Home Teaching the Single Sister

By Salli Hollenzer

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Struggling to raise my children without a husband, I appreciated the service home teachers willingly offered.

As members of the Church, we can enrich each other’s lives in countless ways. Through home teaching, priesthood holders are granted many occasions to reach out to others on a personal level, to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5).

Home teachers have a special ability to bless the lives of single sisters, who may not have the influence of the priesthood in their homes. These sisters can benefit greatly from the care and guidance of faithful priesthood holders who fulfill their home teaching responsibilities.

From my experience as a single sister, I would like to share several ways home teachers can influence the spirit and welfare of a single mother’s home.

  1. Home teachers should be faithful and caring in their visits. One man who served as our home teacher during the years I was single had also been our home teacher before my divorce. This gave me continuity through a challenging time. This continuity also allowed him and his companion to become familiar with my situation, in turn allowing them to respond better to my family’s needs.

  2. As a home teacher, show your concern by maintaining consistent contact through visits and phone calls. I knew my home teachers cared about my children and me because of their regular appointments and frequent requests to help.

  3. A home teacher should be careful not to visit a single sister without a companion.

  4. Find ways to support the children of a single mother. My home teachers took a special interest in my sons and invited them on family outings. They also included them in their personal recreation, such as outdoor excursions and rocket launching; ward service projects; and priesthood broadcasts.

  5. Be aware of events in a single sister’s life and offer priesthood blessings when prompted by the Spirit or when requested. At one point I served on a jury that issued a death penalty sentence. Concerned about how this experience was affecting me, my home teachers came to my home and gave me a priesthood blessing.

  6. Draw your wife into your relationship as a home teacher to a single woman. Our long-term home teacher and his wife invited my sons and me to dinner in their home on many occasions. In this environment our family felt accepted and cared for.

  7. Assist in home repair projects. My home teachers always asked me if there was a project they could help with around the house. They asked about household maintenance jobs they realized we might not think about, such as turning off the outside water during the winter, maintaining the furnace, or clearing out the storm gutters. They even tried to teach my sons these skills while doing the jobs for us.

  8. Thoughtfully prepare lessons for scheduled visits, and bring a positive spirit to the single sister’s home. My home teachers shared messages that applied to us, and they also put a lot of creativity into their lessons, which made it enjoyable for everyone. They showed that they were happy to spend time with our family, and they drew attention to the positive experiences that were happening in our lives.

Now that I have remarried and progressed to another season of my life, I look back on my days as a single sister and realize that my home teachers were one of the key factors in making that period in my life a positive time. I will always be grateful for their friendship and influence on our family. They were truly the Lord’s hands in strengthening our family during challenging years.

A Sacred Calling

President Ezra Taft Benson

“Home teaching is not just another program. It is the priesthood way of watching over the Saints and accomplishing the mission of the Church. Home teaching is not just an assignment. It is a sacred calling. Home teaching is not to be undertaken casually. A home teaching call is to be accepted as if extended to you personally by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Savior Himself was a teacher. The only perfect man to walk the face of the earth was a humble, dedicated, inspired teacher who brought to His followers salvation and exaltation.”
President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994), “To the Home Teachers of the Church,” Ensign, May 1987, 48.

Photographs by Steve Bunderson, posed by models