Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Teach within 48 hours

Here is an intriguing story from the Northeast about an innovative and simple approach that mobilized the friends into action. A challenge was presented to the friends at a gathering to do something to teach the Faith within the next 48 hours. The area teaching committee for that cluster then passed on the same challenge to all the believers in that cluster. The result? The friends immediately arising to serve (and consulting on how to support each other). In other words, it led to enthusiastic and spontaneous action, and if one effort didn’t work out, the friends would then simply try something else.

In the afternoon the friends reread the Ridvan 2008 message from the Universal House of Justice and centered their consultation around the insights gained from the active teaching in their clusters. Our Auxiliary Board member reminded those present that no one will come in to our clusters to do our teaching for us. It is only through each of us actively teaching will we see progress in our clusters. She then challenged the friends to get together with someone else in the room and plan what we could do to teach the Faith during the next 48 hours. The friends took up the challenge and immediately began planning what they would do to teach and to support each other. . . .

Your Area Teaching Committee would like to extend this challenge to every believer in our cluster. Please call one other person and plan what you can do by October 12 to 1) teach or 2) start a small devotional with a friend, neighbor, coworker or family member who might need prayers for healing or comfort. There may be other things you can do to teach, but the idea is to do something this week. We can only learn by doing. “The more we do, the more we learn.” Only by doing can we bring the healing message of Bahá’u’lláh to those who are waiting and yearning to receive it.

Please share your stories with us. What happened when you made this commitment to do some act of service? How did prayer help your efforts? How did your partner help your efforts? What do you plan to do next?

With warmest Baha'i greetings,

Your area teaching committee

Here are some excerpts from some of the responses of the friends:

1. One friend came home and called a seeker who has been attending devotions fairly regularly. She invited her to join a Ruhi 4 class, which she had mentioned to her at the devotions and the seeker seemed interested. She accepted, and the same evening they, along with seven other people from two communities, started Ruhi 4. At Devotions, another believer asked this same seeker about getting together to share an overview of the Faith (i.e. Anna's presentation) and together, we hope to arrange a time with her and her husband in the near future.

2. The day after the challenge was given, a believer invited a friend to her home for the purpose of sharing the Faith and determining receptivity. This proved to be a wonderful introduction. The following day, the same believer continued upon her weekly “teaching trail” by attempting to visit a family that has shown great interest in the Faith over an extended period of time. Unfortunately, they were not home, so she added this family to her, “follow-up list”. In the meanwhile, the latter part of her 48 hours ended with agreeing to facilitate a study circle in a nearby community.

3. Another teaching endeavor continued mainly by email. At the prompting of the seeker, these emails have generally contained continuous excerpts from the framework of “Anna’s presentation”, as well as a PowerPoint slide show on the Birth of the Báb and the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh. This believer has noted the importance of being able to consult with other friends.

“We should not belittle anyone and call him ignorant, saying: ‘You know not, but I know.' Rather, we should look upon others with respect, and when attempting to explain and demonstrate, we should speak as if we are investigating the truth, saying: 'Here these things are before us. Let us investigate to determine where and in what form the truth can be found.' The teacher should not consider himself as learned and others ignorant. Such a thought breedeth pride, and pride is not conducive to influence. The teacher should not see in himself any superiority; he should speak with the utmost kindliness, lowliness and humility, for such speech exerteth influence and educateth the souls." (‘Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, no. 15, pp. 33-34)

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