Monday, July 27, 2009

"Many deep moments of joy"

This is a new believer’s account of how he discovered the Bahá’í Faith—and how he plunged into active service after declaring. Woven throughout his story are many, many clear examples of the role of core activities and the institute process in both teaching and consolidation. This cluster clearly has many dedicated friends all working together to establish a coherent pattern of activity. But above all, it simply conveys the excitement of finding the Faith and the sheer joy of teaching.


After rejecting organized religion my entire adult life, I was made aware of the Faith late in 2008 by a wonderful woman, a longtime dedicated Bahá’í, who lives in my apartment building. My interest in the Faith was prompted by seeing how living the Faith infuses her life with joy and purity of spirit; discovering that the guiding principle of the Faith is the Oneness of Mankind; and very significantly, learning and being enthralled by the phrase "World Peace Is Not Only Possible, It's Inevitable".

After many conversations with my Bahá’í neighbor, much reading of books she gave me, and participating in various Bahá’í meetings, devotionals, and firesides with other beautiful Bahá’í people, I came to know that the next step I must take was to declare my belief in Bahá’u’lláh and my acceptance of the Faith, and I became a Bahá’í. . . .

Soon after declaring, I became ignited by a fire within me to teach the Faith to others. As someone who has worked to promote the causes of Peace and Love for several decades, I pondered over a personal question: how could I continue to be active in the peace movement, and still have time to work on spreading the Faith? The answer came to me in a startling but unequivocal way: that the best and most useful path for me to follow in advancing the cause of Peace was to concentrate my efforts on advancing the Faith! I realized that advancing the cause of Peace and advancing the Faith are, simply, one and the same thing!

Since that moment, I have endeavored to promote the Cause in many ways, perhaps most notably by holding a devotional gathering for the residents of our apartment building. This devotional, attended by a few residents, resulted in one neighbor expressing what seems to be a sincere interest in the Faith. This individual has attended some informal meetings at my apartment, at one of which another believer in our cluster shared Anna's conversation. Our neighbor has also begun attending weekly Ruhi 4 classes with me, and has been actively involved in the classes, asking insightful questions and showing enthusiasm about continuing their search for knowledge and truth. It is our hope that we will soon begin a Ruhi 1 class together, along with at least one other seeker, a class which I hope to be privileged to co-facilitate with another active and more experienced member of our cluster.

It is worthy of mention that we have arranged for childcare for our neighbor's child during the Ruhi class, childcare which of course is being provided by yet another dedicated Bahá’í friend in our cluster!

This teaching effort has brought me great satisfaction . . . but it should be noted that, remembering what I am learning in a by Ruhi 6 course on Teaching the Cause, I am not to be overly or personally invested in the outcome of the effort!

I am so gratified to be acting in service to the Faith, and have felt many deep moments of joy in this work. Personally, my life has been beautifully enriched by my acceptance of and involvement in the Faith, and I will be eternally grateful to God, to Bahá’u’lláh, and to the incredible Bahá’í who first introduced me to the Faith. It truly has been a transcendent experience, one I never expected to happen!

It is my hope that this story may provide inspiration to others. Contrasted with my previous nagging concern that perhaps all my work for Peace has been for naught, I am now full of optimism and excitement about the future of our world, because I now know that the Most Great Peace will come!

I would be happy to communicate with other new Bahá’ís, and with others who may be seeking a more effective and satisfying life path.

No comments: