Friday, March 20, 2009

Evanston-Skokie IPG Day 6

The friends in Evanston-Skokie, IL (A) decided that, during this cycle of their IPG, they would focus on their community of interest and directly share the Faith with their friends and colleagues. This focused effort has led to wonderful, joyful, inspiring encounters. This beautiful story shows a contact reaching out, and the friends reaching back. It involves a devotional gathering, a home visit to directly present the fundamental verities of the Faith, and connecting a new believer with the institute process in a framework of service.

Tonight, we have a new Bahá'í, A, who is N’s friend. Whenever N had a chance, he would bring up spiritual topics with her and directly teach the Bahá'í Faith. A month ago, the N and his wife invited A to their home for lunch; on that occasion, which became a fireside, A told of her spiritual search. She asked for help to hold a prayer gathering on the one-year anniversary of her father's passing. The Bahá'ís she met at the lunch came to her home for this devotional gathering and met her roommate C, who asked questions about the Faith. So as this next cycle approached, N made an appointment with A for a teaching team to visit her home. . . .

This evening, three friends visited A and C to share the fundamental verities of the Bahá'í Faith.

J, who was meeting A and C for the first time today, had a chance to become acquainted with them over dinner. After eating, C began to ask questions about the Bahá'í holy places in Israel, and H told of Bahá'u'lláh's exiles and imprisonment. Then the group moved to the living room, and J opened a flip-book of Anna's presentation, which she used as a guide, but she conveyed the essential message from her heart. H and E were praying silently and observed the spiritual bond being created between J, A and C.

At the end, J invited both ladies to join the Faith. A said, "Yes, I believe in Bahá'u'lláh." E accepted her enrollment and answered her question about what that entailed. C accepted what was presented was very positive, but was not ready to enroll. She asked to hear more about how H, J and E had become Bahá'í during the next visit. J gave a brief overview of the sequence of courses. She emphasized that each course leads to a path of service that we can each undertake to help build a better world. The group discussed when to meet next, and agreed to share with each other their spiritual journeys and to take a look at the first book in English and C’s mother tongue. Everyone was happy to have been together this evening and looked forward to the next visit.

Afterwards, J reflected on the teaching visit:

Having the support of my teaching team – it was beautiful. It helped that I had lived in C’s country before and feel a special connection with its people. It made me feel happy, like I was pioneering again, but here at home. It was a blessing to have it here.

And about giving Anna's presentation:

I think, the more you practice anything, the more comfortable you feel. I want to read from the booklet even less than I have done. But I like having the visuals; they are helpful.

Looking forward:

I'm excited about having available a version of Reflections on the Life of the Spirit in C’s language. Basically, it is valuable for them to connect with Holy Writings in their own language. I really felt, though C was not ready to register as a Bahá'í, that she was connecting with Bahá'u'lláh. They are both on a spiritual journey, a searching journey and they are coming closer to Bahá'u'lláh.

I have an excited, peaceful feeling, if that is possible – transforming society one heart at a time.

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