Friday, August 8, 2008

"Baha'i village" is a "natural outcome of falling in love"

This report from San Diego, CA (A) is so beautiful I hesitate to add anything to it. The believers in this cluster have had the bounty of discovering a neighborhood where so many residents have shown an interest in the Faith that they now have a “Bahá’í village” within the community. After a year of dedicatedly and humbly walking a path of love and service alongside neighborhood residents, bonds of friendship have been formed, and a new community life is emerging. Here is an account from one believer:

A year ago we began visiting homes and inviting people to children’s classes that we held in the park. Now, a year later, we have two believers who have moved into this neighborhood, which we call our Bahá’í village, to live. The spiritual impact of their move has been enormous. The new Bahá’ís are deeply moved that these friends have left their homes to come and live with them and be their neighbors. The children and junior youth in the classes and junior youth groups come to their home every day and when they are told, “This is your home,” they have taken it literally. . . .

Whereas before the children’s classes and junior youth group meetings only happened maybe once a week, now they happen almost every day. Walking down the street you will always run into new Bahá’ís and seekers that we’ve met earlier and they invite you to come to their home. It is truly a Bahá’í village.

About 100 individuals have joined the Faith during the last six months in this cluster. About half of the youth and adult new believers are participating in study circles. Almost all of the new believers are receiving regular home visits and are participating devotional gatherings. About 70% of newly registered children are attending Bahá’í children’s classes. A number of new believers are sharing the Message with their own family and friends and are taking part in teaching activities in the neighborhood. We have also established a junior youth group with the families.

This level of activity is unprecedented in our cluster. It was a natural outcome of falling in love with these beautiful new family members and our lives becoming intertwined together.

Another believer shares some of her experiences:

I learned so much today. First of all, I realized that my role is simply to introduce the Bahá’í Writings to seekers or new believers, and then they take it from there to share the Message with each other. I also learned why the practices associated with the Ruhi Institute courses are so important for community building. I got a glimpse of how the institute process will be the dominating force behind building a strong community in every neighborhood. Above all, I was reminded of the power of spiritual forces that assist us with tasks that appear impossible.

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