All the elements for the Benton County OR (A) cluster’s 11th cycle expansion phase were there: intensity, joyful enthusiasm, trained human resources, a systematic plan for direct teaching, prayerful preparation, and broad support from the entire Bahá’í community.
“Be unrestrained as the wind, while carrying the Message of Him Who hath caused the Dawn of Divine Guidance to break. Consider, how the wind, faithful to that which God hath ordained, bloweth upon all the regions of the earth, be they inhabited or desolate. Neither the sight of desolation, nor the evidences of prosperity, can either pain or please it. It bloweth in every direction, as bidden by its Creator. So should be every one that claimeth to be a lover of the one true God. It behoveth him to fix his gaze upon the fundamentals of His Faith, and to labor diligently for its propagation. Wholly for the sake of God he should proclaim His Message, and with that same spirit accept whatever response his words may evoke in his hearer.”
~Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 339
Following 9 intense days devoted to door-to-door direct teaching, covering an entire town of 4000 people, we had a list of about 70 contacts that we thought were receptive. Now mid-way through our consolidation phase, that list has been whittled down to about 25. All have one or more Bahá’í teachers who are committed to follow up with each of these souls, and the Area Teaching Committee is tracking their progress. We have 2 new adults in a Book 1 study circle and one new child in children’s class.
Along the way we learned a lot about what real receptivity looks like. We have seen an amazing resurgence of energy in our youth who are taking initiative on their own to systematically teach.
We rejoice along with you at some of the stories being shared on this blog of finding receptive neighborhoods where the expansion must stop early due to the high number of new believers, but honestly – we have had to struggle a bit with our disappointment that we found no one who was receptive enough to declare their belief in Baha'u'llah. But we are "faithful to that which God hath ordained" and this little windstorm of believers will continue to blow into every other corner of our cluster "wholly for the sake of God."
~Area Teaching Committee