A post by Speckles over at FMH contained this paragraph that got me to reminiscing a bit:
Since there were all females in my family, we did not have access to the priesthood in our home. We did eventually get an amazing home teacher who we could call on when needed, but this came later than it should have (when the bishop of our ward finally realized that we needed some extra support), and we often felt guilty for inconveniencing him and his family. We were not allowed to have the missionaries in our home, since there were no other males present. It always seemed strange to me that a family like ours, who already did not have any priesthood access, and could have benefited greatly from having a priesthood presence from time to time, was denied this experience simply because my mother bore no sons.
Even though technically I’m an Elder, I’m in the HP HTing system, so of my three assignments two are single women. Since my assigned companion is not really on board with the HTing thing, I feel as though my hands are tied. I minister to these women as I can at the church building (I recently gave one a blessing there at her request), but I’ve never been to either of their homes.
But there was a time when I essentially home taught a single woman repeatedly in her home mostly on my own. My actions were I suppose against church policy, but I didn’t care at the time and I don’t regret them today.
This young family had moved into our ward, a husband, wife and three children. The husband was mostly inactive, but he really liked my SS class and requested that I be assigned as his HTer, which I was. We became friends, and we even took a German class together at our local community college. My main interaction with the family was through the husband and father. At that time my son was my companion, but he worked after school and was rarely available, so I would often just go over by myself to do the visit. They only lived a couple of blocks away.
Then one day he unexpectedly died of a heart attack. He was only like 30 years old. All of a sudden I found myself with some serious responsibility for a brand new widow and her three children.
This was very difficult at first. This woman was from another country and not a U.S. citizen. She was scared, in almost a feral way. I still remember her at the hospital embracing her husband’s dead body, repeatedly wailing “What will become of us?” It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to witness. Things were also complicated because my relationship with the family had really been mostly with him; I didn’t have much of a relationship with the wife at that time.
But she needed help, so I was there a lot over the ensuing months. As was her VTer and, more occasionally, the bishop. (One time the bishop came over–by himself as well–and I was there, assembling a set of bunk beds for the kids. If he thought there was anything wrong with my being there without a companion, he never said anything to me about it.
Trust me, there were no Ensign lessons involved in these visits. We were trying to ensure the survival of this little family, and in my judgment this was no time to stand upon Church policy. (This woman was [and is] extraordinarily beautiful, but we were never truly alone, as her children were always with us.) Among many, many other tasks, I probated the husband’s estate pro bono, saving her thousands of dollars that she just didn’t have.
Eventually she regained her bearings. His parents came out and helped this little family move to Provo (my son and I drove them out in their Expedition). That was a long time ago. She is now happily remarried, with a couple of more children with her new husband (a great guy). I still visit the family whenever I get to Provo.
I know in theory I could have tried to get other guys to go with me. But the needs were too great and too insistent for me to have to dig up people who were willing, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. So while this will never be held up as a model of proper priesthood behavior in Church, I’m comfortable with it, and if put in the same situation I’d do it all over again. To be honest, that was the only time in my Church life that being a home teacher really felt meaningful to me, when my actions and commitment to that little family were necessary to their survival.