Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Southern Nevada IPG Day 4

A report from the fourth day of Southern Nevada’s (A) expansion phase. The stories show the importance of deeds in several ways.

This has been an eventful fourth day in our second intensive program of growth (IPG) here in the Southern Nevada cluster. Several devoted teachers have been doing follow-up home visits with new believers. Others have been visiting seekers who have requested return visits.

Here's a poignant story from one of our teaching teams from this past weekend: “After giving Anna's presentation I noticed that the seeker (a Hispanic mother) was crying and weeping. She was completely overcome and moved by the presentation, so much so that I could feel the love of Bahá’u’lláh in her heart. She wanted to see the Bahá’ís again but was not comfortable having them come to her home. We assured her that we would visit her wherever she wanted. She asked the teachers to meet her on the playground.”

And another: “As we were leaving one home, my teaching partner asked me if I overheard the conversation right outside the house. I told him I did not as I do not understand Spanish. He told me that the group of children and pre-youth sitting on the dirt playing marbles were talking about us. One of them said ‘Who are those people?’ Motioning to us another replied, ‘They go around talking to people about God; they are good.’ Another spoke up and said, ‘They talk about doing a children's class.’ Another quickly responded, ‘No, they are doing a children's class; my little sister is in it!’"

Southern Nevada IPG Day 3

The news from Southern Nevada (A) just gets more and more exciting. Here is an excerpt from the friends’ report of the third day of their expansion phase. Most notable is the audacity of the youth, as well as that of the new believers.

A total of eleven teams went out in the morning and afternoon. We are happy to announce that six more individuals have enrolled beneath the banner of Baha'u'llah! We are amazed at the results achieved in a short period of time: eleven declarations in just three days of teaching! Many more have expressed interest in learning about the Faith, and many follow-up visits are planned for this week.

Today, several youth entered the teaching field. Inspired by studying the early heroes of our Faith, they arose to serve. Even more significant is that some of these youth are newly enrolled believers and were able to teach using Anna's presentation in Spanish. The following story from a teaching team with one of these youth stands out: "We knocked and a lady answered the door and told us that she was not interested in hearing about the Baha'i Faith because she was Christian. She then began to close the door. Our new Baha'i youth quickly responded that it was not so long ago that he had become a Baha'i, and that he and his family were from a Catholic background. After hearing the youth's response the lady realized this message must be important so she opened the door and found that she did want to hear the presentation. Although time only permitted her to hear half of the presentation, she invited us to come back and visit."

Dearest friends, your help is needed! We ask that you contact the Area Teaching Committee as we need Baha'i's of all ages to help with the consolidation throughout the work week. Service of any kind would be appreciated including providing rides to members of the Baha'i community doing consolidation, assisting with a home visit to a new Baha'i family, helping with a children's class in the new neighborhoods, offering to help visit a new believer and present the deepening themes from Ruhi Book 2, sharing prayers, tutoring a study circle in the home of a new believer, and countless others! All you have to do is arise!

Southern Nevada IPG Day 2

A report from second day of Southern Nevada’s (A) expansion phase. The friends there are having heart-warming encounters with their neighbors, and are adapting to their needs, such as language.

Dearest Friends,

Great joy abounds in the Southern Nevada cluster! As we end the second day of our second intensive program of growth, another individual has declared their belief in Baha'u'llah! This brings our total up to five, bringing us close to our goal of twenty-four. Today we had thirty friends from around the cluster go out in nine teams into two neighborhoods.

Late in the afternoon, teams shared heart-warming teaching stories. In one home, a newly enrolled believer explained: “You were sent from God to come to my house and share with me this message and for that I am thankful."

Another team described their experience: “We visited a home and began to do Anna's presentation in English to a young lady. However, after doing a portion of the presentation we noticed that there seemed to be some language difficulty for the seeker although she was very receptive. The seeker seemed to be more comfortable in her native Spanish. So, we decided to switch to the Spanish presentation although no one on our team speaks Spanish. The seeker gladly took the presentation and began reading it and was very receptive to the words.”

