Saturday, June 21, 2008

Confirmations from Direct Teaching

When the friends rise up to enter the field of action in a spirit of unity and teamwork, their efforts bring about tangible results that can reinforce their confidence. Take a look at Dallas County Southwest, TX (B) where the friends are beginning to engage in direct teaching.

Dear Friends,

Felicitations! The first direct teaching project in an apartment complex today resulted in 3 declarations. Members from Regional Bahá’í Council, area teaching committee and the assistant to the Auxiliary Board supported the 5 teaching teams. Friends ranging from 8 years old to 80 years old came out to teach.

There were 66 doors visited.

33 were not home or unavailable

Anna’s presentation was given at 9 different homes

3 people declared.

12 requested revisits.

The next teaching activity is tomorrow June 22 at 1:30 pm. Please come!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wrong house, right result

This story from the Central region is a good reminder that, if you’re going to visit a seeker, make sure you go to the right house! That is, unless Bahá’u’lláh has other plans . . . In any case, I want my bagel.

A, a seeker, decided he would like to be put in touch with a local believer. So I called upon B, a Bahá’í in the area, and soon they were corresponding by email. A invited B to come for a bagel brunch at his apartment, and they would meet in person to talk about the Faith.

When B arrived, he went to what he thought was the correct apartment and was met at the door by a man, C, who immediately invited him in and asked him to sit down. Assuming C was actually A, B sat down and they began to talk about the Faith. This very pleasant exchange continued for almost an hour and B left, assuring C that he would return, and perhaps vaguely wondering what had happened to the bagels.

Meanwhile, A and his family and the bagels were waiting. Concerned that something must have happened to B, A emailed him asking what had happened and was he all right. When B read the email, he was confused and wrote back referencing the conversation he just had. A was equally confused by the response.

At this point, A called me asking if B was okay and explained the story. I told him I would find out and get back to him. I called B and soon learned that he thought they had met as planned. Eventually we figured out what had happened. B called A and they straightened it out, arranging another meeting. What’s more, A already knew C, so he asked him why he didn’t say anything. So now B has two people in that apartment complex to visit!

Shortly after, I got a note from A saying, “My intro to the Bahá’í Faith is now truly something I’ll never forget, in the warmest most lovely and humorous way. I’ve been laughing all evening.”


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Local Spiritual Assembly members actively support consolidation

Inspiring news from San Diego, CA (A), which is currently in a consolidation phase of the eighth cycle of its intensive program of growth. The entire membership of one of the Local Spiritual Assemblies in that cluster came to participate in the consolidation work, thereby providing encouragement to all the friends. The systematic and continuous consolidation activities are, among other things, resulting in further declarations. The momentum seems unstoppable! Some photos of the Assembly members, teachers and new believers in the neighborhood have been posted to the slide show section of this site.

Beloved Friends and cherished fellow spiritual descendants of the Dawnbreakers,

There has been so much incredible news during this consolidation phase that we've hardly had time to write it down to share!

Last Saturday all 9 members of the Local Spiritual Assembly came to one neighborhood to meet our beautiful new Bahá’ís and to go and visit others members of the community that we had not yet had a chance to meet. It was a day that was nothing short of paradise.

Truly friends, this exemplary action by all 9 members of our Local Spiritual Assembly in San Diego brings our cluster untold blessings and brought such joy to the heart of our National Spiritual Assembly who expressed the following: "Truly, yours is an example worthy to be held up for emulation by your sister Assemblies around the country, and we applaud you for your dedicated efforts." Attached is a picture of our Assembly members and teachers from Saturday.

This historic action and historic day was further blessed by 6 more new Bahá’ís who enrolled that day. Plus, we started two more Ruhi 1 study circles. Since then there have been teachers carrying out home visits for consolidation in this neighborhood every day of the week. This is truly an extraordinary victory, historic and unprecedented! Just two days ago there were 4 more new believers as a result of the consolidation visits.

There are now 69 new believers during this 8th cycle of our intensive program of growth. 57 enrolled during the expansion phase, and 12 enrolled during the consolidation phase.

With abounding joy and love,

The Area Teaching Committee

Southern Nevada IPG, days 14 to 16

Further news from Southern Nevada (A), which has brought the expansion phase of the second cycle of its intensive program of growth to a glorious conclusion. Active and joyful teachers, new enrolments, multiplication of core activities, and a continuous vision for consolidation—these all add up to exciting news indeed.

