Sunday, November 18, 2012

November Visiting Teaching: The Excitement of Changing Times

I have a unique visiting teaching route.  All of the women I visit teach have asked to not have any contact from the church, but have agreed to allow a visiting teacher to send them mail each month.  I have almost always had a route of "mail contact only" sisters, even when I have also had a VT route with a companion, visiting sisters who are willing to allow visiting teachers into their homes.  The needs of sisters who are on a "mail route" have different needs than those who are active, and I often find that I spend much more time thinking and praying for those sisters.

Seeking the Lord's Guidance
Occasionally I feel prompted to send the official church visiting teaching message.  More often, I send all of the sisters something that is personalized to them.  This month I wrote personal notes and cards to each sister, but I included print outs of the following links, along with the personal notes. 

If you haven't been visited by your visiting teacher, or want an idea of something to share with the sisters that you visit, you might consider sharing something from these links.  For each one I will pull out a couple of quotes that I highlighted on the print outs.


Two of the most significant changes to LDS culture, and how we teach LDS doctrine happened at October conference.  The new missionary ages got a lot of attention, but the changes to the YM/YW curriculum seem even more important to me.  You can read my initial thoughts about those changes here. A few highlights:

"The YW leaders I know, including my mom, are THRILLED with the new curriculum. My mom is one of the best "not-angry feminists," and devoted church members I know. She lives her life as a feminist, as a day-to-day part of who she is, and right now she is a YW president! She is the one who taught me to be a feminist and a radical Christian/Mormon liberal, while still working from my role and position, to make meaningful change in the areas I can influence, and letting go of the fact that there are areas we personally can't influence right now. Her basic and straightforward joy at having better teaching materials to serve the YW of her ward are a simple anthem that I hope will be embraced by more women, and men, who want to see the roles of men and women to keep moving forward."
 
"This new curriculum not only brings the programs for YM and YW in line, but also allows for a much higher level of flexibility for teachers to meet the specific needs of their class members. It is not quite anti-correlation, but there is some of that in the flexibility of the program, and its emphasis on young men and young women playing a much more active role in teaching one another." 
 "This will impact EVERY youth, EVERY Sunday, for SIX years of their lives!"

I also included the prophet's announcement.  I highlighted the portion dealing with the decision to allow young women to start going on missions at age 19, instead of waiting until they reach the age of 21.
"As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.
 
We affirm that missionary work is a priesthood duty—and we encourage all young men who are worthy and who are physically able and mentally capable to respond to the call to serve. Many young women also serve, but they are not under the same mandate to serve as are the young men. We assure the young sisters of the Church, however, that they make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome their service."

The last thing I included was the FAQ about the changes in curriculum, which answers a lot of basic questions about how implementation of the new curriculum will be handled.  The entire link has great information, but here are a couple of questions that I thought were most interesting.

"How will Come, Follow Me change the way I prepare and teach?The learning outlines in Come, Follow Me do not prescribe everything you should say and do in class. Instead, they suggest scriptures and other resources to help you learn the doctrine for yourself, followed by a few ideas for you to choose from to help the youth discover the doctrine for themselves. Teaching in this way is not a lecture but a conversation guided by the Spirit. Youth will be invited to participate in learning and teaching more than ever before."
 
"How can Come, Follow Me help me as a parent?
Come, Follow Me invites youth to share with their families what they are learning. As you give your children opportunities to do so, their faith, testimony, and ability to share the gospel will grow.
You can also reach out to teachers and leaders to help them better understand the needs of your children so they can tailor the lessons to these needs.
Videos for youth and parents are available on lds.org/youth/learn.

How can Come, Follow Me help me as an Aaronic Priesthood holder or a young woman?
Come, Follow Me invites you to take personal responsibility for learning—by coming to class prepared to learn, searching the scriptures and words of the prophets, asking questions, teaching and explaining gospel truths to your peers and family, and sharing how the gospel is influencing your life.
Your testimony will grow stronger as you act on what you learn and establish righteous habits, including personal prayer and scripture study, living the standards of the Church, and inviting others to live the gospel through word and example.
You can find
videos that introduce youth to Come, Follow Me on lds.org/youth/learn."
 
 "How can Com​e, Follow Me be tied to Mutual?Leaders are encouraged to plan Mutual activities related to the monthly doctrinal topics in Come, Follow Me. These activities can give the youth opportunities to apply the things they learn on Sunday. In some cases, suggested activities in the learning outlines can be appropriate for Mutual."
 
 I hope that the things I included in the letters I sent to the sisters I visit teach are useful to you, and/or those you visit or home teach!

Don't forget it is NaBloPoMo! To find other bloggers who are participating, you can go here!

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