Southern Nevada IPG Day 1

Exciting news from Southern Nevada (A), which is in the middle of the expansion phase of the second cycle of its intensive program of growth. The following excerpts from the first day of the expansion phase show the enthusiasm, focus, and organization of the friends.

Forty-five excited and dedicated friends attended the cluster reflection meeting pledging their efforts in teaching, praying and supporting the second cycle of intensive growth in our cluster! By early afternoon nine teaching teams with twenty-nine people spread out into two neighborhoods, armed with prayer, teaching materials and a vision of teaching receptive souls. They advanced, with the following four areas as their focus for teaching:

1. Friends, family and co-workers of the new believers

2. Individuals that expressed interest in learning more about the Faith that we were unable to follow up with from the last intensive program of growth

3. Homes not yet visited at the two neighborhoods previously focused on

4. A new neighborhood.

As the teams gathered at the end of the first afternoon, we discovered that four souls had proclaimed their belief that Bahá'u'lláh is the Manifestation of God for this day. One of these new believers has requested the teachers to return soon to share the message of Bahá'u'lláh with their families and friends.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The numbers add up

The numbers are in from Boston, MA (A), which recently completed another expansion phase. The experience of the friends involved in the teaching work clearly shows that there is substantial interest in the Faith. The numbers speak for themselves:


25 Baha'is participated in door-to-door teaching,

90 home visits were requested to discuss the Faith at greater length.


30 Baha'is participated in door-to-door teaching.

549 doors were knocked on.

269 people answered.

137 were interested in hearing Anna's presentation in part or full.

112 were interested in being visited again.

We had 6 declarations over 3 weekends involving 18 hours of direct teaching.

About 200 people wish to be visited again to hear more of Anna's presentation and ask further questions about the Faith.

Preparing for consolidation

Exciting news from Harrisburg/Lancaster, PA (A), which recently finished the first expansion phase in its intensive program of growth. The teaching work has forged bonds of love and created new friendships. Further, the believers have planned several practical steps for consolidation.

Dear friends in the Harrisburg/Lancaster Cluster:

We wanted to report that the final day of the intensive expansion phase of our first cycle as an A cluster has ended with another wonderful soul entering the Cause of God! Nine teachers participated in the neighborhood teaching today and there are many wonderful stories to share of the receptivity of the seekers and the palpable confirmations that were descending upon those sharing the Message.

So, we now enter with anticipation and excitement the consolidation phase of this cycle, with many new believers to visit and strengthen bonds of love with. The Area Teaching Committee met this morning to begin planning the next steps, which include individual and family nurturing, further development of human resources to carry out the consolidation work through refreshers on the deepening themes from Book 2, and learning how to bring new believers directly into the teaching work.

There are other plans and steps to be taken in the days and weeks ahead and we look forward to bringing these to the community so that those who are interested can see how they might participate.

Our cluster looks entirely different now with the addition of 19 new believers, most of whom are from Latino background. We look forward to spending fruitful hours in this area where so many have been receptive to the call of Bahá’u’lláh.

With loving greetings,

Harrisburg/Lancaster ATC

Transformation through teaching

Teaching brings transformation. Here is a summary report from the Area Teaching Committee of Hartford-Tolland, CT (A), which recently completed the expansion phase of its intensive program of growth. The friends there prepared themselves to share the message and are now seeing the transformation in their community.

On behalf of the Hartford-Tolland cluster Area Teaching Committee, we are writing you to let you know of our experiences during our expansion phase from April 12 through April 21. Although our report is brief, we feel that several paradigm shifts took place. Efforts were made in new arenas that showed us what other clusters have also been experiencing: direct teaching brings results! Through Anna’s presentation and door-to-door teaching, people heard the name and message of Bahá’u’lláh, hearts were opened, previous contacts were reached on a deeper level, believers arose to teach in ways they wouldn’t have done before, and were empowered by the training in the active refreshers of Book 6. We had 2 enrollments at the end of the expansion phase.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Never too young to teach

Two stories from the Northeast show clearly that children can be effective teachers of the Faith. Even a five-year old can do what grown-ups do: think of the people they know and identify who they can teach.