Dearest Friends,

We have come to an end of our second intensive program of growth. Seven teaching teams, composed of 23 Bahá’ís, persevered in their mission to teach and consolidate yearning souls. In the past 16 days we have had a total of 41 new Bahá’ís, including 23 adults, 2 youth, 2 junior youth, and 14 children!

Here is a story from one of our teaching teams:

“We had several home visits to do and follow-ups from previous visits. Before we visited one home, we read the notes from the last teaching team that had visited this seeker. The notes mentioned that the seeker had a very busy work schedule. We knocked on the door and introduced ourselves. The seeker invited us in and was very nice, and we started Anna’s presentation. I pushed all doubting thoughts out of my mind, put my trust in God, and did the presentation. When we finished, there was a pause, and silence. I asked him, ‘Do you believe that Bahá’u’lláh is the Manifestation of God for this day?’ He replied that he did. Before we left, our newest Bahá’í brother, who told us he never had any time, said he was going to make time to join a study circle and attend the prayer gatherings.”

Many other victories were won in the equally important arena of consolidation. Countless study circles and devotional meetings were started with the new believers throughout the past 16 days. The children’s classes also added new students with many more looking to join in the coming weeks.

None of this could have been done without the endless love and tireless service of the teachers and the dear friends who provided support to those in the field. On behalf of our cluster, we send a special thank you to our beloved Auxiliary Board members. Their beautiful example, which only begins with sacrificing time and effort to help us, is a constant reminder of the blessings Bahá’u’lláh continually showers on the Southern Nevada cluster!

Now, we officially enter the consolidation phase of the second intensive program of growth tomorrow, June 9. The consolidation phase will last approximately ten weeks. Our goal for this phase will be to nurture the new Bahá’ís into confirmed and steadfast believers who, in their turn, will arise to serve. For some, this process will be gradual. For others, it will be immediate. Ours is the task to provide them with the four core activities, all with love, patience and perseverance. You are warmly invited and encouraged to step forward to help, regardless of your abilities and time constraints. All can help!

With gratitude,

Your area teaching committee

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fresh learning about consolidation

Action and service bring fresh learning. And the friends in Gwinnett-North Fulton, GA (A) have just generated an avalanche, nay an ocean, of learning about consolidation from their experience in the latest expansion phase of their intensive program of growth.

Dearly loved friends,

We would like to share with you the learnings of the expansion phase of our 8th intensive program of growth. These insights were collected and compiled with the friends who were engaged in teaching during the three weeks of the expansion phase.

For reading ease we have separated the learnings into distinct categories or stages for greater clarity. May these be a source of inspiration as we harness the momentum of the victories so far achieved and continuously recommit our energy to teaching, consolidating and inviting ever greater number of believers into and under the protection of His Cause.


· Understand the overview of the three phases of the process: Expansion, Consolidation and Reflection.

· The importance of attending the teacher’s training: This is where you learn how to present Anna’s presentation, address personal fears, learn how to ask open ended questions and learn how to approach people in their homes.

· Know the human resources before entering the teaching field: Who will be able to teach children’s classes and animate junior youth groups in the consolidation phase? If the teacher him/herself cannot, who will be able to accompany him/her so that there is a smooth transition during the consolidation phase?

· The importance of knowing each teacher’s commitment to the expansion phase as a way of better directing human resources to the teaching locations, as well as for pairing purposes

· Pairing up teaching teams of two individuals, either male/female or female/female.

· Create teaching teams that stay together throughout the expansion phase.

· The importance of spiritually preparing oneself before going out to teaching.


· When we first approach a door, our spiritual preparation is key: how we feel in our hearts.

· Saying something such as “I have a very special message to share with you” sets a different tone and relationship with the person at the door. It creates a more receptive air.

· Having a woman be in the front and knocking on the door seems to create more of an opening for people to open the doors of their homes

· It is good to approach the door while holding Anna’s Presentation handbook in such a way that the name Bahá’í Faith is facing the person as he or she opens the door. This way it is clear that the two Bahá’ís approaching the door are not attempting to sell anything, but instead will be asking the person in the home about her/his interest in listening about the exciting news of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh.


· It is important to offer Anna’s presentation with no fear of making mistakes, allowing one’s heart to open and the spirit of the Concourse on High to flow through and make its presence felt. One gentleman’s response to a presentation was “I feel the sincerity”.

