Sunday, November 16, 2008

One starts the conversation, the other shares the presentation

(Bangkok, 16 November)

Here is an excerpt from two very interesting reports from a teaching project held at a university in Bangkok:

"What we learnt most from our experience from going teaching at the University is courage, because this time we had to teach people who we did not know..."

After many prayers and planning, we broke into teaching teams and went direct teaching at Ramkhamhaeng University . This site was decided upon for several reasons: a higher number of people are available to approach, the student population tends to be younger and more open to new ideas, and the university is closely located to many of those who would be available for consolidation.

Our group of three went straight to an area of study Salas where many people were sitting. We sat down looking for small groups of one or two individuals. We saw a group of two young women, and without hesitation, walked up and introduced ourselves. We asked if they were free to listen for about 20 minutes about the Baha'i Faith. They confirmed, and we broke out Anna's presentation. We went through the first part of the presentation until we came to the time to ask our "checkpoint" questions. We asked if "the teachings they heard about would be hard to follow?" They answered 'no'. We asked "Did they believe that Baha'u'llah was a prophet of God for today?" They answered 'yes'. Encouraged by their responses, we then collected contact information and chatted for a few minutes. One of the young women hadn't slept the whole night as she had worked the night shift at a local mini mart so we said our goodbyes.

- Aa.

Last Saturday, we had a chance to go teaching at the Ramkhamheng University which we had a chance to teach two people. First was Mr. Salit. Since this was the first time that our team (I and Jit) decided to go out and teach total strangers, we were so nervous and scared. It took us a while to finally build up the courage to go up to strangers but finally we decided to approach Khun Salit. We planed it in such a way that one of us would be the one who starts the conversation and the other would share the Anna’s presentation. This time Jit went in first to approach him and I was the one who shared the Anna’s presentation. The sharing part went smoothly; he did not ask many questions, probably because he was shy. Afterwards we gave him a pamphlet to keep for further information and asked for his contact number...

What we learnt most from our experience from going teaching at the University is courage, because this time we had to teach people who we did not know at all which is something we have never done before and is very difficult. There were times when we got rejected or perceived as weird, but after a few times it gets easier, even though that day no one we taught declared, our hearts we filled with joy and happiness.

- Ar.

(Reported from the Bangkok Cluster Growth Committee)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Learning about planning and human resources

(IL, 14 November)

Here are a couple of key learnings gained in the Chicago, IL (A-stage) cluster:

Study circles can be very effective when they are in small groups, for example a 2 or 3 people including the tutor. It helps respond directly to a seeker’s needs, there is no time wasted in waiting to put together a group, and after the study circle has started, there is more flexibility.

Planning in the last few cycles has been first strategy based and second resource based. A key learning has been that planning should be resource based first and then strategy based as well. This is related to learning gained about teaching and the institute process. We have learned that if the friends participate in the institute process without being involved in teaching, it slows down the teaching work, just as we have learned that if people participate in teaching without also being involved in the institute process it creates challenges for follow-up activities with new believers. A balance of both is needed for growth, so the cluster institute coordinators are working with the tutors to strengthen the friends’ understanding of—and participation in—the institute process.