pure, kindly, and radiant hearts (take 1)

Today’s lesson: pure, kindly and radiant hearts.

The children’s class started at 3:00pm, to give the leftover crowd time to finish their conversations and return home. We managed to make copies of the colouring pages earlier, using the Centre’s photocopier, and everything else was pretty much taken care of. After a few prayers by the parents (awesome!), we started by singing not one but two songs—”O God Guide Me” in French, and “His First Counsel Is This”, the song that goes with that particular lesson. Having practiced both songs, we presented the lesson (pure, kindly and radiant hearts) and worked on memorizing the quote of the week, and I put the words on my laptop as a memorization aid. We spent a little more time on memorization since … related to me that one of the mothers was hoping there would be more of it, for their child to practice with (she confirmed this at the end of the class).

Afterwards, we told the story of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá emptying a lady’s glass and filling it up. We quizzed the kids to make sure they understood, and they passed admirably. We had a short water break, which allowed us to segue into the game—”The Burning Thirst”, in which they used their outstretched arms to help each other drink from cups of water. Everyone loved it, I think. Finally, we ended off with colouring, having to cut things short at 4:30 (thankfully, I remembered to watch the clock this time). It seemed everyone was appreciative and happy with the progression of the class. At one of the parents’ suggestion, I said I would begin to prepare handouts for the parents to use for practice after each children’s class, to help their children learn the lessons at home. Something really tells me this is going to be the best children’s class I’ve ever taught, at least in terms of interaction with parents. I think the big clincher is that we have the strength of several people in our teaching team working with the parents, and that the job of teaching and following up doesn’t all rest on one person—we can support each other in bringing more and more people into our community of interest.

That’s it for now—glad to be able to report on such a wonderfully productive day. We go through crisis and victory, and I feel as though Saturday was a big victory for us. Here’s wishing us all blessings and confirmations from the Blessed Beauty in our continuing efforts to teach and serve.

unity (take 2)

Sorry I’m late – I’ve been trying to send out reports the day of the children’s class but this time I was lazy I think 😛

Last weekend’s children’s class went off without a hitch; we even got to the Vietnamese Centre a couple minutes after 2 PM and found that … had already come and opened the door, and that … had already arrived with her son. My co-teacher and I taught the first lesson from Book 3 again (on unity), mainly because we realized we hadn’t had time to photocopy the colouring page for the second lesson yet. As well, it gave us the chance to recap our work from the previous week, and to work on memorizing the song (“We Are Drops”) and the quote from that lesson. We played the game described in Lesson 1 together, with everyone taking their turn in the middle once. It’ll definitely be more entertaining once we have more children than adults.

An interesting and relevant observation was made: when the mother asked us if we knew of another song we could sing in French, we went ahead and sang a rendition of “O God, Guide Me” (that is, “O Dieu, Guide Moi”), explaining the French terms along the way. She seemed impressed and showed no objections to the term “God”, as we thought might have arisen from someone of her background. To end off, we sang a melody set to the quote—”So powerful is the light of unity”—again and encouraged each other to remember and practice it. Again, we encouraged both of them to invite friends and acquaintances to the class.

unity (take 1)

This Saturday’s class (Nov. 14th) was less quiet than the previous one as we got our first child in the class and were able to actually teach the class for the first time. yay! … and I arrived at about five minutes to two, and saw …’s contact walking outside with her “very mature” 4-year-old son, trying to see if the door was open (which it wasn’t). We waited a little while for the centre manager to come open the door, which he eventually did, and we passed the time by chatting and singing songs. It was raining, but thankfully we had umbrellas and a little shelter. … and … came by and shared their umbrellas with us too, and we were able to make a few more introductions.

The class was short and simple, which worked out fine. We started with a prayer for children, sang a song (“We Are Drops”) talked a little about unity. We read the story of ‘Abdu’l-Baha and the Christian merchant, which both … and his mom seemed to love. It was a great teaching opportunity for her, who asked questions about the exile of Baha’u’llah in ‘Akka, about ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and so on. Since she was present, we tried to explain the story a little more in detail than we might have otherwise. We skipped the game, but spent a long time colouring—all of us.

At the end, we discussed the class a bit and encouraged both the mother and son to invite ppl they know to come and participate in the children’s class. The son was so cute and told us he knows lots of the kids in his kindergarten class, so we told him to tell his friends in class that he goes to a really fun class where he sings songs and listens to stories and talk about unity.

Let’s hope that things keep on going like this, and that we get more and more people into the class in the coming weeks; still, this is a welcome development. Further to our great conversation this morning,  we should be able to make even greater strides. Thank God for giving us the opportunity to be part of this!

chinatown class (first try)

Saturday’s class was nice and quiet, mainly due to a lack of children showing up (d’oh). We will try to get it going again next weekend. we had a nice chat with …, the director of the Vietnamese centre, who showed up just after 2:00 despite us getting his cell number wrong and being unable to reach him. One good learning is that the apartment above the centre (I.e. the door to the left) is unrelated to the centre, so it’s pointless to knock on it when we’re locked out.

We stayed at the centre for a while; halfway through, a very nice elderly Vietnamese gentleman stopped in because he had seen people coming in and out of the Centre and wondered what was going on. We explained to him what we were doing there and a little about the Faith too. he seemed to be happy to see us, and stayed to chat for a while (and he kept on asking, “where are all the children?”). we asked him to let people know that the children’s class was happening at the centre, in case he knew people who had children nearby.

that’s it for now. thanks be to the Almighty for allowing us to serve in this way.