However, a block away from the church is a four-way stop. As I pulled to a stop to allow a car to pass, I heard a voice in my head saying, “Scott, what is it going to hurt you to do your home teaching?” I sat there dumfounded. I could argue with the high councilor, but I couldn’t argue with the Spirit. And the more I thought about that prompting the stronger I felt that it was the right thing to do. I had to repent and do my home teaching.
I don’t think that I have performed any great miracles as a home teacher, and I don’t know if I’ve made any great impact on anyone’s life. But I can testify to you that home teaching has had a miraculous effect on my life and that it has been a blessing to me and to my family. It has made me more compassionate. It has made me more patient and long-suffering. It has made me think about others outside my family.
Last year my principal walked into my class before school started, and handed me a card, a bag of chips, and a soft drink. On the card was written: “In a world of chaos, you provided calm for someone.” She didn’t tell me whose life I had touched; I had been “reported” anonymously. I don’t know if it had been a student or an adult. I’m sure that I thought it was no big deal, whatever I had done. But I had blessed someone’s life, somehow.
Home teaching is like that. There are many wonderful things that will never be done, if we do not do them. I currently home teach ten families. My elders’ quorum president and my high priests’ group leader have tried, unsuccessfully, to lighten my load and take some of those families and reassign them, but I won’t let them. I have come to love the families I home teach.
It is not always easy for me to get into their homes. There are times when I don’t visit all ten, but it is never for a lack of trying. And there are a multitude of ways that we can be of service.
Many years ago I home taught a sister who was married to a Jewish man. He had had a series of strokes and couldn’t drive. As Rosh Hashanah was approaching, I called and asked if I could take him to synagogue since he had no other way to go. So the two of us drove to The Woodlands on a Friday evening, and enjoyed a wonderful evening together. He introduced me to everyone as his “Mormon friend.” He explained that I had driven him since he couldn’t drive. This caused many raised eyebrows, nods of approval, and the comment that I had done a great mitzvah, or good work. On the way home he talked to me of how much he had always wanted to be a good Jew, and I shared my testimony to him of how glad I was that I was LDS, and how my life had been blessed.
I am far from being an ideal home teacher, but I have a testimony of home teaching. It is our opportunity to minister to the sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. It is our chance to man the rescue boats, as President Monson mentioned, and go out to those who are struggling on the storm-tossed seas of life. And in so doing, we lose ourselves in the work of the Lord and become, as Obadiah wrote, “saviors on Mount Zion.”
Scott Bumbaugh teaches high school German at Huntsville High School in Huntsville, TX, where he also serves as bishop of the Huntsville 1st ward. He served a full-time mission for the Church to Japan Kobe, and upon his return earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Sam Houston State University. He is married to Loretha and they are parents to two sons and two daughters in-law.