Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Diagram of an IPG: Seattle Day 2

Day2 - the friends reflect on their experiences the day before, articulate the lessons they learned, refine the approach through consultation, and prepare themselves for some follow-up home visits and some more initial visits. This stuff is great!

Dearest Friends!

This has been Day Two of Seattle's Intensive Program of Growth (IPG)! With yesterday's incredible jump-start, new teams formed this morning with an even greater level of confidence, if such a thing were possible.

Certainly, a hugely important contributing factor was the marvelous devotions that were prepared, with great love and care, by a very conscientious member of our community.

Today, 14 teams went back out into the neighborhood to follow up with individuals or families that requested return visits, and to initiate new visits with additional contacts. Those efforts were strongly reinforced by the Prayer Team and their dedicated efforts throughout the entire day.

Since this was the second day of the expansion phase a great deal of learning took place. The experiences of yesterday were compared to those of today. Insights were made into everything from what the data forms should look like, to what exactly should be said when a team reaches the front door of a home, to how one arranges a follow-up visit.

Before leaving the Center, one team made sure that they put their boisterous excitement on hold for a moment to channel that energy toward prayer. Remembering this simple but essential step brought a renewed boost of confidence to the team as they walked to their new block.

Another team focused their energy on studying the language and subsequent success of their introduction. The group consciously tried a variety of introductions and concluded that a few more days of teaching would be necessary to give them some solid ideas. Despite the fact that no immediate solutions were drawn, the team was extremely hopeful and modeled trust, patience, enthusiasm and humility - an exemplary attitude of learning.

A third team gave an additional example of the diligent consultation that took place among the teams with the intention to refine their understanding of the direct teaching process. After leaving each home that the team was able to engage with, they paused to reflect on their experience, whether or not the individual or family seemed willing to receive follow up of some kind, and when that would take place. After continued consultation, the team made a significant realization: it is necessary to ask directly whether or not that person would like a return visit or other kind of follow up. The team found that this simple question ("Would you like us to come back?"), made every bit of difference in meeting the needs of those they spoke with. This may have been accomplished by leaving the individual to themselves, or by providing them with the healing medicine that the Baha'i Faith offers.

Another team learned that on rare, beautiful, sunny winter days, people may not be at home. They will be outside! While two members of the team walked up steep stairs to knock on doors, prepared with warm greetings and prayer cards, the third member let her knees rest and concentrated on prayers. Multiple times after the two members descended from those front doors they found their third counterpart engaged in full discussions with people out on walks with their pet dogs!

Such an incredible amount of learning took place today. The highlight of this learning was simply practicing the attitude necessary for learning! In the midst of all this trial and error, a few surprises, perhaps some of the sweetest moments of the day, found their way to two other teams.

One team went on a second round in the afternoon. Their first outing had not produced many direct results. Their second outing, on the other hand, produced three outstanding experiences. The most heart-warming of these was in the meeting of a young girl in her twenties who has a relative that is a Baha'i! She listened to the beginning of Anna's presentation and requested that someone meet with her later this week.

A second team was making their way back to the Center and decided to make their final visit. An elderly woman opened the door of this home. They gave her an invitation to the activities at the center, and then ended up saying a prayer with her there on her front porch. She gave them her contact information but said that she wasn't really in a position to receive guests for any kind of presentation. The team was about to leave when one member was inspired to ask if she might be willing to hear the presentation at that time. She responded excitedly, "Yes!" The team stayed with her for an additional 45 minutes during which time they were able to share nearly half of Anna's presentation with her. Their visit was very well received and the team has scheduled a follow-up with her.

The evening program was rejuvenating and inspired renewed efforts of focus on guests and seekers. At the end of the day, all participants were tired, but very, very happy. Tomorrow is another day, with more stories awaiting us!

Please keep all efforts in your prayers, as you have been.

With much love and kind regards,

for the ATC and all who participated today!

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