We went to the home of a seeker whose children are in children's classes. This family took us throughout the neighborhood and introduced us to all of their neighbors. The kids in the children’s class decided to return to the neighborhood to help some of the older residents and one disabled woman with their yards as a service. The spirit of love and community that was created was unimaginable—and people naturally began to ask more about the Faith. Three Bahá’ís returned to the first home to share Anna's presentation with and were met with an incredible receptivity. There are many other people in this neighborhood that can also be visited.

We had a children's cluster meeting at the same time as our adult cluster meeting and the children created their own personal teaching plans for who they would like to teach. A five-year-old decided that he was going to share the Faith with his babysitter. Well, the next week his father learned that this person was in fact interested in learning more, and she came to a fireside the following weekend. She was strongly attracted to the Faith. She has decided to investigate further and is coming to her first study circle tonight!

Consolidation plan in Philadelphia

Consolidation is the name of the game in Philadelphia, PA (A). The friends there have recently completed the expansion phase of their intensive program of growth. They have mapped out a simple, clear and systematic plan of action for their consolidation phase.

As our expansion phase drew to a close, we warmly welcomed eight more blessed souls to the Baha’i community. That means, during our ten-day period of intense teaching, eleven souls declared their faith in Bahá’u’lláh! Truly amazing.

Now, we are beginning our consolidation phase. This phase will involve:

(1) Carrying out follow-up home visits to new believers and seekers,

(2) Arranging for new believers and seekers to join the core activities (i.e. study circles, devotional gatherings, children’s classes, junior youth groups), and

(3) Accompanying new believers as they build the capacity for service.

This phase is critical. When these blessed souls can begin participating in the life of the community without delay, we can increase our pool of human resources to sustain growth in future cycles.

We can each contribute to the consolidation phase by:

(1) Visiting the homes of new believers to study with them the deepening themes of Book 2, and

(2) Hosting junior youth groups and children’s classes for the children of these believers and their neighbors.

This phase will undoubtedly be a time of great learning and perseverance. We have complete confidence in our community’s capacity to arise to serve with love and courage.

Warmest regards,

Your Area Teaching Committee

Building connections

Insights from Evanston and Skokie, IL (A), whose cluster has just finished the expansion phase of the second cycle of its intensive program of growth. Each day, teaching teams would set out to visit homes to share the message of Bahá’u’lláh and to follow-up with individuals who had previously expressed interest in the Faith. Each evening they would come together and share their experiences. Here is one of the many insights they have gained:

For Anna’s presentation, the important thing is not merely to complete it but to make the personal connection. Expand it, contract it, follow your instinct rather than just plow through the presentation. Have points where the listener can give feedback, and be ready to offer to continue at another time. It is all about building connections.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

75 declare in NYC: "Now is when the real work begins"

In past weeks there has been very exciting news coming from New York City (A), during its latest expansion phase. The friends have been inspired and thrilled by their teaching experiences, and they are now preparing follow-up consolidation activities to carry forward the process of growth. Their excitement is truly infectious.

Dearest brothers and sisters in the City of the Covenant,

It is with great joy and extreme gratitude that this message is sent at the close of our intense expansion phase. During these past 15 days, nearly 100 people participated in a collective door-to-door teaching campaign and 73 souls have declared their belief in Bahá’u’lláh, 5 of which were as a result of direct teaching with personal contacts. Most importantly, the prayers and support that surrounded these endeavors by all the members of the New York City community created a sense of unity unprecedented in recent years.

Now, dear friends, is when the real work begins. We are now embarking on the consolidation phase, during which we will strengthen connections with these precious souls. This will undoubtedly be a learning phase for the entire New York City community as we strive to adapt to the reality of the first stirrings of entry by troops. What we have learned from other clusters is that the consolidation process is one that requires patience, an attitude of learning, and careful and diligent persistence.

There is room for EVERYONE to be involved in the consolidation efforts. At present, consolidation will involve accompanying fellow Bahá’ís on home visits to share the deepening themes from Book 2 with new believers, as well as starting children's classes or junior youth groups with the children and friends of new believers.

Additionally, there will be a series of Consolidation Days in the following weeks. The first ones are this Saturday and Sunday . . . more information to come.

