

Let me state where I'm coming from.  I was wondering if everyone was having problems as I was.  And I ended up getting all these easy-peasy success stories.  On the one hand, I am very happy for all of you that are able to have such relationships.  So, yes, I'm jealous.  On the other hand, I have to wonder, was there a struggle that preceded any of this?  Or was it all as easy as everyone is making it out to be?  Was there any trial?  If so, what did you do to overcome it?  

It sounds like everyone had assigned families that were just eager to have visits and conversations and double dates and kids play dates...  No one had to deal with families that simply didn't want to talk or visit?  Imagine how depressing?  Daunting?  (I'm not sure what word to use) that may seem for someone in my shoes.  They flat out do not want me to be their ministering brother -- or at least they seem to not care if I am ever available to help them with anything or support them or even be involved in their lives.  It's a lot like the discussion we were having about the "leavers".  That's how the active families are treating me -- but in a polite way.  What am I supposed to make of that?

And before anyone says it -- I'm not as angry in person as I often tend to be online.  My apologies and thanks to all of you who put up with me.

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Guest LiterateParakeet

Okay, one of the sisters I minister to doesn't want me to contact her.  The impression I have from my prayers is to be patient, don't give up. She is on FB, so I'm thinking of sending her an article that she might be interested in...letting her know I thought of her. With this sister, I have to gain her trust.  It's like a metaphorical butterfly.

Something I have found really helpful in getting guidance from the Lord, is first to read The Book of Mormon every day. (It really makes a difference.)  Then when I have a problem like this, I think and think and think...and I still have no idea. Then I pray about it and an idea comes to me. It seems like my own thoughts, but I know it isn't because the idea didn't come to me until I prayed. So I act on that thought with confidence that it was the Spirit. I've also found that sometimes I need to ask very specific questions. If I just say "please bless Sister Jones" that doesn't give any new insight.

I don't know what is going on with your families. There could be many reasons that don't have anything to do with you. Or maybe you need to earn their trust. Maybe they're just too busy and just don't have a testimony of Ministering. It could be a number of things. But the Lord knows what it is and what, if anything can be done. 

I hope that clarifies my intent better. When I said pray about it, I didn't mean to be patronizing. 

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28 minutes ago, Mores said:

Let me state where I'm coming from.  I was wondering if everyone was having problems as I was.  And I ended up getting all these easy-peasy success stories.  On the one hand, I am very happy for all of you that are able to have such relationships.  So, yes, I'm jealous.  On the other hand, I have to wonder, was there a struggle that preceded any of this?  Or was it all as easy as everyone is making it out to be?  Was there any trial?  If so, what did you do to overcome it?  

It sounds like everyone had assigned families that were just eager to have visits and conversations and double dates and kids play dates...  No one had to deal with families that simply didn't want to talk or visit?  Imagine how depressing?  Daunting?  (I'm not sure what word to use) that may seem for someone in my shoes.  They flat out do not want me to be their ministering brother -- or at least they seem to not care if I am ever available to help them with anything or support them or even be involved in their lives.  It's a lot like the discussion we were having about the "leavers".  That's how the active families are treating me -- but in a polite way.  What am I supposed to make of that?

And before anyone says it -- I'm not as angry in person as I often tend to be online.  My apologies and thanks to all of you who put up with me.

For what it's worth, when I could continue to visit people that I had home taught it was easy to just continue. Having had people move and having a less active companion recently replaced by my wife and getting assignments from the relief society to drive little old ladies around which wouldn't be able to get in our vehicle through all the car seats anyway... the transition hasn't gone so well at this point. I knew the old system and could simply broach the topic of, "hey I'm your home teacher, when can I come by?" but now it seems so much more awkward like I'm supposed to just naturally strike up a friendship with no clear reason to express why. I don't imagine this will be everyone's experience, but in my ward they wanted us to pick people who aren't as active as they could be and befriend them without them knowing we are ministering to them. I'm now re-assigned to someone I used to home teach but hadn't really kept in touch with since being reassigned. It's incredibly awkward to try to find reasons to spend time together without just coming out with it. It'd also be awkward to just come out with it because it could so easily appear that I only care about getting an assignment done and not the individual since we weren't in contact other than the odd encounter shopping for the last few years, but not because I don't like him or don't care, but because life is busy and we don't share common recreational pursuits and are at different life stages making visits challenging. The fact is I only visit my own family every three or four months and have friends over/visit them in their homes even less frequently than that. 

