He was our Home Teacher [someone assigned by the leaders in our congregation to visit our family once a month, assess our needs, offer assistance if needed], but we didn’t even know he had been assigned to us until about 6 months after we had been in the new congregation (in the Mormon faith, we call it the “ward’). The only time he and his teenage son visited was after Jeff saw him in the hall at church and mentioned we were free that afternoon. We wrote him off as a nice enough guy but a complete slacker. In fact, he was the worst home teacher we had ever had.
In the mean time, we were going through one of the most stressful times of our lives. With a business that was going the way of the failing economy, we spent much time praying and agonizing about what to do. Eventually, we decided to sell the business. It was excruciating to sign the papers, thereby sealing in a colossal financial loss and closing the door on Jeff’s dream of small business ownership. After signing the papers, Jeff went back to the office, our large outstanding business loan weighing heavily on his mind.
Minutes later, our Slacker Home Teacher walked into Jeff’s office. They talked for a long time. Unbeknownst to us, this man had been through his own difficult time. The bank he worked for had folded, leaving him not only jobless but also with unwarranted allegations of wrongdoing swirling around him.
He hadn’t been able to sleep the night before. Not because of his own struggles, but because he felt guilty for not being a better home teacher. He had felt overwhelmingly compelled to visit Jeff at work that day.
He had no idea what had just transpired.
Jeff’s biggest immediate need was to figure out how to negotiate with the bank on his business loan. Our home teacher had been the person at his former bank who handled small business loan negotiations . He, more than anyone else in the ward or stake, knew exactly what Jeff needed to do.
Not knowing him well, we would have had no idea to even ask him.
During the next several months, our Slacker Home Teacher and his wife did the following for our family. Most of this was after Jeff had already started working in Dallas and I was left to put the house on the market and handle the kids on my own.
- Replaced two sets of blinds, a broken light fixture, cracked glass, and repaired drywall & door hinges
- Brought dinner for me and the kids on more than one occasion
- Shoveled our snow and took out our bulk trash
- Bought , delivered, and installed a replacement battery for my van
- Picked up my van, dropped it off to have it serviced, and brought it back at the end of the day
- Offered to babysit the younger kids when I had to be at the church on a Wednesday night with the older ones
- Was out of town when we actually moved, but completely organized cleaning, packing, and moving crews for the move
A few things said in the General Relief Society Broadcast [a meeting broadcasted from Church headquarters for all of the women in the church] last week really hit home to me.
The first was President Monson quoting Mother Teresa,
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
This is exactly what we had initially done to our home teacher.
The second was by Barbara Thompson when she spoke of visiting teaching [the female equivalent of home teaching]:
“The beauty of visiting teaching is seeing lives changed, tears wiped away, testimonies growing, people loved, families strengthened, people cheered, the hungry fed, the sick visited, and those who are mourning comforted.
This is exactly what our home teacher did for us.
In fact, he was the best home teacher we have ever had.