In complete awe,

The New York City Area Teaching Committee

Saturday, May 17, 2008

"It was all a natural process"

The following story from the South shares the journey of a new believer . . .
A young librarian became a Baha'i in our home this morning. Emily's parents are Baha'is but she never declared. As a result of several events, including her parent's recent pilgrimage, a good friend's passing, and her sister becoming an Episcopalian, Emily was moved to seek the Faith vigorously, contacting the Baha'i website in the process. The local seeker response person referred her to us, we made an appointment, and she came to our home this morning. After chatting with her and talking about the Faith, she was invited to join the Faith, which she enthusiastically embraced. She signed the card, we offered prayers, and we then shared Anna's presentation. She will join our Book 1 (Reflections on the Light of the Spirit) study circle with seekers this Sunday evening, and this afternoon she will go with us to her first Feast.
It was all a very natural process.

New believer: "I tell them who Baha'u'llah is"

The following stories from the ATC of Washington DC (A) share many examples of consolidation reported about new believers.
C____ embraced the Faith during this trimester's expansion phase, and at the same time enrolled her young son. Right away she was invited to begin to study. Within a week of accepting Baha'u'llah, she had been visited twice and was studying Book 1 (Reflections on the Life of the Spirit), and has been doing so regularly since then. She is now in the middle of the second unit of the book, and understands that this is a sequence of courses, and she is excited about moving through the sequence and carrying out the practices.
When she completed the first unit, the tutors (who also were the teachers who presented Anna's presentation to her during the expansion) gave her a gift of the Hidden Words. She was thrilled with the book, holding it carefully in her hands, saying how it is "so beautiful on the cover and what's inside". She understood that the practice of the first unit was to read from this book or from some of the Baha'i writings every morning and evening. And when she came the next week to study again (and join her tutors for dinner at their home), she had obviously gone beyond her personal reading and had begun to share the Writings with others.'

Over dinner, we asked her if she might want to share some thoughts with the cluster about her experience over the past weeks. She talked about how during the last week "friends have asked about Baha'u'llah, and I tell them who Baha'u'llah is. I have shared prayers with friends and co-workers. One friend commented how nice the Hidden Words are. One of my friends had a difficult day and had a problem, a test, with another coworker and I shared with her 'when a thought of war comes, replace it with a stronger thought of peace' and my friend really liked that."

She also talked about how she is using the Baha'i Writings now rather than making up her own prayers. She said, "I've always been in the habit of saying my own prayers, short prayers that I make up, now I am beginning to develop the habit of saying these prayers from Baha'u'llah."
She has begun to teach the Faith - arising immediately to share with others the Message she has embraced. She told us, "I've told several peple about the Bahai Faith and people seemed interested." Also she said that some family members have asked, "Who is Baha'u'll'ah, who is this person?", showing a little bit of reluctance about the "new religion" she had accepted and begun to promote. She said that when they spoke to her like that, she told them that, "The Baha'i Faith is about love, it's about unity, it's about the oneness of all religions." And with this response "...they calm down, they even begin to get interested." She has a plan to share Anna's presentation with one person who has expressed interest, and, together with her tutors, is thinking about other people she can present the Faith to during the next few weeks.
In addition to this story . . .
There are two other people who speak Spanish who embraced the Faith during this trimester's expansion phase who are engaged in the study of Book 1 in Spanish. The people who had taught these people during the expansion phase took responsibility for making sure that the new believers were visited with themes of Book 2, and that they were connected with the study of Book 1. This involved calling people who could be tutors and then sharing that information with the coordinator of the institute, at time going with the tutors to begin the study circles, and at certain points actually studying Book 1 with the new believers if the tutor couldn't come or in order to stay connected with the people.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Seeker Response connects people to study circles, enroll

Here are two brief accounts from Lansing, MI (B), in which individuals who contacted the National Seeker Response system were connected with local believers who then assisted them to join a study circle.