I also have heard others mention difficulty with people not making time for ministering brothers and sister because they are no longer "required" monthly and they prefer less frequent visits.

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2 hours ago, Mores said:

Let me state where I'm coming from.  I was wondering if everyone was having problems as I was.  And I ended up getting all these easy-peasy success stories.  On the one hand, I am very happy for all of you that are able to have such relationships.  So, yes, I'm jealous.  On the other hand, I have to wonder, was there a struggle that preceded any of this?  Or was it all as easy as everyone is making it out to be?  Was there any trial?  If so, what did you do to overcome it?  

It sounds like everyone had assigned families that were just eager to have visits and conversations and double dates and kids play dates...  No one had to deal with families that simply didn't want to talk or visit?  Imagine how depressing?  Daunting?  (I'm not sure what word to use) that may seem for someone in my shoes.  They flat out do not want me to be their ministering brother -- or at least they seem to not care if I am ever available to help them with anything or support them or even be involved in their lives.  It's a lot like the discussion we were having about the "leavers".  That's how the active families are treating me -- but in a polite way.  What am I supposed to make of that?

And before anyone says it -- I'm not as angry in person as I often tend to be online.  My apologies and thanks to all of you who put up with me.

Before the change to Ministering, I was assigned 3 sisters, 2 of which are mostly inactive but are pleasant to the Church, 1 of which is hostile-inactive but she was still in the ward roster so she's in the visiting route.  I was not assigned a visiting companion so I would ask anybody - usually the sister missionaries - to go visit with me.  With my can't-plan-beyond-dinner personality and the mostly-reluctance of the sisters to set up a visit, I decided to pick one day of each month for each sister as my "visit this sister" day.  Most of my visiting-teaching time is spent making trinkets relating to the visiting teaching message with my "please call me if you need anything" contact info.  I would try to call before hand but I'm always not successful so I would just cross my fingers and ring the bell.  Sometimes I get lucky and I get to talk to them through the partially open doorway.  I'd hand over the trinkets, have a few minutes of casual conversation (I can make a conversation out of anything - I can talk talk talk talk talk without much encouragement.  Hah hah.) before they shut the door in my face.  If I get lucky, the hostile sister would be home and open the door before she realizes who is on the other side.  Sometimes she'll take the trinket before slamming the door on my face.  I've asked her a few times, do you want to be removed from the Church records?  She never answers.  So I keep visiting.  Anyway, usually, nobody answers the bell and so I just leave the trinket on the doorway.

There's always these wonderful Visit Teaching stories about how, after years of receiving letters or something from a visiting teacher and ignoring them, they would be surprised by that sister calling them needing some major help - like they got kicked out of their house and they had nowhere to go and they remember this nice little letter with "call me if you need any help" notes... so they call and the ward swarms in to help and she goes to Church the next day or something... yeah.  I dream of those moments so I keep doing what I'm doing.  I never did get any phone calls or anything.  Hah hah.

Anyway, every 3 months my Visiting Coordinator asks me for a report and I always reply - 100%.  Yep.  Even when all I did was leave a trinket on some door.

That's why I've grown to like this Ministering thing.  The RS Presidency took pains to match the Ministering companions with sisters they are already friends with.

 

Edited by anatess2

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P.S.  @Mores, I don't want to sound condescending or anything... it's just something that I have learned while I was serving my father through his chemotherapy.  Sometimes, when we do some kind of service, we would make it about us instead of about them.  Like, for example, I would wake up before the cock even crows to prepare my dad's breakfast so he can take his meds.  My dad would tell me the breakfast tasted terrible or he'd say something equally mean and ungrateful.  For a while I held some resentment while making breakfast.  And then I realized... hey, this is not about me.  This is about my dad.  So what if he's mean to me.  I don't expect him to thank me or praise my efforts or do anything to make me feel good.  I should derive my happiness 100% completely on my ability and opportunity to offer and do my best to serve my father.

