The Obstacles and Opportunities of Visitation

Purpose of Visitation:

To get to know the background of each student so that we can identify with them.

Types of Visitation:

1. Casual Visitation (Getting to know the family).

2. Follow-up Visitation (Witnessing)

3. Crisis Visitation (eg. sickness, family problems).

The Obstacles and Questions:

1. Time: Finding a suitable time to visit a home is not easy. Often the family members are at work or school.

2. Place: A home may not be suitable if parents are against Christianity.

3. Language: A family may not be speaking English or Mandarin. Dialects are often used.

4. Acceptance: Most family members are wary of Church people. They may avoid meeting us.

5. Objections: Statements such as “Christians are hypocrites.” And “All religions are the same.”

6. Scriptures: Should we read Bible passages?

7. Prayers: When and where should we pray with them?

8. Follow up: Subsequent visit may be difficult to arrange. Family members may not want to see us again.

9. Invitation: Should we invite them to the Church meetings?

10. Referral: Who should we refer to if there is a difficulty or need?

The Opportunities and Solutions:

1. Night visitations (7 to 9 pm) are suitable for working members. Morning (10.00 to 11.30 am) or afternoon (2 to 4 pm) visitations are suitable for housewives and students. The first casual visit is usually acceptable if we make known to them, that we are friends of their children or we are visiting the sick.

2. The moment we step into a house, we should make a mental picture of its set-up:

– Are there any ancestral tablet?

– How many people are in the room?

– Is it noisy – TV/Radio on, Children playing, arguments…..?

– If there are objections from parents, it may be more suitable to meet outside the home e.g. Church.

3. If there are dialects used, it is helpful to have an older person who can speak a few dialects with you. It is more effective to speak in their own dialect(s).

4. Your first words are important. Acknowledge each person as you enter the home. Let the member introduce you to his/her elders. The purpose of your visit can be mentioned. The right topics should be striked e.g.

– “How many children do you have? This is no. …?”

– “Oh, you are watching this programme. How do you like it?”

5. Try to avoid objections with answers such as, “Yes, I agree with you. Some Christians have not so good testimonies. However, I know of…..”

6. Usually the Bible is not read on the 1st/2nd visit, unless the purpose is to witness to them. A short passage is usually read to the sick.

7. If our purpose is to talk to a particular member, a corner of the house or a room may be an ideal place for prayers. It is good to end a visit with prayers.

8. Depending on each case, subsequent visits may be necessary. It is advisable to let the family members know that we would like to visit them again, to give some literature or to bring another person along.

9. At the appropriate time, we should invite them to the Church meetings. We can leave behind a card with the Church meeting times, address and telephone number.

10. Each case is confidential and personal. Casual visits are usually done during Sunday School Visitation Day. If there is a particular need (e.g. sickness), then it should be referred to the Church elders/deacons/full-time workers.