Thursday, January 26, 2012

Stop Starting a Junior Youth Group

Our dear Leili has officially left us. She found love and higher education far off in the capital. Alas, we can't compete with that. She did, however, leave behind some gems for us, a junior youth group (JYG) among them. Sometime in mid-December, Leili, Martine and I meandered through a lively neighborhood, visiting the JYG's homes. We invited each girl--yup, all females, interestingly--to a junior youth group meeting the next day where we would realize a service project that they had conjured up in weeks prior. Having visited all the participants' homes, talked with parents and made concrete plans for our service project the following day, we headed back home.
The next day? You guessed it. It rained. A lot. Martine and I actually made it part way there, under an umbrella, dedicated. We then realized that the service project, painting oil drums, could not be done indoors. We made a phone call and sure enough, all assumed cancellation.
We went again the next week to talk about another meeting time. Why don't you just Facebook them all? Make a few phone calls? We're not in Kansas, darling. Face-to-face is how its done here in most neighborhoods. We only remembered how to get to two houses. "Yeah, yeah. Tuesday at 5ish. Sounds good." We shared some prayers and were on our way. I was going to be gone at Baha'i Winter School, but Martine would carry on without me. Guess what? That meeting didn't happen either.
Christmas week passed, painfully slowly for myself, flying by for others. And with Gregorian New Year under our belts, we decided to make another round of visits to attempt starting up the group... again? "Is tomorrow good for you? How about you? Great. Tell all the girls."
An emergency blood donation was needed and Jesse was a match. Martine took him to the hospital. My insanely elementary sense of direction forced another cancellation that day, Tuesday. No way I could find any of the homes by myself yet. We went Wednesday instead. I brought my camera along to take pictures of all the turns and streets along the way. A personalized map, if you will. The hostess and her cousin were waiting. Success! We spent a wonderful couple of hours together and vowed to do it again the following week. Tuesday? Yeah. Tuesday.
Martine flew away to the States. I overcame my severe directional handicap (the picture map helped immensely) and successfully arrived at the one and only junior youth's home I knew how to get to: the hostess'. Good house to know. Her mother eyed me as I walked up, "She went to her grandmother's. Said something about if you called, say she couldn't meet today."
"I'll be back next week," I smiled, then just sat down next to the woman. I needed to soak in the glory of arriving at an obscure destination #allbymyself.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." (Ecc 3:1) Now, if I could just read the fine print. The American in me would love to have a specific day and time! Perhaps that's the lesson.
"And now I give you a commandment which shall be for a covenant between you and Me--that ye have faith. That your faith be steadfast as a rock that no storms can move, that nothing can disturb, and that it endure through all things even to the end; .... As ye have faith so shall your powers and blessings be." ('Abdu'l-Baha)
Word. I'll let you know what happens next Tuesday. Or maybe I'll just show up there on Monday.

*Junior youth groups are made up of young people between the ages of 12-14 who gather together regularly to learn how to serve their communities, develop their powers of expression and sharpen their capacity to understand the moral implications of their thoughts and actions. (

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