You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2009.

 (US-DC, 27 August)

A report (slightly edited) that sets out the path to and delineates the processes involved in establishing the new pattern of community life that the institute courses are seeking to build.  

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Bulls Eye in DC

A report from Washington, DC (A-stage cluster): THIS IS WHAT THE FIVE YEAR PLAN IS ALL ABOUT—raising up and empowering human resources.

Ms.__ is a new believer who declared her Faith in March of this year during a neighborhood teaching effort. She has completed Book 1 and is in the middle of studying Book 2, Arising to Serve. I have been working with her as the tutor.

In the course of studying Book 2, Ms.__ gave a presentation on the deepening theme about the Eternal Covenant to a group of Book 1 study circle participants, several of whom are seekers. Before doing so, we had practiced several times going over the presentation until she felt comfortable with the content and progression of ideas. Although she said she felt a little nervous in front of the group, she made a clear presentation and felt very happy about it.

Afterwards, she was encouraged that the next step in doing the practice of Book 2 is to present the deepening theme in a more conversational manner in the home of new believers or those who are interested in the Faith. An opportunity to do this soon came up, since there are people waiting to receive home visits as part of the consolidation phase for the present cycle of growth. I invited Ms.__ to assist in such a visit, and asked her to be prepared to offer the deepening theme. She accepted the invitation and practiced going over the deepening theme so she could, as she put it, “do it in my own words and be eloquent.”

Thursday night Ms.__ came, and after saying prayers with her, we both visited a woman whose granddaughter is in a children’s class that has recently been formed in the neighborhood. I had visited this lady before, and when we arrived, I asked if we could say some prayers and for Ms.__ to do a presentation on the Eternal Covenant. The woman asked, “What is the Covenant?” to which Ms.__ responded, “It is God’s pact with us, with you and me, that He will never abandon us and He will always send a Manifestation to teach us His Word and Bahá’u’lláh is the latest Teacher.” The lady invited us into her home.

What followed next was an hour of connecting with the lady, talking about different subjects, laughing and praying. During this time Ms.__ spoke about the Eternal Covenant in an eloquent and forthright manner, answered questions about the Faith and in the process described how she became a Bahá’í and the joy and calm she feels since becoming a Bahá’í… She spoke about the theme of Book 2 which is to serve humanity, invited the lady to investigate the Faith further, and offered to come back and read from the Bahá’í scriptures with her and answer her questions. The lady liked the idea. We said a few healing prayers and the visit ended.

Afterwards, as we were reflecting on what happened, Ms.__ said she really loved this experience and felt the spirit was truly guiding her. We talked about why we teach, to which she commented that we teach not because of any rewards but because the act of teaching is sacred and precious, and then she said, “Isn’t this the theme of Book 2?”

Last night in the Book 1 study circle at our home (where she had initially practiced making the presentation), Ms.__ told everyone how the home visit went. This was good not only for her but also for the Book 1 participants: They were able to see how these practice components of the training institute courses can help build community by making this kind of visiting and spiritual discussions part of the normal pattern of life.

Ms.__ plans to take Book 3 as soon as it is offered so she can teach children’s classes.

 

Warm regards,

M

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 COL_1884

Making a home visit in Norte del Cauca, Colombia

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The thirsty ones are many yet the bearers are few. The seekers abound but the teachers are scarce. The thirsty ones are there in troops yet the guides of the True Path are scarce indeed! At present few indeed are the teachers of the Cause and so from every side the cry is raised, “Whither are the teachers? Whither are the teachers?”

No solution is there to this, save the establishment, in each town, for instructing the believers in teaching the Cause of God. Perchance the children of the Abhá paradise who are filled with yearning, longing, excitement, and enthusiasm could study the skills of teaching. If this is done in a proper and befitting matter, in a short while, in every town, there shall appear perfect teachers and steadfast orators of the Cause.
 
– ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

(from a newly translated tablet)

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(Adapted from the teaching blog http://teaching.bahai.us/2009/08/bulls-eye-in-dc.html. Emphasis added) (Image reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community – view here)

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