· Enrollment and declaration may not take place at the same time. There may be a declaration of faith, but the enrollment may happen later during the visit or at another visit.


· During Anna’s presentation there are four places where one can feel comfortable to pause and open the space to invite the person listening to the presentation to become a Bahá’í. As we invite people to declare their faith in Bahá’u’lláh we should listen to our intuition and not hesitate.

· When inviting someone to declare we must remember that what is on our minds transfers to the person. Let us trust in Bahá’u’lláh and His plans, rather than following our minds, which may be saying, “They are not ready” or “They would want to know more about the Faith before they declare”. We cannot make that decision. We don’t know what Bahá’u’lláh has prepared for these souls.

· To become a Bahá’í there is a two-part process: the declaration of faith—at which point they are a Bahá’í—and then enrollment. People can declare their faith whether or not there is an enrollment. We need to sensitive to situations such as an individual feeling self-conscious for not knowing how write well or worried about their visa status in the country.

· It is important to learn and to continue practicing how to invite people into the Faith.

· At the end of each visit, it is important to keep track of whether the individual or family has declared or showed interest for a revisit. It can then be determined whether there is the potential to start a children’s class or junior youth group. All of this information can then be shared with the neighborhood lead, and human resources can be mobilized to start the core activities.


· Be aware of potential scheduling challenges. Ask directly when would be a good time to visit, e.g., during the week, during the weekend, etc. Exchange phone numbers.

· As revisits begin, activities for both new believers and seekers need to be set up, such as devotional gatherings, Book 1 study circles, children’s classes and junior youth groups, all according to their needs.

· At this point, the teaching team evaluates the continuity of the visits and organizes a smooth transition to the friends who will be carrying out the consolidation visits to prevent loss of contact with the new believers. So it is crucial to ensure that at least one of the initial contact teachers is present for the revisit and the handoff to the person who will follow through with the consolidation process. Here teachers are encouraged to seek the support and participation of other members of the community, as well as consult with the neighborhood leads.

· Begin children’s classes for children who are elementary school age and junior youth groups for those that are middle school age.

· As a Book 1 study circle and or devotional gathering is taking place at a home with children, bringing another person or youth to offer a children’s class at the same time has been a very successful approach.


· Communication with the neighborhood leads is essential to coordinate follow-up with the seekers and new believers.

· It is important to track both declarations and people who have expressed interest in learning more. The latter are part of our community of interest and should have the same attention as those who have signed a declaration card.

· Neighborhood leaders are encouraged to keep track of the activities in the neighborhood and to ensure that the neighborhood is getting sufficient attention. In some clusters, there have been friends who have offered to move into neighborhoods where expansion was taking place as a way of ensuring a Bahá’í presence there and to support ongoing efforts.

· Experience from clusters in other parts of the country has shown that it is best for revisits to take place between two and five days after the declaration.

· Identify both who will be doing the teaching and who will be carrying out the consolidation work. As noted earlier, arrange for a smooth transition for the second group to take over. It is important to assess the extent to which each teacher will be able to participate in the consolidation process.

· Bahá’í institutions can review pledges made by believers at the beginning of the expansion phase and engage them in the consolidation work.

· The institutions can look at available human resources, including who has required language skills, to match teachers to requests to start core activities.

· When children are registered, their information and their parents’ information, as well as who will be teaching the new children’s classes, should be shared with the regional training institute.

These are the main insights from the recent teaching activities. Here are the results: During the expansion phase there were 29 teachers engaged throughout the three weekends who knocked on approximately 350 doors. There were 8 adults and 14 children and junior youth who enrolled as new believers. There were 28 requested revisits which have been set up.

So far, 4 study circles have been established with 4 participants, with the potential for another 5 study circles to be formed. There are 4 neighborhood children’s classes that have been formed with 12 children attending. 3 additional classes will soon be formed. There is the potential for 1 junior youth group to be started with 5 participants.

We want to be more proficient in the art and science of what we are doing in order to promote a culture of continuous learning as we seek to be better orchestrated and coordinated in our efforts to foster entry by troops. Our collective understanding is growing and our skills and abilities are being more fully engaged and strengthened.

As we know, the intensive program of growth is a three-phase process. The first part is the expansion phase, which involved the three weekends of intensive teaching. The second part is the Consolidation phase, which usually takes from two-and-a-half to three months. The third part is our reflection on the two previous phases, capturing and systematically planning to apply our learning in the next expansion phase.

