Tuesday, February 24, 2009

From CDF to ATC in an Instant

Happily, an Area Teaching Committee (ATC) has been appointed for our cluster in advance of our upcoming A-stage status as of April. I am excited about the possibilities of an ATC as I've always felt a little unreliable as the Cluster Development Facilitator.

While I was appointed secretary of the ATC, which means that many of my responsibilities remain the same, I will be glad to have the two additional people to hound me about getting done what I said I'd get done. I'm a procrastinator and it helps to have others to keep me on-task. Even if I don't get something done because I need to, oftentimes, I will manage to get it done when I know there is someone ready to pick up the phone and take me to task for my inaction. It is not an ideal existence but I recognize it and am working to make improvements

Like a prescient confirmation of our new status, I came across a quote from the Universal House of Justice, “…there is little need for lengthy and frequent consultations to set direction and devise and rethink fundamental plans" (Turning Point, p. 255). Yea!

That said, we will have to meet soon to make plans for our first official IPG and it will take concentrated effort to generate support and enthusiasm for our new status and we will spend a little too much time going round and round on some over-wrought plans. At the same time, it means that the extent to which we refine and systematize our consultations will reflect on our ability to meet less and put more time into action in the field.

To all those clusters scheduled for A-stage status by Ridvan 2009... Keep working! It is an amazing and historic time that will regarded by history as a turning point in the fortunes of the Faith.

And I'll keep working on my procrastination issues. :)

(The book
Turning Point published by Palabra is a wonderful collection of messages and supplementary material from the World Centre.)

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Beauty of Tag Team Teaching

I remember very clearly when Mr. Aghdasi said that if we were persistent in following through with systematic, on-going neighborhood children's classes, in about six months we would start to see results in the form of enrollments. Well, here we are 6-7 months after Project Badi rolled into town and started our classes for us and we just had our 4th adult declaration and 3rd child registration in a month!

While I could write a long time about the children's classes and how persistence paid off, etc, really I need to say something about how some of these declarations are happening. This post is really an homage to those persistent teachers who never give up even when they are not the ones holding the freshly signed declaration card.

There is a small but growing group of friends who are teaching on a regular basis in our neighborhood of focus. Two women, in particular, go out every weekend to conduct home visits and door-to-door teaching; and their work is paying off.

It all started when the Universal House of Justice called for the 41 conferences and we, here in Southwest Florida, started to work to get the friends to Atlanta. Originally, my family was going to take several of the friends but as our van filled, we realized we needed more alternatives.

As if it were meant to be, Anne realized she would have a car to drive. Then, Connie agreed to ride with her... It was meant to be and it only gets more confirming!

We received a call that a nearby seeker (who met a Baha'i in an airport) needed a ride to the conference. Anne and Connie agreed to go out of their way and pick the seeker and her friend up an hour north of here then drive the 9-10 hours to Atlanta. As the story is retold later, they talked almost all the way up about the Faith and she declared at the conference. Yea!

When Anne and Connie got back from the conference, they made a pact to go do home visits and teaching on a weekly basis and they haven't looked back. A couple weeks ago, their efforts paid off again! After presenting Anna's presentation to a mother during children's classes, the next week another friend was able to secure a declaration card from her.

Talk about effective tag-team teaching! In both instances, it was not necessarily Anne and Connie who got the signed declaration card but the importance of their contribution cannot be understated! If it were not for their hard work and dedication, it is likely those declarations would not have been realized. Thank you!!!

Some people are very good teachers and others are very good closers. We need to remember to thank everyone for their contribution to the work. As the Universal House of Justice said in their December 6, 2008 letter to the conferences in the United States... May all find a part to play. May all appreciate the contributions of others.

Anne and Connie... You have no idea how much I appreciate the work you are doing!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Embarrassingly, I spent too much time dwelling on the notion that all of the truly great female workers of the Cause were either single or did their best work after the children left the house. This is true and yet, not really true. We all have our own individual cup to fill; and everyone works on their own cup within their own individual circumstances.

is true that the travel teaching/pioneering greats... Martha Root, Agnes Alexander, Marion Jack, etc... were single. At the same time, there were plenty of greats who worked tirelessly while serving as mothers; Corinne True being the best example I can think of right now. Her service, while largely confined to the city of Chicago and her home, was beyond compare. Others raised their kids and then jumped into the field of service with unmatched zeal (such as Dorothy Baker).

What I wrestle with constantly is the balance in my life. It is not that the kids keep me busier than anyone else but it's that I'm always consumed with the little things, mundane and not-so-mundane, that make up a part of raising kids and keeping a house clean. When I add in all the things I am supposed to be doing as Assembly secretary and Cluster Development Facilitator, it is a recipe for failure unless I put it all in the proper perspective.

For me, that perspective is that even though I can't do it all, I can do a lot well. Each day is a new day. Each day is a fresh one in which to forgive myself for the failings of the previous day and try again. Each day is an opportunity to improve a little more, to get one more thing on my list done, and to teach one more person.

It is hard to hold myself up to the standard set by those selfless maidservants of the Faith who came before me and not feel unworthy. That said, as suggested by our Auxiliary Board member,
I need to be more patient with myself.