Thursday, April 29, 2010

Engaging classmates with the vision of junior youth empowerment

Here is the second teaching story from the latest cycle of the intensive program of growth in New York City (A), this one focusing on a university campus!  The Bahá’ís are engaging their classmates by sharing the vision of the junior youth spiritual empowerment program—and directly inviting their active participation.  And that’s not all!  The core activities, the habit of engaging in spiritual conversations, and the institute process are all creating an exciting atmosphere.
One teaching team consisting of four youth studying at one of the universities here has been saying daily the teaching prayer for the Northeast states and the prayer for New York to attract divine confirmations in a spirit of unity.  They have been sharing with friends and classmates the significance of a junior youth empowerment program, explaining that it helps junior youth navigate through a crucial period of their lives and provides a space for junior youth to explore and develop their moral, language and cognitive capacities, within a group context of study, discussion and service.  The teaching team has been inviting their friends to help them start a junior youth group and also to participate with them in a Book 5 training to provide them with the practical and spiritual capacities to animate a junior youth group.  The team has also been inviting friends and classmates to join a Book 1 study circle. . . .

One teaching team member decided to reach out to a student who had previously contacted the university’s Bahá’í Club this year and expressed interest, but had not yet attended any events.  The team member had realized the seeker lived in her same building, and the seeker responded enthusiastically to an informal, informational meeting in the team member's dorm room.  They were joined by another very receptive seeker, and all three talked very naturally for 2 hours, discussing the seeker's questions about devotional gatherings, youth year of service, and all going over a children's class lesson from Book 3 (including a story from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s life!).  All members seemed very pleased to have taken the time to meet and really connect to one another's hearts through conversation elevated by Baha'i teachings.

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