5 things to do while you’re waiting for the 95 youth conferences

what's happened to me?!?So, you’ve heard the news. In a letter dated 8 February 2013, the Universal House of Justice announced the convocation of 95 youth conferences across the globe. And whether you live in Kinshasa or Kiribati, in Auckland or Atlanta, in Chisinau or Cochabamba, you’re hyped. The excitement is coursing through your veins like a fever, and the only prescription is for summer to come as quickly as possible.

But why wait? You can start preparing right now for your local youth conference, whether it’s in July, October or any time in between. Here are five little tips—call them humble suggestions—that can help you pass the time constructively until the time for your local youth conference rolls around.

  1. Brush up on the latest guidance. You’ve probably read the 8 February 2013 message already; why not take a half-hour out of your morning to study it a little more? You’ll get a sense of what the 95 conferences will be all about, and why exactly the Universal House of Justice is calling on you right now. If you haven’t managed to get yourself a copy of the letter yet, get in touch with the closest Spiritual Assembly or Auxiliary Board Member, and ask if they could send it over. And while you’re at it, make plans to study other important pieces of guidance, too. The 2010 Ridván message is a good one, as are the 28 December 2010 and 12 December 2011 messages.
  2. Get trained up—especially with Ruhi Book 5. Having brushed up on the latest guidance, you’ll probably see a trend emerge: the empowerment of junior youth is a big deal, and a huge part of the Plan. Without knowing much more about the content of the upcoming conferences, then, it’s a safe bet that involvement with junior youth will feature prominently. Getting trained in Book 5 of the Ruhi curriculum—Releasing the Powers of Junior Youth—will give you one up when your local conference rolls around. And beyond that, don’t forget that Ruhi Book 8—The Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh—is being piloted worldwide, and may be available in your area. Studying either one of these is transformative enough on its own—imagine two in a row!
  3. Pick a path of service. The call of the Universal House of Justice is pretty clear: we are standing at a pivotal moment in history. “For the present generation,” they wrote in their 8 February letter, “the moment has come to reflect, to commit, to steel themselves for a life of service from which blessing will flow in abundance.” Naturally, we might wonder: Can I really do a “life of service”? What should I be doing to serve? Well as they say, every journey starts with a single step, and the first step into service is just to pick something and start doing it. Maybe you’ve studied Book 5 and found it awesome, so you might decide to dedicate yourself to empowering and inspiring junior youth. Or maybe you’ve found that you’re best at teaching younger children, or studying the Word of God with other youth or adults, or sharing prayers with others, or visiting those who are isolated or ill, and so on. Wherever it is that your talents lie, you can focus on using them to serve mankind. And if you’re not sure where your path lies, then it doesn’t hurt just to try something out to gain some experience.
  4. Get to know your neighbourhood. Go back ten or fifteen years and ask any youth where they planned to go and offer a year of service, and you’d get a list of destinations scattered across the planet. Nowadays, though, don’t be surprised if you hear friends telling you they’ll be staying right where they are. The focus for service is shifting closer and closer to home—from your own city to your neighbourhood. Whether or not you have concrete plans to serve, a great way to prepare is to just look at your neighbourhood. Are there a lot of young families, elderly couples, single mothers? Do they have young children or junior youth? What are their pastimes, their concerns, and their hopes for the future? The more you learn about your neighbours, the better you can build close, loving connections that will not only enable you to serve better, but uplift the whole community.
  5. Pray, meditate, and conquer yourself. This might just be one of the most important things you can do to prepare. When Shoghi Effendi learned that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had appointed him as the Guardian, he retreated for a long time to Switzerland in order to pray and meditate, until he conquered himself—at which point he returned to the Holy Land to become the Guardian. Prayer gives us strength to meet life’s challenges. In fact, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá assures us that if we pray for strength, it will be given to us, “no matter how difficult the conditions”—no matter how reluctant, inadequate and powerless we may feel. And through meditation and reflection, He explains, one “receives the breath of the Holy Spirit”; meditation “frees man from the animal nature, discerns the reality of things, puts man in touch with God.” The challenge laid before us by the Universal House of Justice will require us to reflect, to commit, and to steel ourselves, calling on a strength that is beyond ourselves, and relying on an abundant flow of blessings—and to accomplish this, deepening our spiritual life through prayer, meditation and reflection will be essential.

Now that the season of the Bahá’í Fast is upon us, we’re joining with Bahá’ís of all ages in every nation in abstaining from food and drink, and, above all, engaging in the more important spiritual Fast, with all the self-reflection, prayer and meditation that it entails. Soon enough, Naw-ruz will be here, ushering a new year full of promise and opportunity—the opportunity for young people across the world “to make a contribution to the fortunes of humanity, unique to their time of life.” What better time than now to start preparing ourselves—reflecting, committing, and steeling ourselves to play our part in writing the future?

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10 thoughts on “5 things to do while you’re waiting for the 95 youth conferences

  1. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. I found it very inspiring. I was thinking on these lines, however now I feel so encouraged and will share with as many of the Youth as possible. I know this will inspire them to prepare themselves, most of all I will make a determined committment as well as studying the ruhi books to also take the potential animators/cc teachers to the field so they can experience the powerful methods and instruments of the Plan in action….so they can experience the wave of receptivity to the Creative word and they can witness the transformative power that lies within it…..doing it is very important….. Allah ‘u’ abha Maggi, Bahamas

  2. Thank for reminding us with important points for the preparation of the youth conference. it helps me to strengthen and become more practical and focused on the plan i had to serve the community working with junior youth and better prepared for the conference in either of the dates places of the conference and ready overcome the restrains i might face to participate in on of them. Thank you very much.

  3. Thanks everyone for the feedback on this post! It’s wonderful to meet youth from around the world who are responding to the call of the Universal House of Justice by reflecting thoughtfully upon how they will serve humanity. And it’s equally wonderful to meet parents and adults who are taking steps to make it easier for these youth to attend these historic conferences and thereby make their mark upon this unique period in world history. Keep sharing your thoughts and reflections, and look for more posts on this topic in the weeks and months to come. Youth can move, will move, and indeed are moving the world.

  4. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I think they are wonderful suggestions, and I hope you don’t mind if I reproduce them in our local newsletter for our youth to read and consider.

  5. Thanks a lot! I will definitely share it with the youth who are presently gathered in Gangtok, Sikkim( India) to study Ruhi books in summer campaign. It will help us all to be focussed on what beloved Universal House of Justice expects us to be at this moment- that is to steel ourselves for a life of service.

  6. The bahai youth conference is so inspiring. What i love most is how our youth and old take part in spreading humanity, they dont choose but hold hands so that our world can be fread from the unhealthy things surrounding us. We want a better place for me and for u, if we play far from the Holy name nothing will work out. Lets shine and show others how juicy and sweet the highest name is. I can even go to bed without eating but my stomach will be full of prayer and full of joy because that name makes me wanna scream loud and let my voice travel from country to country saying that name……dnt stop because of Gods side there is no ending point.

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