Friday, May 28, 2010

A conversation between 2 souls

The Ridvan 2010 message of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the world described the direct teaching process as a “conversation between two souls” that ideally continues over time so that “veritable friendships” are formed.  This is a beautiful example of how such a conversation was set up—in this case, a very long distance separated the two individuals.  The regional seeker response coordinator thus contacted another believer (can’t say “local believer” in this case) to respond to the soul who had reached out to the Bahá’ís.  This is also a good example of matching up a teacher and seeker on the basis of shared language and demographics.
In this email, the regional coordinator prepares the teacher for the conversation:
Dear E,
It was a joy talking to you on the phone this morning about __.  Her husband is a Bahá’í, and had contacted the Web site indicating that she wants to enroll in the Faith.  When J called her a couple of days ago, she spoke briefly with her, but then gave the phone to her husband.  He shared with J that they live in a very isolated area, with no Bahá’ís nearby to personally engage with. . . .

You are providing a wonderful service by phoning their home this evening and having a warm conversation with __ in your own language (since English is not her first language) to determine if she definitely wants to declare.  If this is the case, your happy opportunity will then be to help affirm her belief with those themes we find in Anna's Conversation.  I know you are a dedicated and very experienced teacher, and am honored that you will be helping us in this process.
I feel sure that your wisdom and experience in the teaching field will serve you well as you interact with __ and her husband this evening.  We are not pressing for any particular outcome.  Rather, the intent is to lovingly provide __ with the kind of Bahá’í information she is interested in.
Please feel free to call or email me if you have any questions.  You are all in my prayers.
This email describes the joyful results from that conversation:
Dear E,
Thank you for your wonderful service in forming a bond of friendship with __ and going through the affirming process with her!
Here is a summary of what I noted from your report tonight:  (Please let me know if I missed something.)
You had a nice phone conversation with __, and you learned that she understands the main teachings of the Faith and accepts them.  She has been learning details about Bahá’í life from her husband too, and she had questions for you about prayer, fasting, elections, and meetings Bahá’ís attend.
I understand that you will be keeping in touch with her from time to time.  You and I discussed that you might consider continuing to have conversations of spiritual importance by email, both in English and her native language.
It was a pleasure hearing your story tonight.
Warmest wishes to you,

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