Monday, July 28, 2008

Increased capacity = continued sacrifice without burnout

Here is an exciting and intriguing report from San Diego, CA (A), which has recently launched another cycle of its intensive program of growth. During the latest expansion phase, the cluster was visited by friends from several different clusters. Some were from C-stage clusters, others were from places that have already experienced large-scale growth. All found an inspiring and exciting learning experience in a receptive neighborhood in the cluster.

A friend involved in this effort has noted: “It was a beautiful and close collaboration between the cluster agencies and two of the Local Spiritual Assemblies in the cluster which made this huge accomplishment possible. It was a massive amount of work and full of new learning. Indeed the capacity of the team in San Diego is being increased continuously.” Here is the report from a member of the area teaching committee. You can see the sacrificial effort to sustain core activities, the connections building among the Bahá’ís as a result of the core activities, and the optimism for the future.

We took the friends to one neighborhood and introduced some of them to the new Bahá’ís or to see the children’s classes and then described to them the characteristics that make it a receptive neighborhood.

One visitor was invited to come here to record all the songs from Ruhi Books 3 and 3A in Spanish. Exhausting as it was, it rallied the children and junior youth and established a village center of activity. This effort became the service project for our junior youth group and the different children and junior youth from all our families started to meet each other and connect. So in a way, this was the embryonic beginnings of how our families will come to know each others as Bahá’ís. It also helped activate one of the Spanish speaking youth who has started helping out with children’s classes and junior youth as a result.

The first day at the reflection gathering, teams formed and then three believers were responsible for three teams each, mentoring and coordinating them. This was the only way we could think of to accompany so many people.

In addition to coordinating the teaching teams during the expansion phase, we still have our core activities in this neighborhood—Ruhi study circles, children’s classes and junior youth groups—that we feel are very important for us to maintain and continue doing with the new Bahá’í families. It took so much determination and repeated visits to establish these activities that, now that they have begun to take hold, it is a crucial time for us to strengthen them. We are weaving in youth and others to assist us, and all in all, it is going really well.

Each expansion phase at the beginning feels like we just gave birth and the mother is exhausted but blissful because of sacrifice. However, the teaching work and being systematic is what will ensure that we continue to sacrifice but not burn out because our capacity increases and more and more people are being empowered to serve.

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