Malaysian Bahá’ís

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Studying With a Circle of Friends

“We should help build our communities wherever we may be,

irrespective of how long we have been living there”.

 

This is one pact we often hear among friends TJ, Ronnie, Jackie and Loo Jie. They were university friends when someone they knew invited them to a Baha’i study circle.

 

“At first, we were unsure what a study circle was and had reservations since our schedules were already filled with classes, assignments and our own personal activities. However, our friend convinced us to attend the first session and we were totally blown away by this idea of building communities and how we all play a role in the betterment of our neighbourhoods,” said TJ.

 

“The study circle changed the way we think about our role in the community because of the concepts and themes covered in the books. Themes like the ‘Purpose of Life’ and ‘Arising to Serve’ are not themes we would normally encounter in a classroom. It made us contemplate deeply about our future and what kind of people we would like to be – as friends, as children to our parents, as future leaders in our industries and one day, even as parents ourselves,” added Ronnie.

 

Despite having to study for exams and work part-time, Loo Jie does not consider attending the study circles as time away from his responsibilities. In fact, the way it is conducted “allows all to share their understanding, and it creates a safe and conducive learning environment.”

 

“I learn so much from others and from the materials. I am also more courageous to speak up about building communities and a new culture, something I have been very reserved about,” he said.

 

They have since decided to rent a home together near their university since some of them have started working. This close living quarters encourages them to carry on with their study circles while working in the same neighbourhood.

 

“We really want to put into action what we have learnt. We are supporting each other by constantly re-evaluating what we can contribute to our community,” concluded Jackie.

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