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    From my own experience, I found the following things helpful in setting up appointments early enough in the month to allow me to reschedule within the same month should one of my appointments fall through.

  1.     First of all, I have found it helpful, obviously, to set up the appointments either within the first two or three days of the month, or even the last week of the previous month.

  2.     Secondly, I have found that many people - when their hometeachers phone to set up the appointments - attempt to make it usually about a week from that time. I try (and found this to be about 92% effective) to set up the appointment for either the next day, two, or three. Most people are willing to do it that way, and, in fact, when I've phoned farther in the future, they tend to view their immediate upcoming plans in setting up an appropriate time rather than the couple of weeks following.

  3.     In changing appointments that are already at the end of the month (after all, who wants to make a second appointment for the following week), so that I can meet with them closer to the beginning of the month, I have found it useful to schedule the next appointment three weeks from the previous one. We are only told to at least meet with our families monthly - no where does it say it has to be done every four weeks. Not only does this bring us to the beginning of the month in about three months, but by the time three weeks go by, most people don't remember when I came by the month before anyhow unless they look at their calendar.

  4.     Finally, another thing I have found to be of great importance is to set up the appointment for the following month while I am still at the current appointment. While I'm at it, it has been useful (if possible) to create a specific time every month (ie. the first Thursday) to come by for our visit. This way, it not only allows me to know when I'm coming by (which saves on stressful scheduling each month), but it gives me more prompting to get out each month to see my families, which in turn keeps the Elders Quorum President off my back :^)
Kim Siever, Elders Quorum President, Surrey First Ward
Surrey British Columbia Stake, Canada

    Schedule Appointments as far in advance as possible, and if possible on the same day each month (i.e. the first Tuesday) Then not only you but the families you visit will know when you are coming and other events can be scheduled around your night with them.

Harry House
, Executive Secretary, Beaufort South Carolina Ward
Savannah Georgia Stake, USA

    When I first began home teaching, I frequently found myself running out of time and scrambling near the end of the month. It seemed to happen every month. Then I realized the problem. It wasn't priorities, per se. It was just that I thought of Home Teaching as a monthly task, because I was expected to report on my progress monthly. I changed my way of thinking, and considered Home Teaching to be a weekly task.  Since I made that simple change, I have rarely missed a visit. Each Sunday I take time to review all my families, and make plans for that week, and phone calls.  As a result, I have found that I am spending 4 times the amount of focus on Home Teaching than I would If I did this only monthly.

Larry Summers, Assistant to High Priests Group Leader,
Livermore Second Ward, Livermore California Stake, USA

    Not every visit has to be the traditional one.  It is important to visit the home to feel the spirit there and to look for any temporal needs. However be experimental a few times a year.   Go to a ball park together, out to dinner,  or to a concert.   Show the family that they are part of your "social circle".   Invite them to your house for dinner or a party.

Gary Kibble, Elders Quorum President,
Yorktown Ward, Yorktown New York Stake, USA

    I have a hard time making appointments with the Sisters I visit as I don't like to be on the phone and just do it. SO... I like to work with the graphics on the computer so I made cards to send to the Sisters with a time that would be convenient for me, and usually will meet their schedule. Then in my calendar I write the date and times I have scheduled. I also write 2 days prior to the day a note for me to call and verify the appointment. I also make a card for the Visiting Teaching co-ordinator so that I can mail her the report when I am completely done. This has worked great for me.

Cheryl Smith, Visiting Teacher,
Morada Ward, Stockton California Stake, USA

    The months when my companion and I have had the highest success rates home teaching (meaning simply visiting all of our families at least once per month), is when he would tell me in advance which days that month he could home teach. He is a student, and had days of the month that he could not home teach, due to studying for finals, etc. Myself, not being in school, had certain days of the week that I could home teach, and others that I could not normally home teach, due to other weekly commitments. Armed with this knowledge, I was able to set up appointments with our families, knowing that there was a really good chance that we could actually home teach them which ever night we chose. Without that knowledge, I would always think, "I need to set up an appointment with them, but let me talk to my companion first, and see when is good for him."

    It really doesn't matter who has what type of schedule; what matters is that you communicate it with your companion, so that one of you is informed enough to set up a tentative appointment. If that day turns out to be bad, you can actually change it, but if you never set the appointment in the first place, you will never get into the house. Taking turns setting up the appointment is nice, but getting it done is the important part.

Andrew Calhoun, Elders Quorum President,
Irving 1st Ward, Dallas Texas Stake, USA