For many years we have prayed for someone to be put in the path of our less active daughter, Lynda, to help her return to the Church. She has attended Church only sporadically ever since she left home as a young adult, and mostly not at all the past several years. She’s fifty years old, so these prayers have been going on for a long time. She has given permission to share her story in this article.

Lynda has faced some incredibly difficult challenges in her life. We won’t disclose her problems and heartaches, we’ll just say there were many, and we’re proud of her for her valiant efforts in overcoming them. After a difficult marriage, she divorced, and later married a man much older than she. He is not a member of the Church, but a good, kind man who lovingly helped her in remarkable ways and has been a good father for her daughter. Certainly he was someone the Lord blessed her with to help her and her daughter. We are so grateful for this good man.

Lynda’s Visiting Teacher

Our prayers continued daily, asking the Lord to put someone in her path who would help bring her nback to activity in the Church. Then it happened. About four years ago a faithful Latter-day Saint named Sylvia bought the condominium right above where Lynda and her husband live. A few weeks later Sylvia locked herself out of her apartment and knocked on Lynda’s door to use her phone to call her daughter who had an extra key. They hit it off at that first meeting; it was the beginning of a sweet friendship. They began walking together three times a week, which led to conversations about the gospel. Sylvia was assigned to be Lynda’s visiting teacher. She has been the most loving, caring, and patient friend Lynda has ever had. She didn’t push her, she just cared about her.

Sylvia would invite Lynda to go to Church with her, but she always had an excuse. This caring visiting teacher did not give up. The kindness and love she has shown Lynda through these past years has been never ending. They became true friends, best friends. Lynda loves her like she’s never loved any friend before. Sylvia’s invitations to go to church with her continued, as did Lynda’s excuses. In fact, Lynda said, “She called me the Queen of Excuses.”

Then one Sunday morning Lynda got ready for church and was waiting outside her door when Sylvia was leaving for church. She said, “Finally I decided I ought to go at least once because she had been so nice to me.” That was the beginning of Lynda coming back. Sylvia didn’t stop inviting. Lynda didn’t go every time, and even stopped for a time, but Sylvia didn’t stop inviting her, and never stopped being her friend.

This loving visiting teacher began reading the Book of Mormon with Lynda and encouraged her to read it on her own. Along with her monthly visits, she shared gospel principles with her on their walks. She cares deeply about Lynda’s daughter and her little granddaughter. She set up play times for her granddaughter and Lynda’s to play together. She’s brought homemade soup when Lynda has been sick, and has been helpful when her husband has been ill.

For the past several years we have done many things to encourage Lynda into Church activity, including taking her with us to the Draper Temple open house. At appropriate times we would tell her of our dream to have her attending the temple with us. She would only say, “Maybe someday.” As it turns out, Sylvia is serving as an ordinance worker in that very temple now and tells Lynda of the peace and joy she feels there.

Thanks to Sylvia’s determination and love, Lynda is now attending Church with her every Sunday. At first she would only attend sacrament meeting, but now she stays for all three meetings. A couple of weeks ago Lynda called us and said, “I want to tell you what happened at Church today.” We were all ears. She said, “It was our ward conference and the stake Relief Society president taught the lesson in Relief Society. It was all about temples, and I had the most peaceful feeling come over me as she spoke. Mom and Dad, I want to go to the temple.” We were thrilled to hear these words. She said the bishop was attending Relief Society that day and after the meeting came to her and told her how happy he was that she was there. She told the bishop of her desire and he said, “Good, then let’s get started.” Bless him!

Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude for a dedicated visiting teacher who loves and never ceases to care about the salvation of our precious daughter. The Lord answered our prayers and put an angel in our daughter’s path, along with a good and loving bishop.

Carol’s Visiting Teacher

We have another daughter, Carol, who lives in California. We’ve written a little about her before. She’s our daughter with mental disabilities. Several years ago she was married in the temple to a man who had similar disabilities, but less than she. They moved to California because the weather was much easier for them to navigate. It was a good move for them, but we worried about them being so far away.

Then our worries were compounded when, after fourteen years of marriage, he passed away in his sleep. It was a difficult time for Carol and we thought about bringing her back home near us, but she likes California and didn’t want to leave. Also, California has excellent programs for the disabled, and her case workers recommended we not relocate her. However, the most convincing factor in our feeling peaceful about leaving her there was her visiting teacher, Phyllis. Carol loves Phyllis. In fact, she is the only person we’ve known who somehow knows exactly how to comfort and help Carol. She is never offended by her outburst and misbehavior, just constant in her love and is always there for her.

Phyllis goes beyond the call of duty. She picks her up for church every Sunday, invites her to her home often to be with her family, who also treat Carol with love and respect. Phyllis has been there when she’s been hospitalized, been there to encourage her when she has had a seizure, helped her grocery shop when case workers were not available, and on it goes.

When we were visiting there recently we told Phyllis how deeply grateful we are for the loving concern she shows our daughter. She said, “Oh, you don’t have to thank me. I love Carol. She’s my friend.” She also has good, kind home teachers who would do anything for her. But it is Phyllis who truly understands her on a woman’s level and reaches right into her heart with loving arms. We are so blessed to have this amazing visiting teacher in our daughter’s life, who requests to stay assigned to her year after year. She, too, is an angel.

To All Visiting Teachers

Through the years, I too, have been blessed with caring visiting teachers, for whom I am deeply grateful. But somehow, having the blessing of two such outstanding visiting teachers for our daughters warms our hearts more than anything. We continually thank the Lord for putting these wonderful, caring, diligent women in the paths of our daughters.

What a blessing!   It makes us look at our own visiting teaching and home teaching responsibilities and hope we are doing what we need to be doing. Those who are serving our daughters have given us all a beautiful example to follow.

Sister Barbara Thompson, former counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency said, “The beauty of visiting teaching is not to see 100 percent on the monthly report; 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.” (Gen. Relief Society Meeting, Sept. 2010)

How thankful we are for visiting teachers who have caught this vision, whose service has wiped away the tears of our daughters, changed their lives, and whose testimonies have blessed them beyond what we could accomplish as their parents. For this we will be eternally grateful.

This article is not only an expression of gratitude for the dedicated visiting teachers who bless the lives of our daughters, but it is an extended thank you to all of you who serve the sisters in your charge so diligently. You may well be the answer to a mother’s and father’s prayer, who seek the Lord’s help for their children. May God bless you all for your dedication and service. And that goes to all the wonderful home teachers who have blessed our family through the years. That’s a whole other subject worthy of equal expression and gratitude, but for today, we pay tribute to visiting teachers.  

If you have a visiting teaching or home teaching story to share please do so in the comments section of this article. We can all learn from each other.

Gary Lundberg, a marriage and family therapist, and his wife, Joy, are authors of books on creating happy family relationships. For more information visit their website