Friday, January 30, 2009

Flexibility and trust lead to success and learning

The friends in Omaha, NE (B) recently finished a collective teaching effort, and learned a lot from their experiences. It is very interesting to see that they decided to try different approaches and see what happened. The friends were also flexible enough to make adjustments based on their initial experiences. They have seen the high interest in children’s classes among the people they have met. Their successes have been supported by a foundation of trust that has been built from existing connections between a local believer and his neighbors.

Hello all,

I thought some folks would like to hear about the teaching initiative our humble group implemented this past Friday.

Nine of us gathered at the Bahá’í Center for prayers and songs. In addition to the friends there, several others called us that day and assured us of their prayers. We called upon the Concourse on High, asking for assistance from various friends whom have passed on, and of course ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. (We thought it was especially wonderful that we were doing this on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Ascension.) . . .

We began to consult on a plan and divided into 3 teaching teams, each that would take a different approach. The first team went to a health food store that had been previously identified as a possible focus for teaching efforts. They noticed that most of the patrons were busy with grocery shopping and it was not easy to make connections with anyone. So the team quickly adapted their plans and hit the street, moving down to a used book store. Immediately after they entered, they were greeted with warm hellos by the store owner. The conversation easily and naturally turned to spiritual topics. The shop owner had heard about the Faith before. The team began sharing Anna’s presentation, which evolved into a deep conversation.

Meanwhile the second team decided to visit a neighborhood where a believer lives and visit homes there. The members of this team did not live in this city, but they made several connections and received requests to return again to share more information about the Faith. So they gave people business cards with the contact information of a local Bahá’í, and also noted who they had visited so that the requests for further visits could be followed up with by the local believers.

The third team went to the same neighborhood as the second team. They planned to visit their existing contacts and extend an invitation for their children to participate in children’s classes. At four homes there were positive responses without hesitation to this invitation. At one home they shared a healing prayer for an ailing family member. Appreciation was expressed for the invitation to the children’s classes.

The teams all joined together to reflect on their experiences. The first team decided to offer to visit the church of the bookstore owner to give a presentation, as well as invite her to attend devotions at the Bahá’í Center. Plans were made to follow up with requests for return visits. We also reflected on the overwhelmingly positive responses to the children’s classes. It was noted that the people we had met had a lot of trust in their neighbor who was a Bahá’í, which made it very easy and natural to accept invitations to the children’s classes.

We look forward to the next steps in this endeavor. We are excited to start the children’s classes and need community support as we have about 10 children ready to begin.

As a follow up to the above report:

Since the teaching effort, 2 neighborhood classes on opposite sides of town have started, each with 3 to 5 children participating.

In Loving Service,


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