One of the most inspiring trends in recent months is how the friends—wearing different hats, playing different roles, working at different levels—are learning how to work together to teach and to welcome into the community new believers. Here is a wonderful example from the Memphis Area, TN (A) cluster. In this case, an individual researched the Faith on the internet and registered her belief online. The seeker response “regional specialist” then contacted her. She describes how the process then unfolded:
__ saw an article in the paper that mentioned “Bahá’í”. She then looked it up and researched it on the internet. She was amazed to find the emphasis on the oneness of religion unity of all the peoples of the world. Soon after she declared her belief online. . . .
I called her to carry out the affirmation. So that I didn’t take up too much of her time if she needed to get off the phone, I opened up my call by asking, “Hello, how are you? Is this a good time to go through an overview of the Faith? The Bahá’í Faith is a world religion whose purpose is . . .” We talked for an hour and closed with a prayer.
After completing the enrollment electronically, the regional specialist then contacted the local Bahá’ís to enlist their help with welcoming her. She first outlined for them this individual’s needs and interests:
She is happy to be contacted by Bahá’ís who live near her.
I mentioned that in the next couple of days there would probably be a Feast near by. IF you can accompany here, this might be something that she could attend.
If there is a Bahá’í center in the cluster, I mentioned that she might be able to go to a program there this weekend.
Attending a Book 1 study circle.
Perhaps having her children attend a children’s class.
Very important, the regional specialist then made a direct request to the local friends:
If you will be able to call __ by Saturday, PLEASE call or email me so I know that she is being followed up with.
The local friends jumped into action. They got in touch with this new believer and connected her with numerous events. One of the local Bahá’ís reports back to the regional specialist:
Wanted to let you know that today __ attended a social gathering with other Bahá’ís. Tonight she will be out our house for our regular monthly fireside. Tomorrow night she will attend the Feast with her kids. We will also start Book 1 ASAP. Thanks for all the info and for the GOOD work you do!
In the spirit of accompaniment and encouragement, the regional specialist then responded:
This is fantastic news!
It seems to me that it’s not difficult to facilitate an enrollment, but it takes continuous effort and overcoming MANY challenges to do the follow-up work.
Your cluster has shown so much unity and strength, and responded so quickly with her and her family.
A short while later, the Auxiliary Board member provided the following update:
As you know, __ received a lovely welcome to the Bahá’í community. She has now been introduced to the local friends and has been attending various activities and they are working to connect her with the core activities. This level of loving follow-up and integration is very exciting. The cluster institute coordinator has been in contact with her also. __ has been bringing her children to the activities also.
With loving regards,
So all the friends working together have helped ensure that a new believer was warmly welcomed into the community.