Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"I don't know why nobody asked me before"

Reach out and invite. That’s the main lesson from this inspiring story from the Central region. It involves a believer who shared Anna’s presentation with a co-worker, who then declared his belief in Bahá’u’lláh, and is welcomed into the Faith by his teacher. The important point is that this is someone who had already studied the Faith for years and had many conversations with Bahá’ís during that time. What made this presentation different? The teacher actually invited the seeker to join the Faith, and so he declared. Also noteworthy is that Anna’s presentation is much more than the material printed on a flipbook—it is a heart-to-heart conversation.

__ was ready . . . his story is a very interesting one. By the time we were looking at the third page of the Anna's presentation flip book, my friend indicated, "I've read this presentation before,” and noted that he had seen a copy of it at our workplace and read through the whole thing. “But this is so much better because we can elaborate and go deeper into the questions I have." . . .

Over the years he has known several Bahá’ís and periodically have many conversations about the Faith with them, as well as reading Bahá’í books. He knows a lot, including about the Five Year Plan.

As we continued the presentation, he would said that he'd like to teach the children of the world everything that he has heard. I answered, "Yes, you are already a Bahá’í, and you can do that."

In Spanish, the wording of some statements in Anna’s presentation is even more direct than it is in English, such as: "I would be overjoyed if you were to become Bahá’í today" and "If you agree with everything then you are already a Bahá’í".

My friend asked, "Why did you walk down that hallway and ask me to come to your house? __ was standing next to me."

I answered, "I swear on the grave of my father, I don't have a clue why I asked you." It wasn't planned! I had come out into the hallway and we saw each other and exchanged greetings. Then I had looked him in the eye and said, "Why don't you come to my house this weekend at noon and I'll give you a presentation", to which he agreed immediately.

I explained about the registration card. He asked if he had to sign it. I said, "If it is important for you to sign it, you sign it; if it is important for you not to sign it, then don't sign it". We used the new form, which you tear off and the new believer keeps the top part that has the Short Obligatory Prayer on it.

__ told me, "I don't know why nobody ever asked me before to join." Because he had met Bahá’ís many times over the years. He obviously knew about the registration card; someone had at some point in the past told him about it, but along the lines of, "When Bahá’ís are ready to become Bahá’í, this is what they do." That is a very indirect statement compared to inviting some to join the Faith: "Well, since you agree with everything you have heard, then you are already Baha'i and here is the card for you to fill out."

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