Monday, December 28, 2009

30? No, you now have 32 Baha'is!

Here is a trio of stories from Fort Bend-Brazoria, TX (A), all of which show the immense receptivity that is out there—in some cases the believer considers themselves a Bahá’í for some time before they announce their declaration to the friends. The teachers are sensitive and loving and take whatever time is necessary with a seeker and allow the teaching to proceed naturally. This is also a great example of the power of devotional gatherings and firesides.

As a result of direct teaching, our community has seen several new souls enter under the banner of Bahá’u’llah during this Five Year Plan.

One of our community members began sharing the Faith with her client after her Pilgrimage in Haifa. She shared photos and stories, as well as Anna’s Presentation. After a year and a half of lovingly sharing the Faith, in small increments whenever this client came to the Bahá’í’s shop for appointments, the seeker attended her first devotional gathering at the Bahá’í Center. After an hour of praying and visiting with those present, she told her friend, “You know, I’ve been a Bahá’í for about an hour now!” And she declared on the spot! . . .

During the intensive teaching effort, one man was visited. After sharing the fundamental verities of the Faith with him, the Bahá’ís asked him if he believed that Bahá’u’llah was the Manifestation for Today. He said yes and filled out a registration card. He asked, however, that the friends wait to process his enrollment, because he wanted his wife to learn about the Faith too. So the teachers and an Auxiliary Board member visited the family several times. After a month, the couple attended a fireside. At the end of the presentation the wife asked, “How many believers do you have in your community?” One of the friends responded, “Oh, about thirty.” The woman said, “No, I think you have thirty-two.” “What do you mean?” the Bahá’í asked. And then the woman replied, “You know—thirty plus my husband and me!”

Looking back to when we had just begun the intensive teaching in our cluster, many prayers were said. Several people, uninvited and unknown to the community, appeared at the devotional meetings at our Center. One of them attended a couple of firesides and then during his third or fourth devotional meeting, declared. After emotional congratulations, he said that he knew he had found the Faith the first time he attended a fireside-dinner at one of the homes. That gentleman is now serving as a member of the devotional planning committee. He comes to the Center every week to support the event. And at Ridvan last year, he was elected to the Local Spiritual Assembly.

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