I’ve got two families that don’t seem to want home teachers to come. They tell me we can set something up when I see them in person.Yet never respond to texts or phone calls, And when I just stop by they are always busy and never invite us in. I am frustrated because I want them to enjoy the blessings of home teaching and I feel by their behavior I am losing out on blessings as well. What should I do?
I commend your for your effort to be a good home teacher and serve the Lord.
Pres. Monson had some counsel that could be helpful here:
Abraham Lincoln offered this wise counsel, which surely applies to home teachers: “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.” President Ezra Taft Benson urged: “Above all, be a genuine friend to the individuals and families you teach.”
As the Savior declared to us, “I will call you friends, for you are my friends.” A friend makes more than a dutiful visit each month. A friend is more concerned about helping people than getting credit. A friend cares. A friend loves. A friend listens. And a friend reaches out.
The first step in being a friend to these families may be to appreciate that they do not have a testimony of home teaching. They may not be interested in religion at all, or may be attending another church. From their point of view, they have no need of your visits. Being a friend means trying to understand where they are coming from.
Next, you need to try to build a relationship of trust. Let them know that you want to get to know them and will accept them as they are. I know you want to teach them a lesson and see them return to church, but suppose for a moment you are a football fan. How likely would you be to invite someone into your home who just wants to talk to you about the opera? On the other hand, if you have a FRIEND, who happens to like the opera, you would likely invite them over and even let them talk about the opera-a little.
How to you become a friend to someone who is avoiding you? It’s not easy, and it will take time and patience. The most important thing to do is pray and ask the Lord how to become their friend. He knows them, and loves them. He can guide you. He might inspire you to take them cookies, veggies from your garden, or potted flowers for their garden. Perhaps you will feel prompted to send a friendly letter monthly, or offer to mow their lawn, shovel their driveway etc.
Human nature is such that if they perceive you to be someone who genuinely cares about them, rather than someone who is fulfilling a role, they will likely return the gesture of friendship. There is a couple in my ward who treated their home teacher much as you describe. He persisted though and eventually they started letting him in. He became their friend. The wife also had wonderful visiting teachers that did the same. Eventually strong friendships were formed, and when the couple was ready, they began to attend church. Recently they were sealed in the temple.
Not all of these stories have picture perfect endings like this. Some people will never return or even let you in the door regardless of what you do–be their friend anyway. The Lord will not judge you on whether or not your home teaching families come to church, what He is concerned with is how you serve Him by loving them. Just love them to the best of your ability and the Lord will be pleased with your efforts.
Beat of luck,