Thursday, January 8, 2009

True Accompaniment

This beautiful story from Washington, DC (A) is not only a great example of the effectiveness of using Anna’s presentation in a fireside setting, it also shows how the core activities help empower new believers to become human resources in their communities. The description of what accompaniment is in the last paragraph is PRICELESS and speaks for itself.

Beloved friends,

This past weekend a fireside was held in the Washington DC cluster using Anna’s presentation. Two Baha’is gave the presentation, one with experience using it, and one who had recently declared her Faith during one of the neighborhood teaching projects.

This detailed and illuminating account helps to illustrate the importance of accompaniment and raising up new resources to undertake services within the Faith.

On Sunday night, there was a fireside. Many people participated in building this event – one person offered the location, another cooked and brought food, dishes were done by yet another, different people invited seekers. There were 11 people present, including 4 seekers. . . .

The fireside program was the full content of Anna’s presentation, given by two people, one with experience with this material and the other who had recently become a believer during a neighborhood teaching project. The two are now close friends and co-workers, studying and teaching together. After this new believer completed Book 1 she began a weekly study with her teacher of the content of Anna’s presentation so that she could teach others who were asking her all the time about the Faith. This fireside was her first opportunity to use this tool in its entirety. She had so far taught her friends about the Faith more informally, but with her study of Anna’s presentation she was ready to enthusiastically accept the invitation to co-present at a fireside.

At this fireside she shared the part of the presentation about the law of prayer, during which she also spoke about how she became a Baha’i through “some people coming to my home and telling me all these beautiful things about unity, about love, and telling me they come from Baha’u’llah. This is what I believed all my life, and if they had not come to my home, I would never have known the Source.” She also spoke about the power of prayer and the power of Baha’u’llah in her life.

At the end, when the friends present were all invited to consider how much higher and how much farther we can go to share this Message, and the seekers were invited to embrace the Faith, she talked about how much she loved this experience, that was “soul reviving” and “just exactly what I needed, and what everyone needs.”

The seekers shared the effect this had on them, how they felt, what their questions were. Plans were made to follow up with each of them.

This event was a good example of the importance of working to nurture new people and trusting their abilities. The “new” believer saw that she can fearlessly put into practice what she has been studying, and working together with another Bahá’í added richness and vigor to the presentation. Accompaniment is something we are still learning about. It is not simply calling a person, inviting them to do things, or going with them to one activity or another. It instead means truly seeking out opportunities for this person to participate, trusting that he or she can carry out increasingly complex acts of service and will bring insights and capacities to these activities that contribute to building new patterns of community life.

No comments: