The 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC) was held in St. Paul, Minnesota between September 1 and September 4, 2008. 45,000 delegates and 15,000 reporters were present. Several practitioners in Kansas City realized we should seize the opportunity to introduce Falun Gong to the crowds about to assemble in Minnesota. Having settled on an itinerary, we prepared banners and materials and took off for St. Paul on August 31, 2008. Below is a summary of what we did.
Group Fa study and experience sharing
We got together and studied the Fa and shared our thoughts the night before the RNC. We have come to know value and importance of group Fa study and experience sharing from previous experience. We realized the principles as taught in "Fa Teaching at the 2008 New York Conference" and discussed the topics and activities that would take place the following day.
Not many practitioners came to St. Paul for the RNC. We had a limited number of banners and materials; practitioners from other regions had brought them, with various design and content, leading us to discuss how to best utilize what we had to maximally raise awareness. As each person shared his or her ideas, one local practitioner said, "Past cultivation experiences have taught me that many people have great ideas that can clarify things, although their ideas can be too different and varied. Instead of having everyone share their own ideas, perhaps it would be better to listen to some practitioners and think about how to cooperate with them and bring their ideas to fruition." We adapted his opinion and agreed on one topic: we should talk about the termination of NTDTV signals into mainland China, and try to gain public support by collecting signatures.
Giving up attachments
Hanging banners, August 31, 2008: we arrived in Minnesota at noon on August 31 and we went directly to the place where the delegates registered and distributed flyers in the surrounding area. We didn't know whether local practitioners had obtained a permit. We wanted to put up a banner raising awareness of the persecution along the street, but we didn't bring tape to hold the banner. One practitioner saw a security guard, ran over to him and asked to borrow some tape. After she explained the cause, the guard told her to enter the building and borrow it there. We put up the banner, and the powerful truth was revealed to passersby and people in cars driving by.
This made us aware that everything in this world is made for clarifying the facts, and we must not be attached to the rules of ordinary society. As long as we have righteous thoughts and explain things well when necessary, anything can be used to clarify the facts.
Wearing a Falun Gong T-shirt, September 1: Groups of delegates waited at the entrance, and security officers and media were milling nearby. We knew instantly that this was a great spot for clarifying the facts. Since we were shorthanded one practitioner stayed there to collect signatures to support NTDTV and distribute materials. She wore a T-shirt with the words "Falun Gong" on it. After a while she hadn't taken a single signature, and no one took any flyers from her. She thought she had done well the day before in a park wearing non-Dafa clothing, so she removed her T-shirt. Soon, two men in suits walked up. She approached them and began talking to them.
Immediately, one person pointed at the words "San Francisco" on her shirt and asked, "Are you from there? He [the person next to him] is a delegate from San Francisco, you should talk to him." The other person came up and impatiently asked what was happening, and the first person quickly answered, "She's from San Francisco, too." The practitioner said she was not from San Francisco but in fact Kansas City. The second person laughed and pointed at the first person, saying, "He's from Kansas City." Then they left. The practitioner thought, "What's going on? I'm wearing a simple shirt but it brought all this extra trouble and interfered with truth clarification."
Then it dawned on her that wearing a Dafa T-shirt actually serves to introduce the facts, and it provides a great way to start a conversation. Although she was trying to collect signatures to support NTDTV, many people would learn about the persecution of Falun Gong in the process. She put the Dafa T-shirt back on and strengthened her righteous thoughts. Over time, many people took flyers from her, listened to her explain matters and offered their signatures. Some people even signed the petition form right after they saw the words "Falun Gong" on her shirt. She concluded everything we do serves to validate Dafa. If we use human methods to solve problems and collect signatures, we may neglect opportunities to validate the Fa.
Focus on truth clarification
Before we went to St. Paul, we were hoping to give a package about the NTDTV satellite troubles to President Bush. Two practitioners sought an opportunity to deliver the package to the First Lady, having learned President Bush would not attend the convention. They circled every entrance and talked to everyone they met. During the process, people volunteered to talk to government officials, while some others ignored them. The entire process was intended for them to rescue sentient beings. They maintained compassionate and calm hearts and always felt Dafa's power. They walked around the convention center and spoke with various people from morning to afternoon and eventually met the person in charge of the First Lady's security. After explaining their purpose, they gave him the package. He promised to relay it to the First Lady's assistant.
Having fulfilled their wish, they returned to the other entrance to help the practitioner collect signatures. By this time the delegates had formed a long line, waiting to pass the security checkpoint before entering the center. What a wonderful opportunity! The practitioners quietly held a banner with the words "Falun Dafa is good" and stood in the street next to the convention center and asked the delegates whether they would like a flyer. They thought, "The Fa saves all predestined people; let us hurry up and explain things to them."
They brought the wonders of Falun Dafa to all delegates in the line; meanwhile other practitioners patiently talked to the people in the line. It was as if the entire place was set up for them to clarify the facts about Falun Dafa.
Before we knew it, two days had gone by and we had to pack up and drive back. Reflecting on the event made us realize we had learned lots of things and would like to remind practitioners of Master's words,
"Master affirms what Dafa disciples have done. As long as you are doing things out of a wish to validate the Fa and save sentient beings, I will affirm all that you do. And when you go do those things, there will be my Law Bodies or gods there to amplify it and make what you do yet more magnificent and extraordinary, and they will assist you." ("Fa Teaching at the 2008 New York Conference")
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