Thursday, January 21, 2010

On Tacoma Teaching Stories: Just compiled

World War II-Era Neighborhood Revitalization Project Garners Multiple Awards

The Salishan neighborhood in Tacoma, Washington originally provided temporary housing for shipbuilders and other industry laborers during the Second World War. After decades of decline, the 188-acre site is now being transformed into an award-winning neighborhood of low-income rental homes, market rate properties—and a healthy dose of community services and greenbelts.
Our designated storytellers have talked with the Baha'i teachers that went out into the Hilltop and Salishan neighborhods during the recent intensive and offer this combined narrative. -gw
A team went to visit a lady who one of them knows from their involvement in the neighborhood.  She is Russian-speaking, but can speak English.  She said she is Christian and was not interested, but when the other team member recited one of the Hidden Words in Russian the ice was broken and she invited them in.  They talked about Christ returning as “a thief in the night”.  She had very deep questions and agreed about life after death.  She has been wanting to have prayer gatherings with her Russian-speaking friends as they often pray about difficulties in the neighborhood, and the Baha’i friend offered her home.  She would like some Baha’i books in Russian.  This team learned what an impact it has when we use the Words of Baha’u’llah, especially in someone’s native tongue. 
Another team met a mom and her six children, ages 5-17.  They were invited in, they gave the first three sections of the presentation in the process of their discussion.  The older children were invited to come in and listen.  They felt this family was very receptive and strong.  Three learnings for the team:  driving around to get a feeling of where it would be best to start before choosing where to start; inviting the bright-eyed youth to come and hear the presentation; inviting themselves back to visit the next day.  They have a very good feeling about this family and made a heart and spiritual connection.  The family had been homeless until recently and is new to the neighborhood.  The mom wants her children to be virtuous.  A team returned to visit this family the next day.  The mom was ready for them.  The team came with children and demonstrated a children’s class.  This mom has had a lot of suffering and injustice in her life and connected with the team member who lives nearby.  This mom is open to developing a spiritual life for herself and family and needs support.  They talked about the elements of a children’s class and shared “O God Guide Me” from Spanish prayer book.  Her 15 yr old daughter checked out the Faith on the internet and liked what she saw.  The family was invited to come to neighborhood children’s classes and they will also explore the idea of doing a book 1 with the mom and older daughter. 
A team met wonderful woman who asked them to come in.  They visited, shared prayers, spent an hour there.  She liked the jr youth program and there will be follow up with granddaughter.  One team member’s learnings:  it felt clumsy, but you have to learn by doing to become more comfortable (just talking about it will not work).  It’s about connecting hearts and you have to go where the hearts want to go – making friends.  She felt privileged to be able to participate.
Another team had a wonderful exchange with a young man who was out working in his yard.  At first he was not that interested, but became more engaged as they chatted.  He was very deep, a good listener with beautiful qualities.  They gave him a card to investigate on the internet.  He is moving soon, but not far away.  He was impressed with the Faith and has studied world religions.  An experienced team member said that he is the most remarkable person she has met so far in this neighborhood and saw an aching heart in search of the Beloved.  The other team member felt that this man seeking.  He was raised Catholic but has looked into Buddhism and Hinduism.  He suggests we go back to reconnect before he moves. 
One team stopped at a home where three Christians were studying the Bible and were invited in to talk about building a spiritual community.  One team member said she usually doesn’t get far with committed Christians, but they spent and hour and a half there.  They had open hearts.  They talked about Christian topics, such as how can Jesus be God, and the return of Christ.  They read book 6 quote cards together.  They were welcomed to come back any time.  Intense!  Reading the words of Baha’u’llah had an effect on them.  
A teacher wanted to connect with a seeker he has been teaching who we met last cycle.  He was able to assist with a needed ride due to a family emergency.  A friend was also given a ride and the seeker shared about the Faith with him. 
A Baha’i met with a mom whose two children are attending CC at Lisa’s.  She gave the presentation all the way to the laws.  The mom had lots of insightful comments.  She has a Jehovah Witness background and is definitely interested. 
A team had over an hour conversation with and older African-American woman and gave ¾ of the presentation.  This lady is a devout Christian, and she reached out to hold hands as they said two prayers.  She acknowledged the truth of the words of God, and heard that Baha’u’llah is the return of Christ.  She agreed to a return visit – the team member will bring a Baha’i friend who was previously a Christian minister

Posted via email from Baha'i Views

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