Friday, August 7, 2009

I'm a Baha'i, now what am I supposed to do?

When we are sharing the basic teachings of the Bahá’í Faith with people, one central aspect is the role of the individual in the Faith. At one level, this refers to the laws and teachings brought by Bahá’u’lláh and our personal duties towards God. At another level, this refers to how a believer will become involved in the life of the community and contribute towards it. In other words, “Now I’m a Bahá’í: what do I do?” Hence, this story from Las Cruces, NM (*C). It involves the local friends following up with a seeker who reached out to the community through the public Web site. One of the local believers worked diligently to connect with her. And as you can see, when she was sharing Anna’s presentation, this question was a central part of the discussion. As you can see, this individual’s yearning to be involved was answered by the core activities.

The seeker response regional specialist conveyed this story:

Dear everyone,

__ contacted the public Web site This story was sent by the cluster institute coordinator for the Las Cruces cluster:

I received the email from the seeker response system. I contacted her by email. She was enthusiastic that I had contacted her and said she would enjoy meeting me. It took several emails, some mishaps with wrong phone numbers and then both of us on vacation (Excuse me, I went on PILGRIMAGE!—and yes I did pray for the cluster!). Long story short, we met this morning at a coffee house near the University. My son joined us for part of the time.

I wanted her to talk first. On pilgrimage we were reminded that few people listen these days—listening is a real service to offer. She had known about the Faith since she was a teen. She is looking for community and is wanting a spiritual element in her life. She remembers the Bahá’ís from her younger days and had always wanted to learn more. . . .

I proceeded to go through Anna’s presentation, slower than usual, but that is my way of doing it. When we got to the page with the picture of the mirror, she proceeded to explain Progressive Revelation to me! She was smiling through most of the presentation.

At one point when we were talking about the individual the community and the institutions she asked how does one find out what they are supposed to do. I told her we had individual responsibilities in this Covenant (e.g. the laws}, but she would find her own path of service for her family and community. She pressed me for more information, and I suggested things such as hosting a devotional gathering for her neighbors, sponsoring a youth group, or teaching children’s classes. She then said, ”Children’s classes I can do.” She was very excited about children’s classes and the fact that we had a training to prepare people to serve as teachers.

By the time we got to the end, she wanted to know what the next step was. I asked her if she believed Bahá’u’lláh was the Manifestation of God for today and she said yes she did believe in Bahá’u’lláh. She was radiant. I told her, “Well, then you are a Bahá’í. Welcome!” She filled out and signed a registration card. I gave her a small prayer book, a postcard from pilgrimage and a bookmark with the shrine of the Báb. She was very happy!

She is in another community in our cluster, about 50 miles from my home. There is a Bahá’í couple there. On Saturday I will introduce her to her neighboring Bahá’ís. Our plan is to have several meetings in the coming weeks. She is very ready to work hard so she can help with children’s classes. I believe a community close by is trying to get their children’s classes going again, so this may be an opportunity for her. I am also trying to organize a Book 1 study circle with her, perhaps with a couple of other new Bahá’ís. We will also send out some friends to visit her at home and share the Book 2 deepening themes.

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