Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Diagram of an IPG: Seattle Day 3

The best part of this Seattle WA (A) day's report? Perhaps the young man who announced to his team, "I'm scared! Who else is scared?!" and broke the ice. Or maybe the inspiring words of Counselor Murphy about the power of divine assistance. Or maybe the giant map of all the homes around the Baha'i Center marked up with those wanting to know more about Baha'u'llah. There's so much to choose from. . .

Dearest friends!

The spirit around the Baha'i Center and that which can be seen emanating from the friends is only more radiant than before. This is said with the utmost sincerity.

When on Saturday morning a few dozen friends gathered to go direct teaching, or during the last two days of continued efforts by new participants, there was not a one among them without fear! A young man in one of his groups announced boldly, "I'm scared! Who else is scared?!" The others on his team and nearby looked over with hesitant faces and sideways grins, then responded, "I am!!!"

One of the clearest conclusions that has been noticed by each teacher, each prayer team member, each friend who has stopped by in support, is that once a believer has made the first step out into the neighborhood, they come back a changed person - a confirmed soul. Fear dissipates. Divine assistance sees to that.

Counselor Rebecqua Murphy, who has graciously joined the Seattle community in their efforts since the lunch of the cluster's 10th cycle of growth, shared a touching insight on the topic of divine assistance on the morning of the second day. She called our attention to the words of Baha'u'llah in a well-known passage which begins with the invocation:

"Intone, O My servant, the verses of God that have been received by thee, as intoned by them who have drawn nigh unto Him..."

She quoted the portion about half-way through this particular passage:

"Whoso reciteth, in the privacy of his chamber, the verses revealed by God, the scattering angels of the Almighty shall scatter abroad the fragrance of the words uttered by his mouth, and shall cause the heart of every righteous man to throb."

She told of another passage found in the Writings of Baha'u'llah that identifies the believers in Baha'u'llah who step forth to share His Message as those scattering angels of the Almighty.

Counselor Murphy went on to describe how these two passages link those who teach with the prayers said in their name: the teacher goes out on the wings of that prayer.

It is not the efforts of that teacher which finds receptive souls. It is, instead, the prayer, your prayer, said for their sake that "... must needs sooner or later exercise its influence."

That influence was noticed today among the efforts of all those praying and teaching, and for that many thanks to those who are keeping the teaching efforts in their prayers. It was the consensus of the group present that the highest number of receptive individuals were identified today as compared to Days One and Two.

One team trudged through the cold and rain to the home of a man who turned out to be particularly interested in religious philosophy and discussion. When asked if he had heard of the Baha'i Faith before he responded, "Yes, of course! Seals and Crofts!" When asked if he would be interested in spending some time discussing the Baha'i Faith, the man accepted, saying he would like to attend one of the events this week being held at the Center.

Another young man was engaged in discussion by another team. Oddly enough, numerous teams have encountered several very young families with brand new babies having just arrived home. This visit happened to be with one such family! The young man had also heard of the Baha'i Faith before. In fact, he shared that he had lived in Samoa for some time and visited the Baha'i Temple there on a few occasions. He would like to visit the Baha'i Center with his family after they have settled in a bit.

Two other teams found receptivity even (perhaps especially) among those who are late in years and have seen a great deal with regard to religion, the ills of the world, and the changes it is going through.

One team's first visit of the day was with a man in his eighties who said to them when they knocked on the door, "Well, I don't know who you are, but come on in!" The team entered his home and began a conversation that would last over one hour! The team sensed his receptivity to hearing the concepts included in Anna's presentation. After some time, the team had yet to get through the presentation - not for lack of interest, but for the man's prolific supply of questions! It was clear to the team that this man had a need to share, to empty his cup. He conveyed his experiences with investigating many religious groups throughout his life only to be disappointed with finding "nothing more than shells." After the team shared with the man a bit more about the Faith, including Baha'u'llah's claim to be the Promised One of all ages, he concurred, "I need to go investigate this more." The team left some information with the gentlemen and plan to return during the upcoming weekend.

A second team met with a man of age and wisdom. The man's sweet nature was apparent from the start: one team member shared with him that her name means butterfly. The gentlemen responded, "Well, my name's Buzz, like a bee!" He had just had surgery so was not up for a presentation or guests but accepted an invitation for a return visit.

One of the same teams mentioned above also met a young woman working as a nanny for several children. When the team introduced themselves and the reason for their visit, she responded, "Well, the children are about to do a play - they're all dressed up - but I'm really very interested! Could you come back a bit later on? I'm sure the children's mother would also be very interested - she is very open!" The team has agreed to follow up with the household this week.

One last encounter to share reflects the receptivity of many for that which heals. A team knocked on the door of a home inhabited by two women. At the door, the team noticed that one had a foot brace on, and the other look somewhat weary. After inding that the two women were not particularly interested in receiving a presentation at that time, the team simply offered to say a prayer for healing with them. The two women that had, before, remained behind their screen door suddenly swung it wide open saying, "Oh, yes, that would be wonderful. Thank you."

It is hoped that through these stories the community at large will be further inspired with the successes of those acting on behalf of the entire cluster. It is also hoped that these stories will offer thanks and encouragement to those who are assisting ever so importantly through personal prayers.

At the end of the evening debrief, all gathered took a moment to study the map of homes that surround the Baha'i Center (marked by a small, glittery sticker of a treasure chest). Those homes where no one answered were marked with a purple dry-erase marker. All those homes where "No Solicitors" signs were posted, or inhabitants declined any visit were marked with red. All of those homes where someone receptive has been found were marked in green. Someone said, "Look at all those little green points where there are souls who want to hear about Baha'u'llah." We took a moment to imagine those homes scattered so closely in each direction around the Baha'i Center. Three days ago, we did not know of these 75 people. Three days ago, most of these people had not yet heard the name, "Baha'u'llah." Imagine that.

With much love and gratitude,

on behalf of the ATC and all those who participated today!

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