Sunday, March 2, 2008

Mother of 2 steps out on faith to reach youth

Accompaniment helped a mother of two in the Philadelphia, PA (B) take action on a desire to form a neighborhood youth group.

More than a year ago, a youthful mother of two who served on the ATC in the Philadelphia cluster expressed the desire to begin a neighborhood youth group or children’s class. Notwithstanding the sincerity of her longing, she found it difficult, even paralyzing, when she contemplated taking the first step. Many months of discussions led nowhere and the shadows of doubt began to gather around her dream. In a final attempt to invoke in her the confidence to trust in the favors and bounties of God, late one evening the ATC and the Auxiliary Board member traveled to her home and confronted her with a challenge. They noted that they had patiently waited for more than a year for her to muster the courage -- with the support of accompaniment -- to reach out to her neighbors; they noted that they had discussed it in several meetings, and had even made one plan after another for its accomplishment – all to no avail. Now they had come to say that they would not return again until the deed had been done. And then they made a promise to her that seemed, in retrospect, to have been inspired. They said that all she had to do was to open her door and to step into the street with the intention of starting her class. At that very hour, they promised, the Master Himself would accompany her and render her victorious.

The believer turned to God in prayer, and the very next day she knocked on the door of the block captain. She shared with her neighbor that she did not know what to do but wanted so much to start a process that would serve the spiritual development of the children and youth in the neighborhood. Her neighbor, moved perhaps by her sincerity, invited her into her home and telephoned her next door neighbor and asked that neighbor to send over her teenage daughter. When the youth arrived a few minutes later, the situation was explained to her. The African-American youth who was the first to learn of the believer’s vision became the first to join her group. But it did not end there. Together, she accompanied the Baha’i to the homes of other neighbors. Within a few visits, she had 8 energetic, warm, and eager youth who were very much looking forward to being a part of her youth animator training.

On the following Friday evening the young recruits arrived at her door as planned. They prayed, studied the Breezes of Confirmation, and told stories. They continued to study both Ruhi Book 1 and Breezes of Confirmation and a few short weeks later returned for a youth led devotional. Now they cook together, meet twice a week in the young believer’s home, and have even organized a devotional for their neighbors, the community’s ATC, and a visiting member of the Continental Board of Counselors. In truth, “The source of all good is trust in God . . .”

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