You asked about ___’s journey to the Faith. Here's how I understand it. She picked up a Bahá’í newspaper which had been left in an employee lounge, and was immediately intrigued by it. A friend observed her reading it and commented that he was also a Bahá’í, further fueling her interest since they were already friends. She called 1-800-22UNITE and was sent literature and also corresponded with her. She was told about study circles and I was contacted to see if there were any going on in our cluster. One began immediately with her and another seeker. At the second session of Book 1 (Reflections on the Life of the Spirit), both of them formally declared their belief in the Blessed Beauty and enrolled in the Faith. They have continued to come to the study circle.

The second seeker had previously contacted the World Center and then was directed to the National Teaching Office. He received literature and contacted the Bahá’ís where he was living at the time. When he moved here, he was visited by two of the friends. He then joined the study circle and declared.


Effective follow-ups to internet seekers

Here is a brief report from Oak Brook, IL (A) about a family who learned about the Bahá’í Faith on the internet and then contacted the National Seeker Response System. The seekers were followed up by the friends at the local level, who have worked to ensure that there are activities that they can participate in.


We called them and they were invited to different Bahá’í activities. They are very interested and they think that the Bahá’í Faith can be the answer. I met them in their home and gave them some books including the prayer book and other materials. They received registration cards for their children. I will give you more information as I meet them. Both of them think that they can reach unity through the Bahá’í Faith.

Also, I suggested they host a Ruhi study circle and children’s class in their home, and they agreed.

Loving regards,


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Persistence leads to learning

Persistent efforts have lead to learning in Evanston and Skokie, IL (A), which have just completed the expansion phase of the second cycle of their intensive program of growth. The friends are learning how to identify receptive populations, how to open a conversation about the Faith, how to connect with people, how to follow-up with an individual or family after an initial visit. Below is a summary of some of the friends’ experiences; one can feel their increasing confidence!

Even in places where people said they were not interested in learning about the Faith, they were happy to pray with the Bahá’ís, and some individuals specifically requested prayers for friends and family members. One person was surprised and happy when the Bahá’ís offered to organize a devotional gathering in her home. In another case, an individual stated that they were happy in their present church but noted that some of their neighbors would need the Bahá’í Faith. The teachers then asked, “Well, would you pray for us, since we are working shoulder to shoulder to help connect people with God?” This individual agreed to do so. The friends have seen the benefits of leaving people with the understanding that we are all co-workers.

Another way in which the friends demonstrated openness was to make it clear that the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh are for everyone, not just the members of the Bahá’í community. Thus, they are saying, “Bahá’u’lláh teaches this” rather than saying “We Bahá’ís do this and this.”

Several individuals who were visited expressed an interest in the forthcoming choir concert at the House of Worship and requested a flier to distribute at their church.

One of the friends who was serving as the “prayer partner” for the teaching team noted, “Next time I can take turns with someone and speak. Some of the people my teaching partner talked to, I thought, I could have talked to them also!” Another believer noted that opening by saying, “Hi, my name is ___ and we are in your neighborhood,” that it would create a personal connection.

Consolidation takes focused effort. In the case of one new declarant, there were several different encounters—both planned and unplanned—via a number of different teaching teams, as well as a large amount of follow-up knocking on doors. All of these efforts eventually bore fruit as this individual was connected with the Bahá’ís, and the other members of his family also had a chance to meet the friends; their impressions of the Faith were warm and positive.

Share with us your experiences with Anna's Presentation

Over the past few months, we have been receiving many inspiring stories about “Anna’s Presentation”, which is a introductory explanation of the Bahá’í Faith that clearly and directly presents some of its main verities. Throughout the country, the believers have found Anna’s presentation an effective tool when engaging in door-to-door teaching. However, in many places, the friends are also finding Anna’s Presentation useful in other venues, such as proclamation events, firesides, Holy Day celebrations.

For example, the following is a report from San Antonio, TX (A):

“At the 12th Day of Ridvan celebration given at the Bahá’í Center, a beautiful and inviting 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.”

Further, a friend in Knoxville, TN (A) shares:

“We are using Anna’s presentation in our fireside and trying to encourage more friends to incorporate it in small or large firesides”

Share your experiences with Anna’s presentation in various venues, the approaches and formats that you have used for it, as well as some of the results. Write to

Enrolments in Triangle

Breaking news from the Triangle, NC (A), which has just completed another expansion phase. The youth in that cluster are confidently teaching alongside their elders.

