Good morning everyone! Just a quick little out of sequence post to give you an update on how my big project is taking shape (if you are new to the blog go check out this post, and don’t forget to answer the survey at the bottom!).
I have been mulling over my ideas, looking at your survey answers, and getting some feedback from other convert friends of mine, and I have decided on some concrete things that I want to get moving on.
Unfortunately since there is not a large convert community here in Algeria (pretty sure I am the only person in the city I am staying in that was not born Muslim), a lot of this stuff is going to have to wait until I get back to the United States.
I want to start local, as I am aware that there are quite a few converts in my area back in the states, and many of them probably do not have ready access to a community or resources. I am hoping to begin with just the basics: a newsletter style email that goes out to the converts in the community every week with announcements for events, some resources, and maybe an interesting article or some such.
As for events, I am really hoping to set up a speaker series for converts once a month at the masjid, where everyone can come get some good halal food, talk with other converts and members of the community, and listen to an interesting and informational lecture by one of the local teachers or imams.
On a weekly basis, I am hoping to set up a kind of coffee/tea date, where we can all meet up at a cafe for a couple of hours to discuss what is on our minds, what we have been experiencing, and just get some general support.
For new converts, or those that feel like they would benefit from it, I am planning, God willing, to set up a local mentorship program where the convert would get matched with an older, willing, member of the community who would help them in learning to pray, direct them towards useful websites, books, lectures, etc., and just spend some good quality with them.
I know a lot of you answered “problems with family” as your biggest challenge after converting to Islam, and I am working on ways that I can provide support around that too.
At any rate, it is still all in the early stages, but I am so exciting to be working on this! At this point it is about time to start reaching out to some members of the community back home, to see if they would be able/willing to be mentors. I also need to start liaising with the local mosque, to see what kind of spaces they would have available, and if they could help in reaching out to the local convert community.
As always, if you have any thoughts I would love to hear them! Can’t wait to get back to California and, God willing, be able to start working much more concretely on this project!