A Few Notes about Las Lomas:
1) Las Lomas is located in a more rural part of Trinidad, but is still relatively close to shopping areas and other businesses (this means there are more bugs, more greenery, and less houses)
2) Rúhíyyíh Khanum once visited this area of Trinidad and specifically to the village that we are currently focusing some attention on.
3) We Love Las Lomas.
Since our last post, several new activities have begun in the community in Las Lomas that we are very thankful for - thankful for the ability to participate in them and thankful simply for the sense that something very positive is happening in the Cluster. Some of these new developments include: Two new neighborhood children's classes, a new Junior Youth Group, and a new youth study circle (plus all the exciting joys that spring from these activities). Oh, and also many new friends and contacts. Yet the most exciting part by far for us is not just that these activities are happening, but that we are not the ones doing them (or not alone at least)! And the knowledge that, God willing, long after we are gone these important activities will continue. Our role in these activities has been that of the assistant, the co-tutor, or even just the encourager. The more others are leading these activities, the happier we are.
Now let's tell a little bit about some of the cool things we have seen coming out of these activities and what we have been learning about them.
Book 1 Study Circle
This study circle is composed of 5 youth - 4 young ladies, all of whom are 16 yrs old, and one young man who is 18 yrs old. Andy, Cheryl, and another young adult in our cluster cotutor the study circle. All of the participants are very sweet and majority of them very shy at the beginning. Now, after several weeks of meeting together each Saturday afternoon, we are becoming closer to the participants and builder stronger friendships each week. Even though the participants are pretty close to our own ages, I think we sometimes feel as if they are our children and we are there watching them grow and develop. Just this past weekend we reached the end of the unit on Prayer. It was now time to go on our first outing to do the practice - Prayer Visits. Thankfully, most of the participants who were able to come that day had forgotten that we were doing prayer visits that day, or I don't think they would have come at all. As soon as I mentioned, to one participant, what we were doing that day; a look of horror suddenly appeared on her face. However, I linked arms with her and we continued on our way to the meeting spot. During prayers, after everyone had gathered together, one participant mentioned the idea about praying for rain so that we would be forced to cancel the visits for the day. It didn't rain.
We decided to split up in to two groups of three and each group would plan how they would help each other carry out the prayer visit. In one of the groups, we decided that one person would introduce why we were there and how we had been learning about prayer, the next person would read the prayer, someone would initiate the study/discussion of the prayer, and then we would leave the prayer card (which were made in the group the previous weekend) as a gift for the family in that home.
I could tell that by the end of the visit, the participant in my group felt that it had been well accomplished and when we saw the other group approaching from their visit one of the girls was smiling and started doing an "I did it" dance. The next visit for each group was then carried out, with everyone feeling more confident in their ability to share and study the prayer with others. The joy and sense of accomplishment felt by everyone in the end was such a complete turn around from their initial fears and lack of confidence. We were able to see that capacity was being developed by role playing and carrying out the practice and realized that we are all at different stages in our ability to serve and that we all need help from each other.
Another success in this area is that previous to this group, all of our study circles were actually "study points" or one on ones and not the real study circle envisioned by the Ruhi institute. We were very glad to make this step to a more dynamic experience. One thing we learned in starting this group was that it is good to set a goal for the number of participants and not be satisfied with just starting with one or two. Our goal was to have 10 participants, we talked to over ten people, and ended up with a group of 5. This helped us to see that like any activity you have to talk to a lot of people to end up with a good sized group. Also, that when starting a group it is important to tell potential participants of the need to have a larger group and in that way, they will lead you to their friends and neighbors.
Next post: Junior Youth Group and Learnings