Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On Using Anna's Presentation: The Stories Roll In, Our Learnings Are Shared

This is the news story buzzing around our cluster via email of the events of the first weekend of the current Expansion Phase of intensive teaching, as chronicled by one dear soul. -gw

We started off with a bang on Saturday as 26 friends (including 3 friends from outside the cluster) gathered in the home of one of the believers for a Direct Teaching Training led by an experienced facilitator. She led us through "Anna's presentation" from Ruhi Book 6, analizing the concepts in each section. There was lively and focused discussion around each concept. She shared an outline of the presentation for the friends to use, and beautiful cards with the quotations that are shared during the presentation. The participants enthusiastically practiced giving the presentation, and then 20 friends were able to go out in teams on Saturday afternoon to 11 home visits with 14 seekers or friends who were willing to listen. (And there were more visits using Anna's presentation on Sunday.) Here are gleanings from the stories of a few of those visits:

One team visited a lady who is health practitioner and friend of one of them. The friend's husband made a special trip from home to hear the presentation at this lady's office, and a colleague in the office also asked if she could stay to hear it. All were interested and enthusiastic, and said they wanted to keep going even when the presenters pointed out that it was getting close to dinner time. When the Bahai's forgot to include things, the contacts would ask questions that related to the concepts they had left out. All seemed receptive and will be followed up with invitations to core activities.

One couple gave the presentaton to the wife's mother. Though they have been Baha'is for decades, they had never shared directly the essence of the Faith with her, as she had never asked. The friends were able to share the presentation and there were many questions including "how do you know this is true?" and "do you really believe this?" The mother surprized them with her knowledge of some facts about the life of the Bab, and shared that she had read some of the books at their home. These friends were very happy to learn this, and pleased that they had overcome their reluctance to share their beliefs with a close family member.

Another team visited a friend and client. Since the Baha'i had been teaching her friend, she already knew something about the Faith, and started to talk about Baha'u'llah's suffering even before the team got to that point in the presentation. This friend's profession involves selling alcohol, so the team was concerned about the section on the prohibition on alcohol. They shared it and focused on our nobility as human beings. The seeker mentioned that she has a friend who doesn't handle alcohol well and when she sees her it makes her not want to drink. She said that maybe this person is a gift to her to see the truth in this law. She said that she believed the world is changing and people don't know the source, but we do. She loved the quotation cards, asked if she could keep them and said they would be beautiful framed.

A participant made a visit to a seeker who called our local phone after a friend of a friend who was participating in a Ruhi 1 circle in GA advised him to look up the Baha'is. This Baha'i has been visiting, following up and inviting this contact to book 1 and devotionals, but he has yet to attend. The seeker has had varied religious experiences, has been involved with a liberal Catholic church, knows prayers in Arabic and Jewish prayers, and is seeking a faith that is big enough to encompass his large view of what religion should be. (This is why the friend recommended he seek us out.) Our Baha'i friend, an experienced and enthusiastic direct teacher, felt that he (himself) has crossed a threshold with his teaching. He used Anna's presentation completely. When the seeker was handed a card for the next quote, he would immediately read it without being asked. The energy was intense and it was very interactive from beginning to end. They went off on a few side discussions to honor the seeker's interests, but otherwise stayed to the presentation. This seeker is very attracted to the long obligatory prayer (including ablutions) and also to the idea of chanting and singing the Word of God. Devotions in the seekers home were suggested and he was receptive. Another invitation to book 1 was made, and the direct invitations to join the Faith were given. Our teacher felt he got this seekers attention in a very dramatic way.

Watch for more stories (and more first person accounts) in the coming days!

Friends, please continue to pray for the teaching efforts during this phase of our cycle. And continue to find opportunities to share the message and expand our community of interest. We are all capable of sharing the Message, but if you have a seeker and would like someone from a team who has recently studied Anna's presentation to present it to them, please let us know and we will find a team to do that!! And teams who attended the training, please continue to share the presentation as many times as you can this week, and share your stories.

Here is one lesson learned and shared by our facilitator: We used to think that a person who was receptive to the Faith was someone who was asking questions. We now know that a receptive person is someone who is willing to listen! So find out who among your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers is willing to listen, and share Anna's presentation! You may be amazed at the response!


David said...

Hello, I have added this post to Bahaikinews :)

Warm regards,

Cristy said...

I am interested in the outline and quote cards used for Anna's presentation. Please contact me:

Anonymous said...

I've always felt that one of the main purposes of the Ruhi courses is to help the individual find their own voice when teaching. I think some people's HUGE emphasis on everyone doing "Anna's presentation" is defeating the point of this true teaching from the heart! Also, Anna and Amellia (who received Anna's presentation) are BEST friends in book 6 not someone who Anna just met or kinda knows. My point is....I think that Anna's presentation is often being taken out of context.