Monday, July 7, 2008

Practicing Anna's presentation builds confidence

Here is a report from a group of friends who hail from 2 C clusters in the Northwest region. Their participation a refresher course to practice giving Anna’s presentation has had some wonderful and intriguing results.

On Saturday, June 21, 2008, 19 enthusiastic people gathered in Billings, MT from two C clusters, MT 01 and WY 02, to participate in a Book 6 "Refresher". We dedicated our efforts to Betty Penner, a fearless teacher of the Faith in Montana who had advanced to the Abhá Kingdom earlier in the week. Prior to Saturday, The MT 01 cluster members were invited to participate in this first collective teaching activity based on Book 6. Those friends who were unable to attend the training session were asked to support the effort with prayers. They were also requested to provide support to the activity by either having someone present to them, or provide food for the lunch. Many community members were interested, offered their support and want to participate in the next session. Before the weekend, participants were asked to set up a time on Sunday morning to make the presentation with an individual they thought would be willing to listen to it.

Saturday morning was spent learning about the presentation from Book 6, guidance on direct teaching and hearing stories from two individuals who had participated in intensive programs of growth in Washington. The afternoon was spent practicing the presentation with partners. Sunday morning 6 of the friends made presentations to 7 individuals. There was a wide variety of people who heard the presentations including a newer believer in the community, friends of the Bahá'ís, the husband of a believer, a person who has been attending a Book 1 study circle, and a Bahá'í. One of the presentations resulted in a joyous declaration. At the end of the presentation, the teacher asked this man what he thought about becoming a Bahá’í. He replied that he had been thinking about it. Then the presenter said, "Why not today?"—whereupon the man declared. During conversation after his declaration, the presenter asked him what made him want to declare. The man's reply was, “The story of the Báb, and the way the Bahá'ís had always treated me with respect and kindness." The presenter also shared that during the week preceding the teaching effort, he had prayed for this individual and visualized him signing a declaration card.

On Sunday afternoon, the friends gathered to reflect on their experience. All of the friends reported that the experience was positive and increased their enthusiasm to teach. Some of the friends had wondered if the flip books would decrease their spontaneity in teaching or make them less receptive to the needs of the person they were teaching. Some stated that although they had been comfortable teaching the Faith before, the flip book and the outline of the presentation kept them focused on presenting the Faith in a systematic way. Many now want to develop their own personal flip books. Several of the participants have already planned more ways to use the presentation. The friends also found that the collective and focused community effort for a teaching activity was invigorating. They are looking forward to another collective teaching event.


No comments: