Rita Jeppeson and her visiting teacher have become good friends as they meet and share gospel conversations. But their visits also include playing word games together, which helps Rita’s aging mind stay sharp. Because her visiting teacher has learned what Rita needs and enjoys, they both look forward to each visit. Rita knows that they are friends and that the visit is not just an obligation. There are so many things sisters can do during a visit, such as taking a walk together or helping a sister with her chores.
Lucy Mack Smith, mother of the Prophet Joseph Smith, expressed her feelings in 1842 about how Latter-day Saint sisters in the newly established Relief Society should feel about one another. She said, “We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction, that we may all sit down in heaven together.”1 This is still true today.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “See yourselves as emissaries of the Lord to His children. … We would hope … that you will establish an era of genuine, gospel-oriented concern for the members, watching over and caring for each other, addressing spiritual and temporal needs in any way that helps.”2
The Lord through Moses commanded the children of Israel that “the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love [her] as thyself” (Leviticus 19:34). The sisters we visit may be “strangers” as we begin our service, but as we get to know her and her family, our desire will increase to “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light” and have our “hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another” (Mosiah 18:8, 21).