Our cluster is presently in the initial weeks of its consolidation phase. It is a very unique and rich period where we connect with new believers, revisit seekers, offer Book 1 study circles, begin devotional gatherings, and establish children’s classes and junior youth groups. Furthermore as we are engaging in these activities more enrollments will naturally arise as we lovingly and revisit the individuals and families who have expressed an interest. It is also during this phase that we have the bounty of sharing all of the skills we have been developing while advancing through the sequence of Ruhi courses.

Timing is everything as we deeply engage in the beginning stages of the consolidation phase. As we move forward let us involve other members of the community and engage them in teaching, learning Anna’s presentation, starting a study circle with new believers and or seekers, establishing a children’s class or a junior youth group. Let our faces, rain or shine, be seen in the neighborhoods. See you there!

Much love,

Your area teaching committee

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New declarations in Knoxville

Exciting news from Knoxville, TN (A), which has seen 6 declarations so far since the latest expansion phase in its intensive program of growth. The stories show the power of Anna’s presentation and the connections between teaching and consolidation.

Alláh’u’Abhá! With our hearts full of joy, the Knoxville area teaching committee would like to report some of the recent successes with teaching in our cluster.

Since the start of the 11th cycle of our intensive program of growth on May 3rd and due to the systematic, organized efforts of direct teaching with Anna’s presentation we have been blessed with 6 more declarations, 5 of them in the last ten days!

Each one of these beautiful souls declared after hearing Anna’s presentation and all of them expressed in one way or another how it was such a powerful presentation of the Bahá’í Faith and that they were moved by the spirituality and love in the Bahá’í Faith. Each of them also said they had been looking for something like the Bahá’í Faith for a long time! The new members of our Bahá’í family want to attend devotional gatherings, want their kids to participate in children’s classes, want to study Ruhi 1, and want to start deepening themes.

The letter dated February 24, 2008 from the International Teaching Center states that,

“The spirit of unity and enthusiasm that animated the teaching work will need to be carried through the consolidation phase so that all of these precious followers of Bahá’u’lláh are warmly embraced. To support them on their spiritual journey, a systematic increase in core activities that respond to the needs of their entire families will be required. Home visits should become part of the social fabric of the communities in a cluster, and not merely a numerical target to achieve.”

So now our community’s challenge is consolidation, which will involve home visits to these new believers to share the deepening themes and to foster a relationship of friendship and trust, as well as to introduce them to the institute process. Most of these new Bahá’ís have specifically asked for home visits and expressed their desire to study more of the Bahá’í Writings. On that note, if you are interested in helping with any of these efforts, even just for one hour a week, please let us know.

Additionally, if you would like to join us in using Anna’s Presentation with door-to-door teaching in the Knoxville Area, feel free to let us know! If you are not sure if door-to-door teaching is for you, and you would like to just come out and observe how the process works or be someone’s “prayer buddy” that would be great too!

We ask that you keep the Knoxville cluster teaching efforts and the receptivity of the Knoxville area in your prayers.

With love,

Your area teaching committee

Monday, June 9, 2008

New believers start children's classes

Here is a delightful report from San Antonio, TX (A), where new believers are plunging into the arena of service in their local neighborhood, in this case through starting children’s classes.

I wanted to share this one story about the efforts in San Antonio during the consolidation phase.

The team had lined up to hold children's classes in the home of a young couple who have children and declared during the expansion phase. The cluster institute coordinator for children’s classes, as well as other friends, had planned to invite some other children to join the class. When they met with the new believers it turns out they had already taken the copy of the materials and had visited their friends’ homes to invite their children. They used the "visual" presentation to teach the families and explain what the classes would be about and had the parents sign the consent form. They now have 7 children in the class!

The people who will be the children's class teachers are a couple of believers who had been looking for ways to become involved in the Plan, and began to get engaged when a neighborhood Feast was organized in their area. They studied Book 1 then took Book 3 so they could teach children’s classes and are now taking Book 4.

While we cannot predetermine any of the outcomes of our efforts it is not unusual for a person to declare and then immediately be willing to serve. In this case, the new believers have in an exemplary manner in their neighborhood.

With love and respect for all you do,


Connecting hearts and souls

Here are three recent stories of teaching teams in the Washington, DC (A) cluster. These are inspiring, and clearly show that teaching is a spiritual process in which hearts and souls are connected.

We arrived at this house last. I personally was praying to Bahá’u’lláh that I not be distracted the bit of hunger and fatigue I was feeling. As soon as we knocked on the door, a man and his two children appeared. His radiance dispelled any thoughts I had about sleep or food.

He greeted us warmly, stepped out to the porch and his next question was, “So what is this Bahá’í Faith anyways?” My teaching partner began the presentation and there was a flow of warmth and camaraderie between the two men. I began to pray, imagining that Abdu'l-Baha was standing between the two men with his hand on both of their hearts serving as a conduit for Bahá’u’lláh’s love.

As we proceeded with the presentation, he agreed with many of the concepts introduced, saying that he always knew there was one religion, one human family, and one God. He seemed visibly touched by the picture of Bahá’u’lláh's chains and when asked if he thought Bahá’u’lláh was one of the mirrors he said, “If Christ is a mirror then Bahá’u’lláh is too.”

We talked about getting back together soon. We were impressed with his compassion. We all embraced and departed.

A second story:

Our teaching team came across one person. We proceeded to present the presentation to him and he seemed rather engaged, really looking over the pictures and listening intently to the quotes. We made it through the section about the life of Bahá’u’lláh and asked if he thought Bahá’u’lláh might be one of these Manifestations sent to guide us. He nodded yes and we asked if he would like to join us in our mission to unify mankind and he said yes.

So we continued with more on the history of the Faith and some further principles. After hearing more about the life of Bahá’u’lláh and some further teachings, he suddenly had a look of intensity and started to look around for the declaration card. He really wanted to sign it. It was as though his soul was recognizing the truth before it—as though it had been waiting for this—and he was suddenly very intent about signing the card. He clearly understood the significance of this act and it was a moving event to witness. It conveyed to us that the soul is so aware of what is happening and is always ready to recognize it's Creator.

We gave this man the Gift of Prayers and said the Obligatory prayer with him before moving on in our teaching. A few porches down we had another long adventure—this time with my teaching partner doing the presentation. From the porch I could see the gentleman that had just embraced the Cause. The entire 30 minutes that we were engaging with the next group, he was reading the Gift of Prayer with all of its prayers and Writings; he never put the book down.

And a third:

We were standing outside a lovely home, and a kind man came down the stairs in response to the bell ring. We introduced ourselves and shared with him that we are Bahá’ís and would like to share with him about the Bahá’í. He invited us into his home and said that he was feeding his wife who was a little ill. Together we held hands and shared the short healing prayer by Bahá’u’lláh, and he shared his own prayer as well.

We asked if we could share the presentation and they agreed, so we started sharing Anna's presentation, and as each page went by and each beautiful quote was read, he was agreeing more and more.

We asked him if he believed that Bahá’u’lláh was one of the Manifestations from God, one of these perfect mirrors that we had spoken of earlier, and he said yes. It was a wonderful conversation and spiritual moment. We asked if we could finish the presentation with them and both of them said "yes!". At the end of the presentation, both he and his wife declared.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Reflection into action

Reflection gatherings are an important element in teaching campaigns. Here is a report of a recent reflection gathering in Upstate Foothills, SC (B). The friends there made use of this event to plan activities and prepare themselves for sharing the message of Bahá’u’lláh with their neighbors.

The first part of the meeting consisted of a review of relevant statistics related directly to the growth and activity of the Faith in the cluster. The participating friends were able to visualize the status of the cluster and carry out a healthy examination of strengths to build on and weaknesses to address. For example, it was noted that we have succeeded in firmly establishing three regular devotional gatherings, three Bahá’í children’s classes, and one junior youth group. In addition, at the time of reporting, there were a total of eight study circles in progress around the cluster. At the same time, our review of the statistics made it clear that there is significant room for advancement in the area of multiplying these activities.

The next portion of the meeting was an open discussion about where we are going. A friend shared experiences and insights from experience with another advanced cluster, and spoke to us about the dedication and commitment that is required from individuals and communities to shoulder the responsibilities of intensive growth, the need to go beyond the barriers of comfort, to step into new arenas of service. She also spoke of the joys of collective service and the bonds of love and friendship that are build as believers in a community work together to teach the Cause to the peoples of the world.