In the same token, ministering is not about me, it's about the sisters I minister.  So what if they slam the door on my face or not even take my trinkets.  I am just happy that I was able to have the opportunity to do something - even if it's just making trinkets nobody accepted.  At that time, I was happy to have the opportunity to think of them while making trinkets.  Anyway, maybe that perspective will help.

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I have have had mixed success and being new to the ward brought its own special challenges.

The successes..... I have a great relationship with one sister who was originally my companion and who I now minister to. Her family has had a recent change of circumstances and I have been available to help and feel honoured that she would accept help (picking up a child from school occasionally, accepting my mediocre baking) as I know she finds that difficult. It helped that I have called her as my counsellor in YW so we are serving together and finding out how much we have in common (i.e. outlook and goals).  I am also still ministering to an older sister who officially is no longer on my list, but who struggles with mobility and gardening so I offer her lifts regularly to church activities and whenever I am going to the temple and she is teaching me to garden (I am useless and she has a lovely garden that she adores). Although not assigned I also minister to a couple of new converts (our only two YSA) and drive them to institute each week as they have no transport and its about an hour away. I had not realised this was ministering until I had a conversation with RS president so we now count them as mine too as their assigned ministering sisters were not having much luck with contact. This weekly "road trip" has meant that we have had time to get to know each other and discuss the gospel, which they don't have much chance to do being the only members in their family.

The challenges....... I have a new companion, who only attends church occasionally and has no interest in getting together and is too anxious to engage with sisters they "don't really know and are so much older than them so they have nothing in common" :rolleyes:.  But I keep contacting her and figure eventually she will give in or ask the RS pres to find her someone else.  I also have one sister to minister to who attends church periodically, and is pleasant but most of our exchanges are "Hi (big smile) how are you?, great, are you coming to *insert ward event* OK see you soon". I have however found her on facebook and found that she is knitting blankets for a local hospital....so I got my knitting needles out and am just completing blanket number 2 for her to take to the local hospital for me.  I figure a large number of small positive interactions is all I can do right now.

Most importantly I don't take any interactions personally, I figure people have stuff to deal with and life is complicated. So I am friendly, even if I am not yet a friend and look for opportunities to serve in small ways and do the best I can and talk often to my Heavenly Father and ask him to accept my ministering efforts such as they are.

I am moving again soon....so will start all over again

 

Edited to correct SPAG

Edited by KScience

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First take that chip off your shoulder.  It probably affects your efforts.

I have had many types of families, including ones that did not want me there.   Nothing I could do about that.  Instead, I just do my best to be their friends.  If they reject that, that is not my problem, it is theirs.  Right now I have one family, who frankly, are quite prickly about church contact.  I just go visit every so often and see how life is going.  I am their friend.  They do not even know I am their ministering brother, because I have made a relationship with them.  That is what it is all about anyway.

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15 hours ago, Mores said:

So, I'm just wondering.  How is everyone doing on ministering?  Now that the "requirement" for visiting has been deleted, I find that no one is doing much of anything.  I can't even get an appointment with my families.  Everyone simply says,"Oh, we're ok. You don't need to visit us."  And I'm left thinking, how am I supposed to get to know them at all?  I keep trying.  But...  Of course, it doesn't matter with one family that has gone inactive.

My ministering brother tried seeing me for a couple of months.  But I was ill for a while and unable to accept visitors.  Since my recovery, he hasn't asked about me at all.

I don't really know what anyone else is doing.  What are you all doing?

Some ideas:

Invite any of the people you mentioned over to your home for dinner.

Otherwise, I've been calling, texting, visiting in their homes (haven't had a problem with that, especially with the "get to know you" purpose).

Pray for them and things will work out.

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I think the most important thing about ministering is that the family knows they can call you when they need to.  If you keep reaching out, they should get that message.  Phone calls are more personal than texts or emails and will help develop the relationship better. When you are in a conversation with them, at church, on the phone, at the store, ask open-ended, but specific, questions.  Instead of 'how are you doing? Do you need anything?' you could ask about one of the kids.  "Is John doing all right in school?"  or "What is Sally interested in these days?"  

Good luck!  It's great to hear about people who are trying to minister. :D 

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