Thursday, January 17, 2008

Diagram of an IPG: Seattle Day 4

Yet more stories from Day 4, written by another (possibly younger and certainly much more humorous) teaching team member on behalf of the Area Teaching Committee. (Was it the summary comment of "This 10 th Cycle of Growth has been totally rad" that tipped us off that this might be a youth?)

Salutations and innumerable happy greetings!

Day four of WA Cluster 14's 10 th Cycle of Growth is over, and yet again, our loins were girded to their utmost as we ventured out into the bitter cold for another day of teaching. (Loins,which by day four have walked enough, that they are admittedly quite sore.)

Five teams spent the afternoon scattered across the beautiful countryside of North Seattle (that's a joke). With the frigid air sharply filling our lungs, and an overwhelming sense of anticipation and joy in our hearts, we were ready for another great afternoon.

Our first team conducted three return visits before moving ahead into the great unknown. Within that great unknown, they met a woman who was "just sick of studying, and only wants to pray." So they gave her a prayer book, which she immediately took a liking to, and she invited them to come back in the summertime. That's right. WA cluster 14 . . . plans home visits seven months in advance!

[The second team] knocked on a ridiculous number of doors until one finally opened: There was a woman just visible through the window in the door, who appeared to be resting on her couch. Someone in the team said "oh well, looks like she is asleep, we don't want to disturb." But another team member replied, "Ya. But there really isn't anything more worth while to get up for than the Message of Baha'u'llah." If anyone can think of a better response, please send me the memo.

Anyway, long story short, the woman was very interested in learning about not only the team's cultural roots, but about the history and teachings of the Baha'i Faith. Therefore the team was able to share Anna's presentation in its entirety, and needless to say, got some digits, and will be scheduling a follow-up visit.

Our third team had some wonderful experiences as well. One young woman they met was a Quaker who knew a lot about the Baha'i Faith, and during the course of their dialog revealed that she was "Pro-Baha'i. All of it – except for the homosexuality part." A follow up visit has been scheduled with her.

Another woman the same team visited had been to Panama, and had visited the House of Worship there. One of team three's members had served a term of service in Panama, and found an instant connection with this woman. Again, a follow up visit of epic proportions has been arranged.

Our fourth team went back only for follow-up visits today. There was a couple that they had visited a few times already, but had seemed to visit at all the wrong times. This prompted one of the team members to ask: "Would you like us to come back, or would you like us to leave you alone?" The response was "come back tomorrow at 11am, and we will talk about the Faith." It was very direct, people.

And now team five! This story plays out in two places at the same time. So back at the Baha'i Center Prayer Team was going at it like there was no tomorrow. They were praying away, and then the suggestion was brought to the circle of friends that they should say 9 Tablets of Ahmad to assist in the teams' teaching efforts. In the midst of the 9 th Tablet of Ahmad, team five barged in through the front door accompanied by a middle-aged man. They traversed the room and filed into IPG headquarters and were momentarily lost from view. What was going on…?

At the same time, likely just preceding the recitation of the 9 Tablets of Ahmad, Team five was nearing the end of its teaching circuit. Throughout the day, they had been saying prayers in front of all the houses where no one was home. This house appeared to have no one in it, but the team decided to try it out anyway. To their surprise someone was home and he immediately invited them inside, where the team was able to share the entirety of Anna's presentation. At the end of the presentation, one of the team members said "Of course, this is a religion we are introducing you to, if you'd like to join the Faith…"

The response had conviction: "I think I could do that."

At this point team five reached into their trusty packet of teaching materials, and found the declaration card, which was supposed to be included, was missing. …Back to the Baha'i Center!

Team five barges into headquarters, Michael signs his card, and the 9th Tablet of Ahmad is recited following the event. (whew).

Yes friends. It was another exciting, joyous, action-packed day. We laughed, we cried, we prayed, we ate, we sang, and we're ready to do it all over again tomorrow!

There's something inexplicably uplifting about one's participation in the teaching effort, and the personal transformation that takes place during that process. On day one, there was a feeling of anticipation, but it was flecked with notions of nervousness and anxiety. Now, there is an overwhelming sense of joy, determination, devotion, and excitement, which has only been gained through action and experience.

Abdu'l-Baha says in His Will and Testament that: "Of all the gifts of God, the greatest is the gift of Teaching. It draweth unto us the Grace of God and is our first obligation. Of such a gift how can we deprive ourselves? Nay, our lives, our goods, our comforts, our rest, we offer them all as a sacrifice to the Abha Beauty and teach the Cause of God. Caution and prudence, however, must be observed, even as recorded in the book. The veil must in no wise be suddenly rent asunder. The Glory of Glories rest upon you."

This 10 th Cycle of Growth has been totally rad.

With Love and Gratitude,

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

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