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(Thailand, 2 October 2010)
A report shared on the Thai mailing list that demonstrates understanding of the need for the core activities to be integrated, which would involve invitation of contacts made in one such activity (e.g. with children’s classes, inviting the parents) to another of the core activities (e.g. study circles or devotional meetings). Home visits would here provide the link between the various components of the system (the institute process) as a whole.
One may note the degree of focus and coordination achieved among the participants in the expansion phase through the formulation of a clear and realistic strategy for the group’s efforts, as stated in line two. A valuable learning on how to introduce Ruhi book 1 (giving a taster) to potential participants is also to be found. Any better?!
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Cycle 6: Expansion Phase
A mighty spiritual army of 3 teams joined in the expansion phase of the Chiang Mai cluster. The strategy was to teach and invite the parents of children’s class children to join study circles.
One team went to visit one parent and invited her for Book 1. A team member said: “We have totally changed our method of inviting people to study circles. We actually go ahead and do the first chapter with them on the first visit. We discuss 4-5 quotations with them but don’t do the writing part. Its just to get them in touch with the Writings. We have had a 90% success rate! Almost everyone wants to continue the courses without hesitation. Then we go back and do it completely on the next visit once the study circle has formally started. We now also explain the purpose of the institute courses that its not only for deepening and spiritual empowerment but also a training to increase our capacities to serve others in the neighborhood.”
Teaching in Chiang Mai, Thailand
The CIC [Cluster Institute Coordinator] said: “Now our challenge is to commit the tutor for this new group with a potential of 4 participants including the tutor. Many tutors already have a study circle and some are also children’s class teachers or junior youth animators. But we will manage with additional sacrifice!”
One CGC [Cluster Growth Committee] member said: “Chiang Mai is launching its IPG [Intensive Program of Growth] in Ridvan of 2011. Therefore we need more human recourses to be able to launch our IPG with full force as we want the IPG to keep on going strongly. Our focus is on teaching and inviting people to arise and serve with us. The Training Institute will play a major role, so that’s why we are teaching and inviting parents of the children’s class children to join study circles”.
Another team went to share prayers and discuss the children’s class courses with another parent that had never been visited before. The parent said he had actually gone to enquire about the children’s class from other parents at the Mooban center. He said: “They told me it was good and I believe them. We support our child to join in good things”.
Earlier on, another parent had acknowledged that her son was more peaceful, more hardworking with his homework, and helped his parents. She said: “We have seen positive developments in him and support his continuation in the class”.
The next challenge for the cluster is getting the parents involved in the community building process through the institute courses and their service components.
After the teaching day was over, a member in one of the teams said: “People are so receptive to the principles of the Faith, I can’t believe it! You just have to go out and open your mouth. Is there anything easier than that??”
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A programme of growth
Invariably, opportunities afforded by the personal circumstances of the believers initially involved—or perhaps a single homefront pioneer—to enter into meaningful and distinctive conversation with local residents dictate how the process of growth begins in a cluster. A study circle made up of a few friends or colleagues, a class offered for several neighbourhood children, a group formed for junior youth during after-school hours, a devotional gathering hosted for family and friends—any one of these can serve as a stimulus to growth. What happens next follows no predetermined course…. But…the outcome must be the same. Within every cluster, the level of cohesion achieved among the core activities must be such that, in their totality, a nascent programme for the sustained expansion and consolidation of the Faith can be perceived. That is to say, in whatever combination and however small in number, devotional gatherings, children’s classes and junior youth groups are being maintained by those progressing through the sequence of institute courses and committed to the vision of individual and collective transformation they foster. This initial flow of human resources into the field of systematic action marks the first of several milestones in a process of sustainable growth.
(The Universal House of Justice, 28 December 2010, par. 4)
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(Emphasis added. – The editor) (Report and photo used with permission of the author.)