Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Perseverence leads to victory!

We received this story from a college-age youth in the Minneapolis, MN (A) cluster (which happens to be in the process of launching it’s first intensive program of growth. All the best, MN-27!) and the title he suggested could not be more true. The friends in cluster after cluster are learning first-hand that unflagging persistence and a willingness to reflect, adapt methods, and then keep on trying is an indispensable element to any successful teaching initiative. Important in this story, as the author pointed out, is the variety of ways friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers can come to inquire about the Faith. Also interesting are they ways that youth find to teach other youth (Facebook, anyone?).

I have a friend from high school who is now going to the University of Minnesota with me. A year ago when our family was having devotionals once a month, I had invited him every time but he always said “No, I don’t do God or religion, but thanks for inviting me.” When I joined up with the Baha’i campus club this year, I invited him to our Conversation Cafes each week, where we talk about various topics in an informal discussion supplemented by quotations from the Writings on that topic, but he always declined, giving the same reason, that he was agnostic and wasn’t interested in religious topics. I always replied back with a “that’s cool, no worries.”

Anywho, my most recent status on Facebook was “Shameem is 01110100 01100101 01100001 01100011 01101000 01101001 01101110 01100111″ which is binary code for “teaching.” I get a message from this agnostic friend from high school which said, simply, “teaching, eh?”. I shouldn’t have been all that surprised, because this friend is a total nerd. ^_^ Anyway, I replied back with the following: “Haha! Nerd! You went and decoded it! Course, I’m a nerd too for translating it into binary in the first place. Yeah, I was having a discussion with a few classmates about the Baha’i Faith and teaching them about my religious views. We got real deep into spiritual matters, it was a great conversation.” He replied back with “No offense, but what is this Baha’i Faith, and what’s going on with you & it all of a sudden?”

Let’s hear it for confirmations and perseverene! After over a year this guy finally shows interest in learning about the Baha’i Faith, and interestingly enough, it was through something as geeky as binary code. It just goes to show that there are many, many, many ways to connect a person’s heart with Baha’u'llah. I’m excited, because now I get to have a dialogue with this friend about the Baha’i Faith, and luckily for us, we have activities on campus every single night of the expansion phase, including a holy day celebration! Yay!!! Hurray for teaching! Or should I say, Hurray for 01110100 01100101 01100001 01100011 01101000 01101001 01101110 01100111 !!!!!

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