100-Year-Old Visiting Teaching Partners Never Miss a Month

Contributed By Melanie Duffy, LDS.org Church News staff writer

  • 16 July 2014

Sister Afton Van Kampen, age 102, and Sister Alta Roskelley, age 100, have been visiting teaching partners since November of 1990. They have never missed a month.  Photo by Melanie Duffy.

Article Highlights

  • Sister Van Kampen, 102, and Sister Roskelley, 100, haven’t missed a month in all of their years of visiting teaching together.

“We are used to having other assignments besides visiting teaching, but right now that is the only ward assignment we have. We are trying to serve the Lord in any way we can.” —Alta Roskelley, Pleasant Valley 4th Ward

Visiting teaching has always been a priority for Afton Van Kampen and Alta Roskelley of the Pleasant Valley 4th Ward in the Ogden Utah Pleasant Valley Stake. These two cousins became visiting teaching partners in November of 1990 when Sister Roskelly moved to South Ogden.

Sister Van Kampen is now 102 and Sister Roskelley is 100, but they still haven’t missed a month in all of their years of visiting teaching together.

“We both feel it is an important calling,” said Sister Van Kampen. “It’s something you should do and you’ve been called to do it.”

Sister Roskelley is happy that she can still serve the Lord through visiting teaching. “We are used to having other assignments besides visiting teaching,” she said, “but right now that is the only ward assignment we have. We are trying to serve the Lord in any way we can.”

Visiting teaching and Relief Society have changed a bit over the years, the visiting teaching partners said. For example, Sister Van Kampen remembers the time during the Great Depression when members of the Relief Society were asked to donate money.

“We used to accept money,” Sister Van Kampen said. “That was how the Relief Society was able to function—by the donations that the sisters gave. It was during the Depression, and sometimes they were only able to give 10 cents.”

Sister Afton Van Kampen, age 102, and Sister Alta Roskelley, age 100, have been visiting teaching partners since November of 1990. They have never missed a month.

Despite the few changes to the organization, Sister Roskelley says that Relief Society has always had the “same purpose,” to love and serve to the best of your ability and hopefully touch people’s lives for good in some way.

This purpose has kept Sister Van Kampen and Sister Roskelley committed to visit teach, even though they have had to adapt the way they do visiting teaching as they have gotten older. For example, Sister Roskelley said that they used to visit teach five sisters, but now they are down to one. They also rely on one of their visiting teachers to help them fulfill their own assignment.  

“Now Alta has a visiting teacher who is very kind to her and helps her,” said Sister Van Kampen. “Her name is Patrice Behunin. She brings Alta and picks up the sister we visit teach and they come here. Thankfully, Patrice is helping us.”

Although they aren’t physically able to help the sister they visit teach, they are willing to help in any other way they can. Sister Van Kampen said, “At this time in our lives we said there is nothing we can do to help you physically, but if we knew you needed help we would get it for you, so use the telephone.” 

Despite their physical limitations, it is clear that the two cousins have cherished each sister they have visit taught and have tried to make a difference in her life.

“Certainly we have had lovely people to teach,” said Sister Roskelley. “We were sorry to lose the ones that we lost and hope that we’ve made some impression on those that are still here.”

Not only do Sister Van Kampen and Sister Roskelley love the women they visited over the years, they also have a deep love for each other. Both sisters expressed gratitude that they have grown very close being visiting teaching partners.

“I feel like it has been an opportunity for Afton and I to spend time together since it is hard for each of us to get out of our homes now,” said Sister Roskelley. “It has been a real joy to be with Afton.”