Dear all,

The expansion phase ended last weekend and by the end 15 adults and youth declared and two children were registered. We are thrilled! We had the wonderful bounty of more than 40 enthusiastic teachers in the field, several of whom were youth. One 15-year-old youth helped to confirm the Faith of three new believers.



Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Common history interest bridge to teaching

Individual initiative in teaching can take a myriad of forms. Here is a report from Fairhope, AL (C), in which a believer has creatively used connections and common interests to share the message of the Faith.

I will tell you a story about Fairhope. I went to the History Museum in Fairhope and met the curator; we had a long discussion, and I mentioned the Faith and the earliest Bahá’í to the South, Paul Kingston Dealy. The curator told me that they are doing an exhibit two months from now featuring Paul Dealy’s great-grandson, William Dealy, because for years he did caricatures and cartoons of town people, mayors, and other public figures.

I mentioned to him the high station of William Dealy’s great-grandfather. He asked if I would bring him more information. I took him copies of Paul Dealy's letters, as well as Robert Stockman's book, The Bahá’í Faith In America, which has some very good information about Paul Dealy in Chapter 8.

The curator grew more interested and said that he will include some of the information about Paul Dealy in the exhibit on William Dealy. Some of the friends came to Fairhope to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Faith in the South a few years ago and might enjoy this follow-up.

I have invited the museum curator to dinner and will invite the Bahá’ís from the area to attend. I am in hopes that in the future we can host another event here in town commemorating Paul Dealy and perhaps involve the History Museum.

In other news, our region’s seeker response representatives are receiving many inquiries from Texas and Florida. This is a reflection of all the intensive programs of growth in these areas: Hooray!

Sent with loving greetings and great appreciation,


Reaching out to Spanish speakers

Here is a report from Chicago, IL (A) about a direct teaching effort to reach the Spanish-speaking population in one of that city’s sectors. It is simple and to the point: preparation, action, and follow-up. And who said you shouldn’t hang around on street corners?

Bahá’ís from across Chicago launched a direct teaching campaign on April 5–13 to reach the sector’s large Spanish-speaking population. Eight Bahá’ís fluent in Spanish met several times in advance to practice Anna’s presentation in that language. On 2 consecutive weekends, 4 or 5 teaching teams went out into various neighborhoods and shared with receptive souls the healing message of Bahá’u’lláh. They knocked on doors and met individuals at busy corners or at parks. A few teams also went out during the week.

As a result, nearly 150 individuals heard about the Faith, more than 30 showed interest in learning more, and 2 declared their faith. The campaign is now in the consolidation phase, visiting both the newly declared and those who expressed an interest in learning more.

In addition to Spanish-speaking individuals, the teaching teams made contact with an incredible diversity of people from various nationalities, ethnic groups and walks of life. Those who arose to take part in this project were witness to the confirmations promised in the Writings. The experience they gained will be invaluable for future teaching campaigns across the city.

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

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New resources for teachers posted

In the Resources section of this site (below right) are posted links to some wonderful materials that can be used during direct teaching. The first are flip-books that contain some of the deepening themes from Ruhi Book 2. The second are flip-books with an illustrated version of Anna’s presentation from Book 6. Use with joy!

Book 2 Deepening Themes:

Single Version - for printing a single copy:

Double Version - for printing two per page:

Anna's Presentation:

Single Version - for printing a single copy:

Double Version - for printing two per page:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"The love that was generated was infectious"

Here is a brief note about three new declarations in Savannah, GA (A). The Black Men’s Gathering mentioned in the message is an organization of Bahá’í men of African descent who come together on a regular basis in chapters throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, Canada and the Caribbean to share their experiences and to strengthen their commitment to the Bahá’í Faith.

Dear loved ones:

We are just coming out of a whirlwind weekend with the Savannah Black Men’s Gathering. Once again the community responded in a crazy way. It was absolutely marvelous. The love that was generated was infectious. As a result of their experience, three youth declared their belief in Bahá’u’lláh. Families of our newer friends got a chance to visit with us and share in this special time.

