Monday, March 1, 2010

This neighborhood has taught us how to be more open

Some people homefront pioneer to another cluster, but some of the believers also homefront pioneer WITHIN their cluster to a receptive neighborhood!  In the past we have posted truly inspiring stories about “Bahá’í villages” in other parts of the country, and this story from Washington, DC (A) is equally delightful.  Why did these Bahá’ís move to a particular neighborhood?  Because they fell in love with it and with the people who lived there.  Their new home has become the center of a growing pattern of activity that form the building blocks of a new spiritual community.  But most of all, you can see their joy at how their homefront pioneering has brought them the chance to make friendships with people they otherwise might never have met.
In the Spring of 2009, one neighborhood in DC was the focus of collective teaching.  One of the believers was touched by the warm and friendly nature of the residents.  He and his wife fell in love with the neighborhood as they connected with the residents and shared Bahá’u’lláh’s Message.  The decision to homefront pioneer within their own cluster to this neighborhood came easily. . . .

Since their move, the couple continues to make friendly connections with neighbors and they strive to have meaningful conversations with them on spiritual matters.  They formed a neighborhood children’s class and continue to maintain it with the assistance of others including a seeker who has been deeply moved by this involvement in the classes.
Their home is open to the systematic study of the institute courses, is a base for weekly children’s classes, and serves as a base during expansion phase direct collective teaching projects.  They have hosted a neighborhood 19 Day Feast in their home and organize regular home visits in which members of the cluster gather at their home to pray and then go visit neighbors and friends.  In addition, they are working towards establishing a junior youth group.
They share their thoughts:
The opportunity for service is as incredible as we could ever have hoped for.  The community is warm and friendly and always eager to invite us over when they hear we are new to the neighborhood.
The obvious benefit has been the joy that has come from being able to befriend so many people, people from different cultural backgrounds that we otherwise would have never gotten to know.
One night we spent two hours at the home of one of our new neighbors.  When one of his children saw us, he seemed surprised that we were there.  We then had a great discussion about the oneness of humanity, and this father was so pleased that we were now friends.
In fact, the community we now live in has taught us how to be more open about expressing our love for humanity to strangers and people we hardly know—here it’s commonplace.

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