Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Until we try something we can't learn and move forward"

The learning process is often challenging and rarely clear-cut. It often requires being comfortable with ambiguity or uncertainty, and above all, flexibility. Learning how to translate “theory” into “practice”, how to apply the knowledge gained in other places in one’s own unique circumstances—these are the challenges that are all naturally part of the process of growth. Here an individual from Savannah, GA (A) shares both some of the cluster’s successes, activities and goals, as well as what the friends are learning about the learning process itself.

After continuing prayer and consultation, we felt that our most pressing charge was to follow up as many of the new friends as possible during the summer months. Therefore it was decided not to go out teaching in neighborhoods this time around. We felt growth could come through visiting the homes of new believers and other direct methods including individual teaching plans . . . .

Our greatest progress has been made this summer with our junior youth and youth. Taking advantage of 6 college age Baha’is who were home for the summer, we held two week-long summer camps, multiple home visits, multiple gatherings for deepening and socialization, and a trip for 19 junior youth and youth to the House of Worship in Wilmette. During these activities many of the new young people learned about Baha’i virtues, prayer, Feasts, and the lives of the Bab and Baha’u’llah among many other things. We have seen a transformation in these young people. So much learning has evolved from these activities, but the greatest joy is watching our new leaders gain confidence in themselves as noble human beings, which is transforming our Baha’i community into a dynamic, loving, growing family.

Another insight gained about our cluster has been that we are unique! We are gaining confidence by trying something and then watching it unfold, often times in much different ways than we had planned or imagined. Reflection, flexibility, and change are becoming more comfortable for us, knowing that until we try something we can’t learn and move forward!

One of the greatest tools we have developed during the last teaching effort is systematic collection of statistics. It was a real eye opener for all of us when we broke down our numbers into children, junior youth and youth!

Our goals for the next cycle include: offering Ruhi Book 3A (Teaching Children’s Classes Grade 2), starting monthly children’s classes on a Saturday at the Baha’I Center followed by a family gathering, starting children’s classes at several homes where there are large families, organizing study circles of Books 1 and 4 for our youth, continuing the junior youth group, continuing our home visits with deepening themes and building friendships.

Another goal will to be constantly aware of our individual obligation to teach the Cause of God. Often when we are so involved in the core activities it is easy to forget to pray for, plan and seek out teaching opportunities. We have pledged to remind ourselves that teaching should be our #1 goal, passion, and responsibility.

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