December is the month that everyone should be home-taught (and visit-taught). Regardless of how we perform throughout the year, we really ought to sit down with our families at least in Dec. Because it’s Christmas time. What could be more in the spirit of Christmas, than being neighborly and assessing their situation to see if there’s some way to serve them? In fact, I’ll even go as far as to make a prediction that tonight, Pres. Monson will talk about visiting people at Christmas time, and how they were helped because somebody cared enough to visit (I know, that’s a pretty safe bet).
If you’re like me, you have good intentions. You want to home/visit teach. You know it’s the right thing to do, it’s just a matter of getting it scheduled. Once it’s scheduled, I’m committed, it will happen. The hard part is getting it scheduled. I’ve always been grateful for those companions that are great at scheduling it every month. I’m happy to go and even teach the lesson. I just get so busy, the scheduling often gets forgotten or missed.Fortunately, there’s an awesome new FREE solution that makes all that simple, easy, and includes reminders to do the little bit you have to. It’s called LDSPlan. LDSPlan.com is an excellent webapp built by +Curtis Ross. It’s very well thought-out and has a nice clean layout and design. All of which makes it very easy to use, and kinda a “no brainer” if you can get the families you teach on board.
To get setup with LDSPlan, you just setup a new account, including your Stake and Ward. Then it will ask you to add the families you HT/VT. All you need to do is put in their last name and an email address that you know they check. You can also optionally put in the name and email of your companion and the person you report to each month.
The Hard Part
The hard part comes next. Its really no harder than scheduling HT/VT one month… and it is optional (if you have your teechee’s email addresses), but guarantees all future months will be a breeze: Contact your families or the ladies you teach and tell them you’re trying out this really cool new HT/VT scheduling program, and you’d like to get their email to try it with them. You should also ask: “are you okay with just scheduling the appointment via email? It’s really easy!” If they’re good with it, the hard part is done!
Now you’re ready to roll. From this part on, is what you’ll do it each month. Go to the “Home Teaching” tab then the “Scheduling” sub-tab. Put in the typical time-block you need to visit each family, and make sure to include time for travel between appointments. Now put in the times you’re available, and how many time-blocks you have at that time.
So if your time-blocks are 30 min and you’re available from 1pm – 2pm this coming Sunday, select the date, then 2 appointments at 1:00 pm. If you have more availability this month, put those below. I recommend putting in as many possible times as you can. This will make it easier to make sure everyone’s schedule’s are accommodated.
Now select the families you’d like this schedule to be sent to, and click the “Save” button at the bottom. You can also let your companion select their availability by checking the box (it will email them, calculate the best times based on responses, and let everyone know).
Home/Visiting Teaching DONE!
That’s it. Now all you have to do is wait for your families (or ladies) to respond. They get a simple email with a link. All they have to do is click the link, and select which of your available time slots they’d like to have you visit them. You’ll get another email telling you when they do. Then, after you visit them you just login and and report them as visited. Toward the end of the month, you’ll get a reminder to report to your district/VT supervisor. Once again, just login and click report. An email reporting your activity will be sent to the person you put in. It’ll also keep your past record so you can look back to see if you’ve improved. And can sync your appointments to your Google Calendar, Outlook or any that use iCal feeds.
That’s it! In future months, you’ll get a reminder to input your availability, and report at the end. That’s all there is to it. If scheduling is the issue for you, like it is for me, this literally changes everything. Plus there’s some other great features that are useful, but I’ll let you discover those.
What do you think of LDSPlan? Will you use it? Will it help?