Friday, May 9, 2008

New believer: "What can we do to become more active?"

Thrilling news from San Antonio, TX (A), which has just completed a new expansion phase. What follows is a summary shared by the Regional Council. The courage and persistence and spirit of the teachers are inspiring, as is the desire of the new believers to immediately step into a life of active service. As exciting as the teaching experiences have been, the believers are not hesitating to move forward in thinking about systematic consolidation.

Dear Friends,

To date we have attained the most abundant fruit from our efforts with regards to direct teaching. For the current cycle we have had a total of 12 enrollments—Ya Bahá’u’l-Abhá!

The first weekend of the expansion phase began April 26th, right after the reflection gathering. On this weekend, 80 different homes were approached with 10 of the friends wholeheartedly engaged in the teaching efforts. During the weekend, 6 people declared and 2 children were enrolled.

Of those who declared, an entire family accepted the Faith, and asked during a follow-up home visit, "What can we do to become more active?" It was suggested that they could consider hosting children's classes, and they were very open to this.

At the 12th Day of Ridvan celebration given at the Center, a beautiful and inspiring atmosphere was present. A seeker at the Holy Day festivities declared after listening to Anna's presentation. Other people who attended also inquired about the Faith and requested to know more.

This past weekend (May 3 and 4), the friends went teaching again in a neighborhood. 10 teachers, who formed 5 teaching teams, participated. There were opportunities to give Anna’s presentation in its entirety, and there were three more declarations during the weekend. Praise Bahá’u’lláh!

One of the friends teaching this weekend related her efforts to not let negativity enter the picture. During her presentation of the Faith to a seeker, she continued without stopping even when other individuals at the home kept interrupting and when some passers-by were laughing at one point. In the end, the seeker had a heart to heart connection with the message, and signed a declaration card.

Another friend noted that when giving the presentation, receptivity can be gauged while reading the quotes from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh. If the person is connected, there is a definite, almost palpable feeling of a mystical process unfolding, and when you feel it, you can't miss it!

Dearest friends, as we now are about to end our expansion phase and enter into the consolidation phase, continued prayers are needed for the successful entry of the new believers into Bahá’í community life. As exciting and exhilarating as the expansion phase is, consolidation must go hand in hand with expansion if the successes gained from the teaching efforts are to be sustained. With great excitement some of the friends have already stepped forward to help out with a new Book 1 study circle.

In the letter from the Universal House of Justice dated December 27, 2005, the following points are made about consolidation and individual initiative:

Most noteworthy in this regard is the spirit of initiative shown by believers who extend the range of their endeavours to assist others also striving to tread a path of service. Having acquired the capacity to serve as tutors of institute courses, they take up the challenge of accompanying participants in their initial attempts to perform acts of service until they, too, are ready to start their own study circles and help others do the same. . . . This particular aspect of the institute process, which serves to multiply the number of active supporters of the Faith in a self-perpetuating manner, holds much promise, and we hope that its potential will be realized in the coming Plan. . . . 'Let him not be content', are the words of the Guardian referring to every teacher of the Cause, 'until he has infused into his spiritual child so deep a longing as to impel him to arise independently, in his turn, and devote his energies to the quickening of other souls, and the upholding of the laws and principles laid down by his newly adopted Faith.'

The members of the core group and others who entered the teaching field this past cycle are grateful for the opportunity of having been able to participate in San Antonio's first breakthrough with regards to collective direct teaching. Many thanks to those offering prayers for the success of the current cycle.

Warmest Bahá’í love,

Area Teaching Committee

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