All of us can slide into routines. Something you do every day, every week, so much that it becomes automatic and maybe just at the back of your mind. Sometimes we can even make the Faith itself just a routine. We do all our activities—on autopilot. One of the things that can shake us out of our routines is the sheer joy and excitement of new believers. These two stories, shared by a regional seeker response specialist, illustrate several things: First, yet another reminder that there are indeed receptive souls everywhere. Second, they help us reflect on how a local community can welcome in and support new Bahá’ís. Third, they show the immense enthusiasm and consecration of new believers. Let’s all turn off our cruise control and strive to “run out of teaching materials”!
This new believer is teaching over half a dozen seekers. She had already declared when she contacted us—she was asking for literature to teach others, since she had run out of materials! She is really on fire.
She thinks of the Faith all the time, reads all the times, and finds seekers who are interested in the Faith all the time. She is now participating in a Book 1 study circle. I’ve also sent her the PowerPoint presentation that can be used when sharing Anna’s conversation, as well as explained how to enroll folks online and with hard copy cards. (When she declared at a Bahá’í gathering, it was so unexpected that someone had to drive to their home to get a registration card.)
I invited her to write up her story. Here are some excerpts: . . .
My Journey to the Bahá’í Faith
It all started years ago when I was younger and I felt unfulfilled with religion. I always wondered which religion was the “right” religion. I went to church occasionally but I never felt that I was fulfilled. I was not okay being in a religion where I as a woman was automatically considered less than a man and was told to be submissive to men. I just felt like God loved all His creations equally and therefore that meant we were all equal.
In high school, I had many friends of many different religions and was always interested in learning what each one was all about. I came to a conclusion that religions were connected and it felt like God was the same for all religions and He just used different Messengers.
I investigated a lot of religions to see if I could find something that I felt connected to, but could not. Then I learned that one of my classmates talking about his religion, and I learned he was a Bahá’í.
I did research on my own and it clicked. Here was something telling me that I as a woman was equal and that religions are truly meant to be a uniting force and not something that divides. It took me a while to get the conviction to go for it and truly strive to become a Bahá’í. I know it is right because I now feel a fulfillment that I never did before. I feel like I now belong and fit somewhere and that I'm not crazy for thinking the things that I have felt about religion. I am excited and want to learn more about the Faith and be active in it.
I’ve always been a Bahá’í; I’ve never not been one. I was starving for it, begging for it.
Since becoming a Bahá’í my soul feels different. It has changed my life, and I’m in it for life.
Here is another:
I know I’m a Bahá’í because I believe in everyone coming together as one to solve our world’s problems.
I was at a moment in my life when I needed something to help pick me up, and that’s when I found Bahá’u’lláh. He and His teachings have opened up a new way of life, a new door for me. And all of humankind should work together as one and not fight against each other but work and help each other.
This Faith and Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings and what He has done for us is going to make me appreciate life more and be happier with what I have and make the best of it. Now that He has my soul, because I believe, under Him I am safe.