Thursday, March 12, 2009

"It is my duty to tell everyone and not decide who is or is not ready"

Last month we saw an inspiring story shared by an individual believer from Scottsdale, AZ (A) about how the Regional Bahá’í Conference she attended transformed and encouraged her, and the children’s classes she started with her friends and neighbors. Here is an update on the classes, as well as some reflections on sharing the Faith directly in a spirit of openness and detachment without any agenda—or assumptions. Once again, you can see the high interest in children’s classes.

One of the many promises I made to myself after the Regional Bahá’í Conference in Los Angeles was that I WAS going to start a children's class for my younger children ages 10 and 7. I promised myself that I would send an e-mail to my friends, the mothers of the 10 year old girls my older daughter is friends with. So in the new year, when school had started again, I did just that.

I had learned about the new Ruhi Book 3A and needed to see it right away as I was told it was made for older kids. So __ was kind enough to meet with me one on one and go over the first lesson with me. Though I probably need to meet with her more and go over more lessons with her, I went ahead and sent my e-mail to my friends hoping for the best, but really expecting the worst. . . .

At first I was a little surprised that all but one accepted to bring their children to come to the Book 3A class Friday's after school. Yes, one mom was very honest with me and said that this was not for her and her daughter, but we are still great friends. I said no problem. My friends know that my friendship with them is not dependent on whether or not they are receptive to my Faith. And I did have 10 other moms who said YES after all!

So began my Book 3A class for my 10 year old daughter and her friends. It just so happens that a lot of the 10 year old friends of my older daughter also have sisters the same age as my younger daughter. I mentioned to one of the moms, who is one of my close friends, how great it would be to have another class with the younger ones, but unfortunately I didn't know if I could find a teacher in time for Friday's class. To my surprise she offered to teach the class if I felt that she could do a good job. I said yes right away and so that is how our Book 3 children's class began. It is held at the same time as the Book 3A.

All of this was great. To add to my good fortune, a wonderful Bahá’í neighbor and friend and an expert in Book 3 (because she's done it so many times) offered to accompany my friend in her efforts with the Book 3 class and provide the materials. So far we have had three classes.

To further my good fortune, other moms had heard about this class through their kids in school and took the initiative to write or call me about whether it would be ok for their children to come as well. I was stunned. I couldn't believe that I was being approached instead of me approaching others.

So our classes grew larger.

In the classes we tried to memorize the quotes from the Writing. Things go slowly, but the children are trying hard and learning, and they love to say the quotes. There are amazing stories. This class is showing me the purity, strong spiritual connection with God, and capacity of the children.

I feel very humbled by what I have seen. I have decided to never ever judge the capacity of anyone as it related to the Bahá’í Faith. It is my duty to tell EVERYONE about it, not to decide who should hear about it and who is not ready. This is not to say that I haven't had my share of e-mails telling me that "this is not for me at this time," or "I'm sorry, but I can't come to your devotional." In fact, I just had a devotional last week that no one came to or RSVPed. So I prayed by myself. I was not the least bit upset, hurt, or dismayed. I'm having another devotional tomorrow and another one next week. I am offering a gift. If no one can accept it for the time being, then I will partake of it myself. I'm not sad, ashamed, or hopeless. I am overjoyed at having overcome one of my biggest barriers in teaching the Faith, that barrier being myself.

With love,


Scottsdale, AZ

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