Thursday, June 18, 2009

Accompanying the seeker at each stage of the journey

The friends who serve at the regional level to respond to seekers who call the 1-800-22-UNITE phone line or send inquiries through the Web site are truly dedicated. These “regional specialists” are there to meet the needs of seekers and new believers. If a seeker wants information about the Faith, they provide it. If a seeker wants to meet Bahá’ís, they connect them to believers near them. If seeker wants to become Bahá’í, they take the necessary steps so that the seeker can enroll. Or if someone declares online but then decides that they want more time to investigate, their wishes are respected, and the regional specialist is a resource for them. The regional specialists do not do this in isolation, but work closely with Local Spiritual Assemblies and cluster entities to ensure that interested individuals can be put in touch with Bahá’ís and core activities.

This story from a C-stage cluster in the South Central region is a wonderful example of how accompaniment, patience, and regular follow-up by the regional specialist helped the friend meet the needs of a seeker. . . .

__ declared online using the new online registration process. After speaking with her, the regional specialist realized that she was still considering herself a seeker rather than a new declarant. The regional specialist noted:

We just talked. She needs a little more time and will talk with a Bahá’í she knows at her place of work. She had already registered online, so her status was changed from “registrant” to “seeker” in the database. She has read up on the Faith on the Web.

The regional specialist didn’t stop there but continued to show support to her new friends.

I emailed her and offered assistance with questions, sending books, etc., and informed her of local activities and events. Further contact revealed that she is not ready to declare just yet, but is very interested in furthering her investigation.

__ has become friends with her, and they have found they have very much in common regarding background and interests.

The regional specialist kept in contact with the local community through the Local Spiritual Assembly and learned more about this seeker’s investigation.

J called with terrific news today. __ declared, and is helping out at the Bahá’í Center right NOW, and is involved in community life there. Yá-Bahá’u’l-Abhá!

Neither the regional specialist nor the local community gave up. Their C-stage cluster is on its way to further growth and learning with this approach to teaching!

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