One of the most inspiring things to observe these days is how the local friends will mobilize to welcome a new believer into the Bahá’í community. In this case, a youth had declared their belief online, so the Seeker Response system regional specialist informed the Local Spiritual Assembly. What follows is an email chain between the LSA secretary and the new believer. The story of his spiritual search and his expression of belief are truly beautiful. Also wonderful is how the local friends reached out to him, lovingly, respectfully, sensitively and warmly; listened to and responded to his needs, and got him connected!
Part 1: Local Spiritual Assembly secretary to new believer
I was happy to hear from S that we have a new Bahá’í in our community. I wanted to personally welcome you, sorry it’s by email, I didn’t get your phone number from her.
We would be very happy to meet you. I understand you are a youth, so please let me know if you would also want us to meet with your parents and introduce ourselves. My husband and I would be very glad to do so. . . .
I am not sure how your schedule is right now, so I want to let you know of a few activities we’re having during the next few days in case you are interested in participating.
1. The youth will have a Game Night this Saturday, around 7 pm I think. Let me know if you want to go and if you need a ride.
2. Every Monday we have a devotional gathering at our home. We live about 15 minutes from you. It’s an inter-Faith devotional, meaning anyone and everyone is welcome to come.
3. The next Friday evening is a cluster reflection meeting (“cluster” is where members from across the metro area get together). It will be attended by 30+ people and you would get to meet a lot of the friends.
I hope that this isn’t too much information for you now. We are happy to meet you soon. Let me know if it’s ok to put you on the email list that I send to all members of the local community so that you can get the updates when activities such as the 19 Day Feast and other things occur.
Feel free to call me on my cell or email me back!
Warmest Bahá’í Greetings,
Part 2: New believer to LSA secretary
I am very happy that I have been enlightened by God in becoming a Bahá’í. I was wondering if it is possible to interact with the youth via email or social page first so I can accommodate and become familiar with them.
Anyway I’m glad to have connected and I hope to hear from you soon. My phone number is __.
God Bless You.
Part 3: LSA secretary to new believer
Thanks for your phone number. I will tell the youth you want to correspond with them. I’ll send your email to all the youth so you can chit-chat first by email.
My son and his wife live very close to you. I’ll definitely give them your email. I will also call you in the evening.
Looking forward to meeting you.
Part 4: New believer to LSA secretary
Hi! I hope all is well with you. J Can’t wait to meet with you guys.
Here’s my testimony:
In the Name of God, The All Loving, The All Compassionate
Everyday of my life since I can remember, which is since 2 ½ years old, I remember having an intimacy with God. And ever since I can remember I felt a void in my life, like something was missing. And even with that void I still loved and sought God. I sought God in art, I sought God in people’s acts of kindness towards me, I sought God within myself. My early life was extremely difficult. All this I remember clearly, and very clearly I remember everything my mother taught me about God. I attended church regularly, and it was there I began to walk with God. I lived as a Christian, and it was hard since I had beliefs that the congregation was against. I believed that all religions were from God in some form or another. Then I began to dabble in Islam. Still, something was missing.
A teacher at my school was a Bahá’í. Everyone else thought she was this annoyingly happy person, who found something great in everything. She never frowned. And she gave her all in teaching. I felt a deep presence of God in her. And one day we heard she went to Israel for two weeks for a pilgrimage. When she came back she told us of her faith, the beliefs, where it was founded, everything. At that moment I literally felt like I had awoken from a deep sleep!
One day the school had a party, everyone was enjoying themselves, except me. I was off sulking somewhere, very melancholy. My teacher approached me and asked me what was wrong. I poured out my heart. I asked her what was it that made her so happy. And she began to tell her story. And for the next three years I began to delve into the Bahá’í teachings. And as of 8:54 pm, I can testify that today I feel no more pain, no more bitterness, no more hate. I no longer have anger towards those that hurt me. And I feel a peace that no words can illustrate the beauty of it!
Part 5: Seeker Response system regional specialist’s comments
I had the wonderful pleasure of talking over the phone with this incredible Bahá’í, who is so deepened, it is unbelievable. He is amazing, and his emails with the LSA secretary conveys his very high spirits. All of the online registrants in the last few days have been in their late teens or 20 or 21. Love to all of you.