A growing number of individuals are investigating the Faith and declaring their belief in Bahá’u’lláh online. Each of their journeys to the Faith is unique. Some connect with the community almost immediately, others make take longer. Whatever their path, the local friends are there to accompany them and nurture them on their journey. And the Seeker Response System regional specialists are there to assist the local believers and build their capacity to reach out to and connect with new declarants. Here is an ongoing conversation between one of the regional specialists and a local believer in a *C-stage cluster in Texas that demonstrates the love, patience and sensitivity of the friends in responding to a youth who declared his Faith online. Working together, they have nurtured the new believer into the community and into a path of service.
Email 1: Local Bahá’í to online registrant
I'm hoping I dialed the right number (xxx-xxx-xxx) when I left a message for you earlier today! My name is J and I'm a Bahá’í from __. I'm so glad to hear about your interest in the Bahá’í Faith and especially about your recent declaration. How exciting! I spoke to A and she told me she'd been in contact with you. The websites she recommended are awesome. You'll really enjoy reading all the wonderful information on these sites. . . .
I was inspired by what you wrote, especially the part that said, "We are all one and need to live like it." The Bahá’í Faith truly does contain the healing message for today's world. You know, there are several options for learning more about the Faith: talking to another Bahá’í by phone or in person, by email, reading Bahá’í writings or joining a group to study the Bahá’í writings. In __ we currently hold study groups on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings. We'd like to invite you to join us. We'd also like to extend an invitation to your family and friends to attend as well. If you'd prefer, we can arrange to visit with you in your home to study and discuss the Bahá’í Faith. Let us know what works best for you.
If you don't mind, please contact me to let me know you didn't have a problem receiving this. You can either e-mail me or call xxx-xxx-xxx. I'm really looking forward to hearing from you!
Email 2: Seeker Response System regional specialist to local Bahá’í:
That was warm and friendly and encouraging. Don’t worry that he hasn’t responded to you yet. We never know. One other new declarant didn't respond to 5 emails, and 2 phone calls. After 3 months he explained he was extremely shy and it was difficult to talk on the phone, AND that the Faith was helping this this area and all areas of his life! It was good that you mentioned the study circles, and inviting him, friends and family to events, and I'm especially excited to see that you offered to go to his home.
If he doesn’t attend the events tomorrow or on the weekend, I highly recommend you emailing him and saying: "I'd love to stop by to say Hello and introduce myself in person. Does ____________ (maybe Tues) or _____________ (Thurs) work around 8pm?"
He's 'hot' so to speak with this new spiritual surge of joining the Faith. This is a huge, significant step. Also, you or you and a buddy can stop by and show him and his family, in person, that you are friendly, kind, and willing
God bless you,
Email 3: Local Bahá’í to Regional Specialist:
Thought you'd like to know that __ called me this afternoon—not once but twice. I spoke with him and invited him to meet with us. He agreed and said he'd come over to our house Wednesday evening. I also invited him to bring his parents along. He called me later from a bookstore and wanted to know if I could suggest a book for him to read. I suggested he ask someone there specifically for books about Bahá’í Faith. We look forward to meeting him. Thank you for your continued support and prayers.
Email 4: Update from local Bahá’í to Regional Specialist
Alláh’u’Abhá! I wanted to give you an update about how things are going with our new Bahá’í. __ just attended his first 19 Day Feast in our community. What a blessing! He has been attending our Wednesday night study circle regularly. We've started Ruhi Book 1 with him. A Bahá’í youth from our area said she noticed that __ used a quote from Book 1 on his personal Web page. __ is extremely interested in attending meetings and learning more about the Faith. This past Wednesday he showed us his prayer beads that he had ordered and just received. We gave him some other books. He also inquired about the Conference that is going to be held in January and shows real interest in wanting to attend.
We've continued to inquire about his family especially his Mom. She supports him in his journey with the Bahá’í Faith and she has been looking over Bahá’í information as well. Please continue to offer prayers for the development of his soul and for his dear family.
Email 5: Regional Specialist to local Bahá’í
What a gift! __ is a gift to his community, and to you and I am receiving the gift of hearing about his continued confirmation. I will certainly continue to pray for him, and the community. It is very evident that you are nurturing this dear soul very effectively.
A person can quickly enroll in the Faith, but it sometimes takes hours, and weeks and months and years of their time and friends' time to become deepened and to become a resource with skills to be involved in the Five Year Plan.
Since he is actively teaching, you might suggest to him that he and the youth offer a fireside, and you could help host it. Perhaps he and the youth could use Anna's presentation. The two of them could invite their friends so that it would be peer to peer. The topic could be, "The best thing that ever happened to me" or "Even though there is hopelessness in our world, I now have boundless hope, and I want you to know why." Or, they may like the idea of you presenting it.
One other thing that may appeal to __, is to mention right away the practice of Book 1, to host an on-going devotional. He could begin to host this in his home (or a friend's) before completing the book. Evidence from around the country shows that introducing Book 1 participants to the expectation of their involvement and encouraging them to begin hosting a devotional proves very fruitful. You know these things, I am just repeating them as I feel energized from your note.
Thank you again, for letting me know how things are going!