Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Empowering new and old friends in Springdale

The friends in Springdale, AR (B) have been teaching up a storm. There is so much to celebrate in this recent cluster report, both in terms of the learning that has been gained and the results that have been achieved. The friends are working with a receptive population, empowering old and new believers alike through the institute process, and engaging Local Spiritual Assemblies and Bahá’ís on campus. Two important areas of growth are their children’s classes and home visits.

Enrollments: 3 new Bahá’ís this cycle, 9 so far this year.

Friends arising to serve: 17 participants in a recent teaching project in Springdale, 26 homes visited, 17 return visits requested. . . .

Empowerment of new believers: 2 believers have finished studying Book 1 and will start Book 2. One of them will host the next Feast, as well as begin receiving home visits. Another believer has started Book 1, received a home visit, will give a fireside with 2 other believers next Friday, and will cook for a Holy Day celebration.

Empowerment of veteran believers: Around 5 friends shared Anna’s presentation for the first time during the direct teaching project. Around 15 Bahá’ís have taken training for and/or grasped the importance of the Book 2 deepening themes and their use in home visits. Several friends in a number of communities have carried out their first ever home visits, and additional believers are ready and making plans to do their own home visits.

Empowerment of Local Spiritual Assemblies: A member of the Regional Bahá’í Council visited the cluster and conducted a training for Local Spiritual Assemblies about the Institute process—right before Unit Convention. The training reviewed the skills and acts of service tied to each Ruhi book.

Children’s classes: 4 classes are active and continuing, and 1 new one has started this cycle. 2 of these are composed entirely of children from the wider community.

University Bahá’í club: It is formed and active and will have a regular devotional gathering, as well as firesides every other week.

Insights about receptive population: The main receptive population in this cluster is the Marshallese community. Most want to study the Ruhi Books and listen to the deepening themes in Marshallese. So we need to raise the number of Marshallese tutors and individuals who can make home visits.

There are already 2 confirmed Marshallese tutors, and another 2 just need to complete Book 7 to finish the sequence. Several Marshallese friends also learned the first part of the first deepening theme. They found it very useful. They like the idea of giving this theme in Marshallese, but request a non-Marshallese Bahá’í to accompany them to pray and answer questions if needed. So there is an opportunity for more of the non-Marshallese friends to work together and bond with the Marshallese through accompaniment.

To raise more Marshallese resources to carry out home visits, we will go theme by theme, practicing each one in the field before moving on to the next one.

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