We later divided into five teams of two. We examined a map of the neighborhood and assigned routes to take. We prayed and requested the confirmations of the Holy Spirit. Equipped with copies of Anna’s presentation, neighborhood visit charts, prayer cards and invitations, we hit the streets.

We knocked on approximately 60 doors, and spoke to people in 32 homes. Everyone we spoke to was courteous and friendly. Nine households were open to receiving a subsequent visit. Two individuals were happy to hear an in depth presentation of the Faith.

Making use of "the silent teacher"

Here is a report from an individual in an A cluster in Michigan, who describes an initiative that made use of the Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette, IL—often referred to as “the silent teacher”—to help advance ongoing teaching efforts among colleagues.

After a period of six years of contacts with the staff and presenting many Bahá’í books, it was recently decided to gather all interested individuals in one place in a spiritual environment and directly present the Faith to them. It was realized that the best place for this purpose was the Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette. A general invitation for a free tour of the House of Worship was issued to everyone. There were 80 positive responses, so a caravan of two buses was arranged.

The gathering at the Foundation Hall was beautiful and the presentation of the Faith initiated many questions. The participants were guided to the auditorium where they offered their own prayers. During the tour of the lower level many questions about the Faith were answered. We arrived back at home at 3 o'clock in the morning with unanimous praise and appreciation from the participants.

Follow-up activities were arranged at the Bahá’í Center for individuals who wished to learn more about the Faith or who had additional questions. Twelve individuals attended. There was a detailed introduction of the Faith with much discussion throughout the evening. One person expressed her wish to hear Anna's presentation, after which she was eager to declare. Many others also expressed their wish to attend study classes in the Center. Your prayers for their guidance are greatly appreciated.

Bahá’í love,


Southern Nevada IPG Days 10-13

An update from Southern Nevada (A), which has just completed day 13 of its expansion phase. The friends are following up declarations with consolidation activities, particularly starting study circles with new believers, many of whom are in turn arising to participate in teaching the Faith.

Several devoted teachers have been doing follow-up home visits to nurture relationships with new believers while others have been visiting seekers who have requested return visits. The new believers benefit so much from saying prayers together and connecting with the Word of God. We have learned that perseverance, systematic follow-up, and reliance on the power of divine assistance are key elements of success.

Many teaching and consolidation teams have been following up with seekers and new believers by sharing Anna's presentation and beginning Ruhi Book 1 study circles. Starting a Ruhi study circle immediately after a soul’s declaration has been shown to be vital to the consolidation effort. This past weekend, the teaching and consolidation teams started at least three Ruhi Book 1 study circles with seekers and newly enrolled Bahá’ís. Here is an account of one of them:

Our teaching team consisted of three Spanish speakers, myself (an adult), a youth and a junior youth. We went with another team to follow up with a Spanish-speaking family who had heard almost all of Anna's presentation. The teaching team that had taught this family did not speak much Spanish so they asked us to accompany them and start a Book 1 study circle. We arrived and met a lovely couple with a young toddler. We talked some then began to go through the first two sections of Book 1. The couple commented throughout that they enjoyed the approach of the Ruhi Book and how everyone was free to share their thoughts. Once we had completed the two sections, the wife asked if she could keep the handouts. We replied that it was hers to keep and that we would return next Sunday to continue. She then said that each day between now and Sunday she would read the quotes and try to apply them to her life in order to improve herself. We were all overwhelmed by her comments; it was truly amazing.

Dear friends, we have more good news to share. This past weekend six Bahá’ís who enrolled in the last cycle came forward and taught the Faith! These friends not only shared Anna's presentation, but also helped bring new souls into the Cause. Of all the victories won in this cluster, this is perhaps the most outstanding.

With warm Bahá’í love,

Your area teaching committee

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

New resources for teachers

On the “Resources for Teachers” site (at the lower right of this page) there are links to several useful materials for those engaged in the teaching and consolidation work. Newly posted is a link to a large array of materials graciously shared by the Regional Bahá’í Council for the Southwestern States, titled “Deepening Themes and other materials”. This set of documents includes booklets in English and Spanish containing the deepening themes from Ruhi Book 2, as well as many other useful tools.

Training leads to teaching

In many places, the believers are participating in trainings to build their skills in direct teaching and prepare them to share the message of Bahá’u’lláh with their neighbors. Here is a report from the friends in Albuquerque, NM (A), where training raised up a cadre of confident and enthusiastic teachers. Also worthy of note is that the friends are beginning to see their efforts as one part of a worldwide process.

