Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"so warmly and immediately welcomed"

All over the country, people continue to reach out to the Bahá’í community through the internet. When someone asks for information about the Faith on the public Web site (or declares their belief online) or calls the 1-800-22-UNITE phone line, they are first usually responded to by a specialist working at the regional level. However, the goal is to put the seeker or new believer in touch with Bahá’ís near them. This is relatively easy to do if the person lives in a large city or an A-stage cluster. But no matter where they live, the goal remains the same and persistent efforts are made to ensure that a seeker or new Bahá’í can be connected with local friends. Here is how this process worked for a family who lives in a remote corner of a C-stage cluster in the South Central region. All it took was dedication and love.

First the “seeker response regional specialist” relates that initial phone call with a family, one of whom registered online.

Beloved Friends,

My heart is moved to tears. Tonight I had the honor and privilege to meet for over an hour with two beautiful friends. One had registered online yesterday and her husband showed up on the system as a seeker. In their comments they said that they have tried to find Bahá’ís that live near them but it has not been easy. . . .

I spoke with __ for about 30 minutes first. They learned about the Faith in their home country a few years ago from a pioneer couple. They also have a friend in Atlanta who has been teaching them also. His wife has already taken Ruhi Books 1 and 2.

As I went through the basics with __, I realized he already considered himself a Bahá’í. I asked, do you believe all that we are speaking about? He said yes. I said, would you like to become a Bahá’í? He said yes.

They are in a small town way out in the countryside. They so much want to be part of a Bahá’í community. I see my main goal tomorrow to find a team that will lovingly embrace and welcome them.

And that is what she did. After identifying Bahá’ís that lived near these new believers, she conveyed their contact information. She also noted:

__ should receive his membership card very soon. Please let me know how things are going. Love to you all. S.

Soon afterwards, one of the local Bahá’ís reported:

Good morning.

We had a lovely dinner at N’s home this past weekend with this new family and N’s parents and son. I showed a Bahá’í video after dinner and N gave them a Bahá’í prayer book and the Hidden Words, which they accepted happily!

We have organized a similar dinner next weekend for another two new believers.

Thank you for all you do to connect hearts to Bahá’u’lláh.

The regional specialist comments on the significance of this simple act of service:

Though this is a small announcement, it is so big. I wish every Bahá’í community could “roll out the carpet” to those in isolated localities. This young family had a long journey to find us, and they when found, they were so warmly and immediately welcomed by those believers close to them. B is a perfect connection in this area, and N planned this dinner party from the day he was told about this family. And there is now yet another new believer who registered online and is now enrolled. Prayers of gratitude to them . . . love to each one of you.


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