This is a story of accompaniment, encouragement and trust. Like thousands of other individuals, a seeker reaches out to the Bahá’ís via the 800-22UNITE phone line. The regional seeker response specialist speaks with him. Then he is connected to local Bahá’ís. This is something that happens all the time all over the country. What is so compelling in this particular case is illustrated in the comments of the regional specialist: “He said he would like an invitation, and that is when I called you.” At this point, the seeker was requesting the local Bahá’ís to reach out to him—and they did, immediately. And the regional specialist knew she could trust the local friends to do so. She encouraged them by giving them the responsibility, and further encouraged them by praising their efforts. And now their cluster has not 1 but 2 new Bahá’ís. Here are the emails that give the highlights:
First, the local Bahá’ís report back to the regional specialist about their meeting with the seeker, who declared with his friend:
Just wanted to update you on our meeting with __ this morning. We shared a conversation like Anna with him and his friend who accompanied him. Both declared instantly. Our population has increased by 2. . . .
Thanks for your prayers.
E and G
The regional specialist’s response is one of love and encouragement, as well as a reminder of the importance of dedicated friends at the local level who can respond quickly and warmly to a seeker:
Dear E and G,
I am so excited and happy for you and your dear community and __’s community. This is the way it is suppose to work. I knew from the moment I spoke with __ that he had a pure heart and was totally receptive to the faith. We talked for almost an hour and he wanted to know where he could go and I said, "I know the perfect couple. They host devotions and classes in their home and center.” He said he would like an invitation. That is when I called you. And what wonderful response from the two of you! You invited him immediately and he came with his friend. How exciting that you reached their hearts and they responded with their declaration. I also will try to call him and congratulate him and his friend.
If you can follow up by getting your membership person to register them online, this will save much time and they will be processed very quickly.
God was guiding his steps. He had gone to the interfaith meeting and heard a Bahá’í speak. He then got the 800-22UNITE number off one of the pieces of literature that he picked up on a table. He called it, and the National Center gave him my 800 number to call on Friday. I answered the phone and talked with him for an hour listening to his incredible journey and responding to his many questions. I told him about the two of you and what are the odds you would be home the moment I called. He wanted someone to call him immediately and there you were, calling __ and inviting him to the Sunday event and here he is . . . a new believer.
I am so grateful for all of you and your blessed work,
And this encouragement further inspires the friends and gives them increased confidence to continue with their teaching efforts.
Your narrative is not only enlightening but stimulating and inspirational. You always make us thirst for teaching. We know, without doubt, that we are nothing but tools in the pathway of His loved ones, the hollow instrument through which the melodious sound is blown to awaken hungry souls. Thanks for your connecting us to seekers. It is our ardent desire to teach with our limited capacity and ability to anybody ready to hear about our dear Faith, anytime, anywhere and at a hair-breadth opportunity. All that we need are your constant prayers for us to stand firm and be ready for all the challenges that teaching the Faith entails. We will always share the joy with you.
E and G