Home Teaching—in Reverse

We were surprised and amused when our bedridden home teacher asked us to drive to his house so he could visit us.

It had only been a couple of weeks since Woody Haycock’s surgery, so I was surprised to hear his voice on the telephone. “I can’t drive yet,” he explained, “so I won’t be able to come over to do my home teaching.” I knew that Woody, who came faithfully every month and maintained a 100 percent record for seeing his families, would find it hard to skip a month.

“Don’t worry about us,” I said, hoping to make him feel better. “We’re fine.”

The words barely left my mouth when our home teacher gave a swift and heartfelt reply: “But I do worry about you! That’s my job. I’m your home teacher.” Woody went on to ask about our family and to comment on a photograph and interview of our son he had seen in our town’s newspaper.

We chatted awhile about the children, and I figured he had done his best, considering the circumstances, to contact us and would see us the following month. Before I could voice these thoughts, Woody said, “You know, you could come to my house so I could visit you here.” I started to chuckle, but when he suggested we call before we came, I realized he was serious.

We gathered the children and went to Woody’s house. After we were seated, he assured our children that some of the candy in the bowl on the table was to go home with them. He went on to tell an inspirational story of how a priesthood blessing had saved the life of his infant son. Then Woody bore his testimony.

After the lesson, Woody took time to show special interest in each of our children. He read what each had written on a homemade card we had brought him. Then he satisfied the curiosity of our little children by demonstrating the strange contraption (a brace) he had to use to make his hand work. After Woody had the kids laughing with his jokes, we indicated it was time for us to leave. But first our home teacher gathered us together for prayer.

As we were leaving, Woody’s wife quietly said, “Thank you so much for coming. Woody takes his home teaching very seriously.”

Even though Woody has since passed away, we know that he really cared about our family. His 100 percent concern for our well-being came before the 100 percent he reported to the high priests group leader each month. He showed his sincere interest for each family member by preparing special messages and by offering a prayer and leaving a blessing on our home at the conclusion of his visits. It meant a lot to know that if Woody couldn’t come to our home, he still cared enough to ask us to come to him. Over time he became much more than just a 100 percent home teacher: he became our 100 percent special friend.

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth M. Whittaker

Gail Davis Poyner serves as Laurel class adviser in the Choctaw Ward, Oklahoma City Oklahoma South Stake.