Friday, August 22, 2008

Developing a "rhythm" and "spiritual rap"

This report from East Lansing, MI (B) about a teaching effort has a lot of gems. Friends from all over the cluster came together in unity. There was thoughtful consultation beforehand, and confirmations and confidence gained afterwards. The friends have gained experience both about follow-up activities and how to give Anna’s presentation in a natural manner that responds to the listener’s needs and questions.

This was the first time for the friends in this new B cluster participated in an effort to directly share the Message with their neighbors. The structure and planning for this program of was ‎accomplished by close collaboration with the cluster institute coordinators, the Auxiliary Board member, and their assistants. Friends included members of three Local Spiritual Assemblies in the cluster (Lansing, East Lansing, Meridan), believers from three other communities (Stockbridge, Bath, Delta), five youth from Louhelen Bahá’í School, and two chaperones.

These friends tasted the sweetness of teaching and had a lot of fun being out in the neighborhood.  This effort generated enthusiasm and increased the capacity of the friends.  One of the people visited declared her belief in Bahá’u’lláh.

Here are some of the details:

15 people participated in the training before the teaching activity.

5 groups of three people participated in the teaching, and 2 other friends stayed behind to say prayers.

80 homes were visited.

We spoke to 37 people. 16 were interested in learning about the Faith.

Anna’s presentation was given 7 times.

11 people requested us to come visit them again.‎

The Baha'is in the cluster have committed themselves to follow-up activities for 6 months. 6 friends have already made follow-up visits to date.

Lessons Learned:

We need to trust in God as we strive to give a presentation.

Spending more than one day in the neighborhood would be preferable because that would allow us to visit those who were not home when we originally came by, as well as carry out more immediate follow-up.

We should have a clearly delineated follow-up plan in place before we begin.

Prayer is powerful and indispensible to success.

Flexibility is needed when giving Anna’s presentation. It is helpful in structuring a thorough and progressive presentation of ideas. The listener will always lead the discussion by the concerns, interests, experiences and points of view they express, and we should be responsive to that.

One of the friends who participated in the teaching shared the following thoughts and reflections:

It was so wonderful to have you with us on Saturday. The stories, guidance, training, teaching, and reflection infused a spirit into everyone and all of East Lansing such as I haven't seen. We saw how easy, joyful and productive teaching with Anna's presentation can be. It feels like a lot of anxiety and fear has dissipated and our first experience has lifted our spirits to heaven and beyond.

I also realized that Anna’s Presentation is a tool for a greater spiritual process between a soul and the power of the Creative Word. I had been wondering how do we adapt the presentation for different people and different circumstances when the need arises. One of the friends explained with uplifting stories and assured us we would develop our own “rhythm” or “spiritual rap” as we put the presentation into practice.

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