Thursday, February 28, 2008

Metro Atlanta: "a major breakthrough in growth" - 96 new believer

Only half-way through their 10th cycle of intensive growth, the Metro Atlanta GA cluster is on fire! 96 new believers have now been reported. How? As noted by the Regional Bahá'í Council, shares that “a systematic outlook can be seen throughout the planning stages allowing those involved in the direct teaching efforts to experience the vision of the Five Year Plan by bringing awaiting souls under the banner of the Greatest Name.” Joined by experienced friends from other parts of the country, the teaching teams were supported and fortified. The following are excerpts from the Area Teaching Committee diary report submitted earlier today.

Dear friends, Allah’u’abha! This is a brief summary of our tenth cycle of growth so far. After receiving the exciting news that the Metro Atlanta cluster was selected to be one of the three “learning laboratories” for growth, we began consulting on neighborhoods, receptive populations, and goals.

Warm up Phase – January 25 – February 15

· The weekend of January 25 we were fortunate to have the visit of a Auxiliary Board Member from Arizona. On Friday morning, he and one other friend went out to the neighborhoods did some ‘test’ teaching. They went to a Spanish neighborhood and one man declared. They visited a few believers to encourage them to become full time teachers.

· On Friday evening he met with the core team met and talked about the issues involved in growth. During the meeting we visited the junior youth groups to give him a flavor of that project. Saturday morning we went through a training of Anna’s Presentation and then we broke into groups and went out to three neighborhoods.

· That Saturday 45 believers were trained, and were grouped into large neighborhood teams. Then the larger teams were divided up into small teams of diverse participants. We went out to practice for about an hours. When we reassembled, teams reported three adult declarations and three children. During the same afternoon a children’s class was held in one of the complexes with fourteen children from six nations.

· On Saturday evening Kaveh met with the Book 3 graduates and explained how children’s classes multiply organically through home visits and feed into the expansion phase.

· Sunday morning a few believers continued follow up of the teaching in the neighborhood of the Unity center.

· Then ABMs Kaveh and Riaz met with the Core Team for a couple of hours before Kaveh left for the airport.

February 2 -14

· The following weekend, Riaz gave a similar training on Anna’s presentation to twelve participants. Several were from other clusters in the area.

· During the next week we reviewed the many forms and sheets of information that were emailed to us from Phoenix.

· We went and made ourselves familiar with the neighborhoods and talked with the believers (Persian) who live in those neighborhoods, to ascertain their suitability for the teaching project.

· We made arrangements to have Anna’s Presentation printed, and organized the teaching team packets.

· We found a person to enter the data, ordered prayer books, printed prayer cards, sent out invitations to the Reflection Gathering and ordered declaration cards.

· We visited the Feasts in as many communities as possible to explain about the program of growth. We met with several of the LSAs to ask them to clear their calendars for the IPG.

February 14-18

· Kaveh arrived back in Atlanta on Thursday night, February 14. He spent several hours with the Area Teaching Committee secretary and went over the plans, neighborhoods, procedure, materials, and data collection methods.

· Friday morning, another training was held at the Unity Center. This time we were blessed with the presence of Continental Counsellor Gene Andrews as well as eight ABMs from the Southern, Central and Northeastern states as well as our Georgia ABM, Michael O’Neal.

· After the training we all went together to Willow Ridge to try out the complex. We divided up by apartment buildings. That day we were able to witness 7 adults and four children declarations. Everyone came back and shared their learning with a feeling of joy and new-found confidence. Friday evening Kaveh held a training for the “anchor” teachers. Teachers from four of the chosen neighborhoods were able to attend.

o On Saturday morning we held the Reflection Gathering from 9 am to noon. Approximately 70 people were in attendance. We shared from the slide presentation prepared by the Core Team. The program included the study of the Guidance, consultation about direct teaching, and introduction of the anchor teachers for each neighborhood.

· Each anchor teacher invited people to come and volunteer to join them. It ended up being a self-selection of 4 neighborhoods.

· We all went out into our neighborhoods and followed the division set out by our anchor teachers. At around 5:00 pm we returned to the Center and had wonderful sharing. Sunday morning we met again and spent 2 hours reviewing our progress and our learning. Then we broke up into teams again and headed back out to the neighborhoods. By this time the Reynoldstown team had grown to over 15 youth, augmented by some of the Mona youth.

· Sunday night we returned and had a wonderful sharing and prayer session.

February 18- February 22

· Monday Riaz and Khaveh went out from neighborhood to neighborhood and met with the anchor teachers.

· During this week the anchor teachers have been directing teaching teams to follow up, revisit, and continue teaching.

· During this week we have had 3 adult declarations and six children.

· We are working on putting together the data and getting ready for the upcoming weekend.

Summary of Results

· Our original goal was 50 adult believers and 25 children. By Saturday night this upcoming weekend, we may need to revisit our goal and see how far along we are.

· As of today we have approximately 40 adults and 25 children. We are working on getting the listing more accurate and exact.

· Approximately fifty believers participated in the direct teaching at various stages.

· We have the following nationalities among our new believers: Mexican, Burundian, Thai, Kenyan, Russian, Burmese, Eritrean, and African American.

· We have learned that the newly arrived people from other countries are very pure, receptive and open to the redemptive power of Baha’u’llah’s Divine message.

We are extremely grateful to the Continental Counsellors for choosing Atlanta and to Kaveh and the Area Teaching Committee of Phoenix for so generously sharing their learning and expertise with us.

With warm regards,

Area Teaching Committee
Metro Atlanta Cluster

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