Bahá’u’lláh continues to bless us and we are thankful.

Loving greetings,

Youth at the forefront in action!

Received May 6, 2008

Dear friends, after a wonderful Youth Gathering yesterday, three of our West Pasco youth, joined the teams who went to the neighborhood area of the Baha’i Center, as a follow up to the registering children for the neighborhood children classes.

A youth team was able to register 3 Vietnamese children for the first neighborhood children class in our cluster. The other teams have been doing a great job with their follow up efforts.

The plan is to start the class by next week, thus meeting another goal of our Cluster’s first Cycle of Growth! A group of our youth are committed to be the teachers of this class.

Wherefore, O ye illumined youth, strive by night and by day to unravel the mysteries of the mind and spirit, and to grasp the secrets of the Day of God. Inform yourselves of the evidences that the Most Great Name hath dawned. Open your lips in praise. Adduce convincing arguments and proofs. Lead those who thirst to the fountain of life; grant ye true health to the ailing. Be ye apprentices of God; be ye physicians directed by God, and heal ye the sick among humankind. Bring those who have been excluded into the circle of intimate friends. Make the despairing to be filled with hope. Waken them that slumber; make the heedless mindful.

Such are the fruits of this earthly life. Such is the station of resplendent glory. Upon you be Baha'u'l-Abha.

(Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 415)

With loving Baha’i greetings

~ATC Secretary

Everyone playing their part

The friends in Eugene, OR (A) have been busy and systematic during the first expansion phase of their intensive program of growth, which was launched just before Ridvan 2008. A variety of approaches were used, with each facet supporting the others. Here are some excerpts from the report of the Area Teaching Committee:

15 firesides or devotional gatherings were held in the cluster, attended by 32 people from the wider community.

Informational tables were set up at the local Bahá’í Center and at two colleges. The use of Anna’s Presentation at the booth at the Bahá’í Center provided an easy format to present the Faith.

26 individuals requested the Bahá’ís to contact them and give additional information about the Faith; 16 of the friends committed to following up personally with one or more of these individuals.

The friends gathered at the Bahá’í Center each day in the morning, noon and evening to offer prayers for the teaching efforts. These were attended by between five to fifteen believers each time.

Children’s classes and one junior youth group were conducted and were attended by members of the wider community.

Exploratory teaching was carried out in a few neighborhoods in the cluster. Several positive opportunities emerged, including requests for subsequent visits, which are being followed up. At one apartment complex, a relatively large percentage of those visited expressed an interest in learning about the Faith.

A total of 70 children, youth and adult believers supported one or more of the above efforts.


Your Area Teaching Committee

Monday, May 5, 2008

"We immediately sent a team out"

The following was received from the ATC secretary of the Greater Tucson (A) cluster about a seeker who contacted the National Seeker Response System and was supported at the regional and local levels . . .

Fantastic news!!!

We received this email Saturday morning.

We immediately sent a team out that day. She was very excited about our visit but asked us to return because she had company.

A team returned the next day. The teacher presented Anna's presentation, and the seeker immediately declared. The teacher also started a book 1 study circle right away. She is eagerly awaiting a return visit.


Friday, May 2, 2008

"Now you have answered that question for me"

You will enjoy reading the newsflash below from the ATC from the San Francisco/San Mateo (A) cluster.

Dear Friends of Cluster NC09,

4 beautiful individuals joined our community today! This brings the number of newly declared souls in our cluster to 21!

A young woman declared her belief in Baha'u'llah today, and registered her 3 children. She asked us to come back Wednesday afternoon to share the message of the Baha'i Faith with her husband. Here is the story of the encounter from the perspective of one of the Baha'is who had the bounty of meeting her.

On Wednesday, some Baha'i friends revisited a few of the individuals in East Palo Alto who had initially said they were not interested in hearing about the Baha'i Faith because they had their own religions. This time these individuals were invited to assist with a neighborhood children's class. They agreed to help-- one woman said she would invite her friends to bring their children, and another neighbor said he would contribute the snack. We look forward to establishing these community-uniting activities within this neighborhood!

