Friday, November 7, 2008

Joy, growth and building unity in Monterey County

You can feel the joy and radiance in this report from Monterey County, CA (B). The patience, love and unity among all the friends and institutions involved in teaching efforts in the cluster have brought exciting results, fresh learning, and new friendships. Among the many interesting insights is the approaches the friends are using to help parents and families take ownership of children’s classes, thereby strengthening the bonds of unity within the community.

The vision, love and support, and previous experience shared by our Auxiliary Board members, are crucial elements to the success of our cluster's efforts.

The spirit of love, patience, flexibility and perseverance among our two Local Spiritual Assemblies, core team, Auxiliary Board member, cluster development facilitator and cluster institute coordinator have made pursuing this new endeavor possible . . . .

Not being afraid of failure, praying, reflecting, consulting, modifying the plan of action and always proceeding has given us new light. Grappling and struggling together with whatever comes up to find the solution is creating a new experience of God in our lives.

All of the above have resulted in a community of interest of 65 people, including 17 children and 10 junior youth. There is significant growth in study circles, children’s classes and junior youth groups in one apartment complex in particular.

We’ve learned that clarification of roles and responsibilities of the cluster agencies is very important.

We’ve found that children’s classes and junior youth groups are more effective when we adhere to the age range that the curriculum was created for.

Visiting the neighborhood every week creates a positive presence that eventually starts to overcome any language barrier that may exist.

In a locality where we do not have existing relationships, an effective approach has been to start the children’s classes outside, such as in the courtyard of the apartment complex, in order to build relationships with the residents. Once trust has been established with the parents, it is natural to move the classes indoors, e.g., an apartment of one of the parents.

Holding a children’s class in the apartment of parents is empowering for the family. It helps them take ownership of the class, and allows us to strengthen our friendship with them.

When visiting homes, local children and junior youth can be very helpful in introducing us to the families and helping us overcome language barriers. A small group of enthusiastic children can help us quickly meet all the other children and youth and will let us know names and ages of persons who are not home at the time.

No comments: