Thursday, April 16, 2009

A relaxed and forthright discussion

There’s a phrase in this report from the Southwest region that truly summarizes what direct teaching involves: “a relaxed and forthright discussion”. We are openly and warmly presenting the Message to interested seekers—in this case, the seeker contacted the Bahá’í community himself through the 1-800-22-UNITE phone line in a way that is clear, direct, respectful and sincere. What is particularly inspiring about this report is that the core activities are naturally presented as an integral part of the Faith and what it is trying to accomplish in the world. Thus, the teaching process is organically linked with these transforming and civilization-building efforts.

Recently, the cluster’s Area Teaching Committee received the name and contact information of __, who lives in Scottsdale and who had called the national 800-22-UNITE Information Request number. Immediately, the Area Teaching Committee passed the information to a local Bahá’í to contact __. Here is his description of what happened next.

Soon after, we met at a coffee shop. __ has been studying different religions and was looking for a faith with which he can identify. After some visiting, __ was asked if he had any specific area of interest and if he would like to receive a comprehensive presentation on the Faith (i.e., Anna's presentation), to which he happily agreed. The presentation was carried through in its entirety, including joint reading of quotes, as well as discussing subject matters included in the presentation, such as the importance of unity, outward orientation, and service to society. In terms of the latter, this meant discussing the components of the current Plan and specifically the 4 Core Activities and what each is designed to accomplish. His responses were very heartwarming and exciting. . . .

At the end of the presentation __ was given a registration card, explaining that if he believed Bahá’u’lláh to be the Messenger of God for this day and age and if he agreed with what the registration card said, he could then join the rest of us Bahá’ís in our endeavor to accomplish our goals of unity and oneness. A relaxed and forthright discussion followed about what it meant to be a Bahá’í. The meeting lasted 3 wonderful and energizing hours. He took the registration card and said that he was ready, that he believed in every thing that he had heard, and that he wanted to reflect about the declaration.

At the next meeting (in the same coffee shop ), __ handed his signed registration card. Since the exciting dynamics of the 4 core activities had been presented to him during the first meeting, he was invited immediately to a Ruhi 1 study circle, which he attended a few hours later. Pursuant his first Ruhi session, and studying and discussing the quotations and observing the dynamics and the level of engagement of the other participants, young and older, he commented how he saw everything coming together.

It is so humbling, such a blessing and unbelievable privilege to be alive and take part in the Plan of the Universal House of Justice.

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