This is how we met . . . .

She was the 4th person to open the door to us on Thursday afternoon. At first she opened the door only a crack, and my partner explained to her who we were, and gave a 1 minute introduction to the Baha'i Faith (the first paragraph of Anna's Presentation). He asked if she would like to hear more, and she opened the door a little wider, and said yes she would. He continued on to explain the Unknowable Essence of God, progressive revelation, and Baha'u'llah as the Manifestation of God for this age. During this time, the door slowly opened wider and we began to see her two young children peaking from behind her in the apartment. She did not seem to notice the noise of the playing children in the background, and instead watched my partner attentively as he described to her the life of Baha'u'llah. My partner paused to ask her if she felt it was possible that Baha'u'llah was a Manifestation of God. She replied that she had recently been asking herself why it was that in past ages God had sent Prophets, but now he did not send any. She continued, "Now you have answered that question for me-- He has sent Prophets for today." Our hearts were filled with joy by these words! My partner went on to explain the station of Abdu’l-Bahá, The Báb, and the Universal House of Justice. He also spoke of the laws, and emphasized the law regarding the education of children. At the end of the presentation, my partner invited her to join the community. He gave her a declaration card, and a registration card for each of her children, and emphasized that the most important things was that she believed in Baha'u'llah in her heart. She unhesitatingly filled out the card for herself, and for her three children, and asked us to return at 3pm on Wednesday to share the Baha'i Faith with her husband. We left feeling warm from the pure-hearted joy and radiance she shined upon us during our visit!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

New believers take the lead in Savannah

Received April 28, 10:02 pm

Savannah, GA (A) continues to grow. The new believers are bringing a wonderful spirit to that community and are stepping into the arena of service. It is also heartwarming to see junior youth developing a Bahá’í identity and confirming their beliefs as they become 15. Here is a brief update from one of the friends.

Dear friends:

What a wonderful Feast we had tonight. Feast, again was attended by mostly new friends and this time with a twist. One of our previous junior youth turned 15 and immediately signed his declaration card yesterday. I thought that was going to be the highlight of the evening until one of our new believers of less than a year presented the community with three declaration cards. Now our new friends are teaching and finding receptive souls!

Two weeks after the end of the first expansion phase of our first intensive program of growth, declarations are continuing to come in as we stand at 21 new enrollments for this cycle. We also have junior youth who have become declared when they reached age 15. Since November of 2007 we have grown by 74 new believers. However, the Five Year Plan is not just about enrollments but more about sustained growth.

Please, please keep us in your prayers that we can continue our efforts.

In His Service,



11 more enrollments in Oklahoma City

Received April 28, 3:28 pm

News flash from Oklahoma City (A), which has just finished the expansion phase of the first cycle of its intensive program of growth:


I just wanted to keep you in the loop of what’s going on here in the Oklahoma City cluster. As you know we just finished our first intensive program of growth on Sunday and we had a total of 11 declarations (seven of them just happened this last weekend.) So that brings our total declarations to 16 since we've became an A cluster.

Thanks for your prayers and lots of love.


Core activities are the foundation

Story received April 26, 6:20 pm

In many parts of the country, the core activities lay the foundations for further teaching efforts. A report from Santa Clara County West, CA (A) which recently launched its intensive program of growth, illustrates this clearly.

Good news from the Santa Clara West cluster: today is the 10th day of their expansion phase, yet it is day number one for door-to-door teaching at one apartment complex where one of the friends has been teaching a children’s class for over a year. There are about 200 adults and children in this complex, and more than 30 are already part of the community of interest.

This evening two of the friends started teaching. They knocked on one door of a home where family members are already participating in study circles and children’s classes. During this visit, three people declared their belief in Bahá’u’lláh. Please remember these special friends in your prayers.

For certain, a new spirit is permeating this cluster. Friends are calling and asking to receive training on delivering Anna's presentation more effectively; young adults have recently called and asked to consult on how to be more outward looking and how to use Anna's presentation, and the Local Assemblies are quickly and nimbly responding to the Plan and to collaboration.