We learned in our training to realize that since we are created to know and love God, it should be no surprise to us when people are ready to accept Bahá’u’lláh’s message quickly and easily just as we are not surprised when a fish by instinct knows how to swim!

On Saturday we had a day-long training on the use of Anna’s presentation. We learned skills for talking to people and doing direct outreach and had a chance to discuss our cluster and what this might look like for us. Then we did direct teaching and had some wonderful results!

Teams of teachers who had participated in the training taught in the __ and ___ apartment complexes. These teams knocked on doors and offered Anna’s presentation. After giving the presentation, teachers asked two questions: “Do you see the light of God in these words, do you believe that Bahá’u’lláh is the Manifestation of God for today?” and “Do you want to join the Bahá’ís in working for unity and building a better community?” If people answered yes, they were immediately invited to declare! Using this simple presentation, in one weekend 8 people joined the Bahá’í community!

These adults and children are ready and eager to learn more about their new Faith and are eager to begin study circles, children’s classes and devotional gatherings for their families and communities. We will need the help of everyone to help consolidate these new believers. Please contact the area teaching committee if you would like to meet these new believers and help to welcome them.

Friends this is only the beginning. We are ready now to join dozens of clusters across the United States and the hundreds across the world that are loudly and clearly proclaiming the message of Bahá’u’lláh and are welcoming the entry of troops of new believers into the Faith.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Southern Nevada IPG Days 6 - 9

Here is further news from Days 6 through 9 of Southern Nevada’s (A) expansion phase. The inspiring stories are numerous, and the friends are seeing the fruits of children’s classes, as well as witnessing entire families entering the Cause.

Dearest Friends,

Here we are at the end of the ninth day of the second intensive program of growth in Southern Nevada! Today, another 5 souls declared their belief in Bahá’u’lláh. This brings the total to 25 souls that have joined us in bearing aloft the Glorious Standard of the Cause! Now, the work continues with many follow-ups scheduled throughout the week. We need everyone's support in visiting the new believers. Please see below for more information.

We are being flooded with inspirational stories from the field. These stories teach us the key elements of success – perseverance, systematic follow-up, and reliance on the power of divine assistance. Here are a couple of stories:

A youth reported her experience as a co-teacher. She recounts: "Halfway through our presentation at a home, we were invited inside. Our seeker explained to us that before we arrived, she was worrying about the war and other distressing news in the world. She was beginning to feel that there were only bad things in the world. She said that the presentation helped her. After further discussion she signed her declaration card and gave us a hug!" It was the first time this youth had given Anna's Presentation.

Here's another one of many stories: “Our team went out into the neighborhood with the goal of reaching out to the parents of the children's class students. We had four people on our team: myself, a youth, and two newly enrolled junior youth. We decided to visit ___, who has been attending the children's class since the first day three months ago. This person had mentioned that he was moving so we thought it would be best to talk to his parents before their departure. We visited his parents who I had met previously. I began to give Anna's presentation; they agreed with everything they heard. They kept asking their son to read the quotes because they already identified him as a Bahá’í! At the end of the presentation I asked them if they believed in Bahá’u’lláh as the Manifestation of God for this day. They said yes! I gave them three declaration cards to fill out; they asked for more because they wanted to register their other children as well! The entire family is now part of our Baha'i family.”

With warmest Baha'i love and gratitude,

Your area teaching committee

Southern Nevada IPG Day 5

Day 5 of Southern Nevada’s (A) expansion phase brings more exciting news. This report includes an inspiring story about the power of children’s classes.

Dear Friends,

The onward march of the teaching and consolidation work continues here in Southern Nevada for a fifth day in our second intensive program of growth. The pace has begun to pick up as more teachers are returning to visit the new believers and focus on the consolidation work. Additionally, there are home visits with seekers who asked us to return during the work week. These teachers have seen the Five Year Plan and its core activities in action.

One of the teachers related the following story: "I have been teaching children's classes since the beginning of the last cycle. It's been three months now and each time I go to the neighborhood the same thing happens: the second I set foot on the property all the children from my class start to gather around and want to know what's going on! Most of the kids in the class are not Bahá’ís. So, I decided to do two things today. First, to talk to the families of the children about the Bahá’í Faith, and second, to have the children in my class introduce me to new families who may want to send their kids to the class. With that, we went out.

“As the children in our class gathered around we asked them if they wanted more of their friends to help us. They all gladly agreed! All of the doors were now open to us as the children guided us to every building and insisted that we not miss any of their friends! I was delighted to see that already these children had friends of every background. I was further delighted to see an eight year old Spanish speaker in my class insist on going with us to every house. He even spoke to all the families that I wouldn't have been able to reach. We were even going to doors where people had previously indicated they were not interested in hearing about the Faith. My prayer partner looked at me and asked 'Do you think we should go to these homes?' Before I could reply the children started knocking on the doors. For the next hour and half we visited eight homes with wonderful results. ALL of them wanted their children to attend the class. Just like that our class tripled in size!"

Dear friends, won't you come join us? As you can see we need your help with children's classes!

With warmest love,

Your area teaching committee

A new cycle of progress

Each new cycle of an intensive program of growth brings additional learning and progress. Beaverton, OR (A), has just completed another expansion phase, and the friends there have experienced a breakthrough intensive teaching. There are 6 new souls who have entered the Cause, and many more who have been attracted. Here is a summary of a report from one of the believers there.

A collective total of 27 individuals participated on teaching teams, the majority of who reside within the cluster. During the expansion phase there were between three to nine teams teaching at any given time.

Expansion phase activities included the following:

Training for teaching teams

Prayers by teaching teams

Door-to-door teaching in neighborhoods that were selected after being visited by members of the area teaching committee

Prayers at the Bahá’í Center while the teams were teaching

Data collection, entry, analysis and reporting

An evening artistic program attended by friends of the Faith and believers

There were 3 enrolments, 3 child registrations, and about 70 individuals who were interested in learning more about the Faith. The new believers will be participating in weekly devotional meetings and study circles. Follow-up activities will also be carried out for the 70 people who expressed an interest in the Faith.

The teachers were galvanized by their experience in teaching.

Openness and teaching in Minneapolis

Sweet news from Minneapolis, MN (A), which finished the expansion phase of the second cycle of their intensive program of growth. Not only is the younger generation at the forefront of teaching, not only is there such an atmosphere of openness that even individuals who have not yet enrolled in the Bahá’í community are accompanying teams of believers to teach the Faith, not only are new believers immediately arising to teach, but the friends are seeing the joyful results of children’s classes. Here is the report from an individual believer:

Dear Friends,

I just got some wonderful news from Minneapolis. Their second expansion phase was brought to an uplifting conclusion this evening. There were 10 to 20 teachers participating each day of the teaching campaign and almost all of the teachers were youth and young adults. Two of the participants on teaching teams this weekend were not declared Baha'is.

On Saturday, one of the believers brought a friend to the Bahá’í center to learn about the Faith. After listening to a round of prayers, he went to a separate room with one of the friends who shared a presentation about the Faith while the rest of the group had some training and deepening. When the group came back together, this individual shared their decision to be a Bahá’í. They said, "I knew there was a good reason for me to be here today. Thank you for welcoming me to this circle. I thank God and thank Bahá’u’lláh for bringing me here today." This individual then joined their friend and another seeker to go out together that afternoon and teach the Faith.

Today, this team went back to visit a family who had expressed interest the day before in learning about the Faith. This new believer spent time with the children while their teaching partner shared the presentation. At the end of the visit the entire family declared, bringing the total number of enrolments at the end of the expansion phase to 10.

Of particular interest during this cycle was a focus on children's classes. Two other families are very interested in the Faith and the core group is starting children's classes in their homes. Today, a teaching team shared a lesson from Ruhi Book 3 with one of the families. The teacher said that she was so touched by how much the children enjoyed it. She said they were excited about learning. The children didn't want to stop singing the verse she taught them and were very engaged in discussion of the spiritual concept in the lesson.

Please keep these dear friends in your prayers as they nurture the faith of these precious souls, enkindling their own hearts.



Sunday, June 1, 2008

Anna's presentation + Baha'i center = enrolments

A brief and inspiring report from Savannah, GA (A) conveying news of the enrolment of an entire family. The direct teaching tool? Anna’s presentation. The venue? The local Bahá’í Center.

Hello friends,

Today at the Bahá’í Center we received another confirmation from the Blessed Beauty. A family of eight has been visiting with us on some occasions and was with us today. After devotions and children’s classes, we gave Anna’s presentation and the father and the children enrolled. Please welcome this lovely family to our community and keep them in your prayers.