Visiting Teaching astounds me. It's purpose I understand (emphasis added by me):
"One of the ways Relief Society sisters can feed His sheep is through visiting teaching. “The purposes of visiting teaching are to build caring relationships with each sister and to offer support, comfort, and friendship.” To accomplish those purposes, visiting teachers should:
1. Visit each assigned sister regularly (where feasible, in her home every month).
2. “Learn of the spiritual and temporal needs of the sister and her family.”
3. “Offer appropriate assistance.”
4. “Give spiritual instruction through a monthly message."
Silvia H. Allred, “Feed My Sheep,” Liahona, Nov 2007, 113–15
However, I can never seem to understand the actual actions that take place. We are told that we are supposed to "build caring relationships with each sister and to offer support, comfort, and friendship" correct? Then why does the "spiritual intruction," although listed last, seem to take first priority?
We are supposed to visit each other, become a loving part of each others life. Take care of each other. You cannot take care of each other without being their friend. It is absolutely not possible. I will be the first to declare that I do not tell my visiting teachers anything. They, although welcome in my home, aren't my friends. They don't know me nor do they want to. They come to teach me a lesson and get the check next to my name on the records that my VT is complete for the month. I noticed that this is how my own companion works as well.
Now what is the most effective way to break the cycle? I have been in my ward for 1.5 years, so not very long. I have gained friendships in a couple of unpredictable settings. But I haven't been able to make friends with those I visit teach; let alone my companion.
So, when I have a companion that is solely determined to teach a lesson without becoming friends with me or the people we teach how do we go about bringing sisters the support I am sure they need?