Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Building human resources in Tallahassee

The friends in Tallahassee, FL (B) are building their capacity in so many ways. The various institutions and entities in the cluster are learning how to coordinate their efforts. They are learning how to develop human resources for teaching and follow-up work. And as more people participate in the teaching activities, the spark of excitement is ignited and leads to yet more learning. One believer reports:

Learning in our cluster is continuing at a slow but steady pace. Most notable is an increase in the awareness of the responsibilities of the entities that constitute the core group and the role of the Local Spiritual Assemblies within the current framework for action on the one hand, and the role of individuals on the other. . . .

The cycle of activity that just ended saw 3 declarations, which marks a significant advance at the local level. A small group of teachers made consistent and multiple efforts to reach the new believers, by physically visiting the homes many times, telephone calls and messages, and leaving notes at the homes on a couple of occasions. While there was a good effort on the part of few teachers, we need to improve our capacity to follow up. This capacity seems to have five major areas of focus presently:

1) Increase the active core of teachers (presently, the teachers are the same people doing the home visits) through accompaniment of any willing individuals. The accompaniment process locally includes prayer, deepening, reflection, and practice of Anna’s presentation mainly in the organization of collective direct teaching, but also for individual initiatives.

2) Increase the active core of friends who can do home visits for the purpose of sharing deepening themes with new believers through accompaniment of any willing individuals and refresher trainings on Book 2.

3) Increase the community of interest within the neighborhoods so that the organic and generative aspect of spiritual growth at the grassroots level provides multiple, immediate, and ongoing follow up opportunities to connect hearts to Bahá’u’lláh.

4) Mobilize all the human resources in the cluster so each person has a path of service within the framework for action.

5) Nurture the Assemblies to encourage individual action within the framework for action.

Signs of recent progress can be seen since the beginning of our current cycle. We started with a gathering of 8 friends (including two children 3 and 5 years of age) for prayers, deepening, reflection, and practicing of Anna’s presentation. Two beloved and long-standing friends from one Local Assembly participated in this session. One of these individuals who had never participated in a neighborhood teaching effort joined an experienced teacher and served as a prayer partner in the field. After we had fervent prayers together as a group, they drove out to the neighborhood. They said a final prayer before exiting their car. There was a woman on the porch looking at them—she seemed to be waiting for them. They introduced themselves and asked if the woman would like to hear about the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith. She warmly welcomed them and half an hour later she declared her faith in Bahá’u’lláh and her son eagerly asked to be included and his mother registered her son as well.

This believer’s new direct experience with teaching will inform the learning and growth of her Local Assembly and community.

A home visit is scheduled with the newly declared Bahá’í and a team of friends is ready to offer children’s classes in that neighborhood.

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