Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Hand of Providence

In the 2011 Ridvan message we are assured that the divine light “achieves a steady glow across whole neighbourhoods and villages as candle after candle in heart after heart is lighted by the Hand of Providence. “ We hear from two new believers, each of whom was touched by this light.

Jessica, a physician in Virginia, learned about the Faith through one of her colleagues. She had an opportunity to visit the House of Worship long before signing her card and was reciting Baha’I prayers because she found them soothing. With the New Year, Jessica felt it was time to declare her belief in Baha’u’llah. In response to materials sent after her online declaration, Jessica responded,
“Thank you so much for taking the time to forward this information. It’s very helpful. It’s funny because ever since we spoke, I have this calm, collected feeling like a spiritual calm over me. This is one of the most stressful times in my life, professionally, personally and emotionally. I think welcoming Baha’u’llah as a manifestation of God is somehow cleansing. "
Kayla of Washington state had never heard of the Baha'i Faith. She had grown up attending a Christian school and attending church with her family. She could not reconcile her own beliefs with the church’s teaching and stopped practicing as a youth. She had read about Gandhi’s philosophy and agreed with his thoughts about life. While at work a man came into the emergency room and listed “Baha’I” as his religious preference. She wasn't able to ask him about it because of his medical situation, but was determined to investigate it when she got home. She looked up the Faith on the internet and found the website. She read everything she could. Kayla said what struck her the most was Baha'u'llah's teachings that science and religion go hand in hand, that Divine Messengers appear throughout history to reveal God's Will to humanity, and the importance of equality and eradication of prejudices. She said it was such a relief to discover the Faith (a true "Eureka" moment!), and that Its teachings were what she has believed in her heart all her life.

When Kayla submitted her online registration she shared:

"I thank you for the kind offer to join you all in this faith. I have searched my whole life for a religion that feels right to me. I know inside that this is where I need to be. Again, thank you."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Christ's Message Renewed

When Melissa from Tennessee declared her belief in Baha’u’llah, she shared this sensitive, spiritual and powerful testimony to the renewal of Christ’s message.
My husband has been a Baha'i for a little more than a year now. I had been a Latter Day Saint for quite a while though I was inactive for the last four years. The Baha'i Faith definitely interested me but I felt some apprehension because I felt like I would be somehow rejecting Jesus if I became Baha'i. It wasn't until our daughter experienced a devastating car accident in August that I really opened my heart to the idea of becoming a Baha'i. The outpouring of love and support we received from the Baha'i Community was overwhelming. The scripture "by their fruits you will know them" really hit home for me. I was able to talk to some of the Baha'is about my worries and I realized that declaring my faith in Baha'u'llah was by no means rejecting the message of Jesus Christ. Baha'u'llah's message is simply a renewal and unification of the messages of all of God's Manifestations. I'm very happy to become a part of the Baha'i Family.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


We are told that receptivity to the Faith is demonstrated in a willingness to participate in community building. This community building is set in motion by the core activities. A Bahai from Idaho shares how Seth demonstrated this receptivity for years and recently enrolled online.
Seth has been working with the Baha’i community for at least 5 years. He has attended study circles on Reflections on the Life of the Spirit, Arising to Serve and Twin Manifestations. Seth has been taking his children to children’s classes which they’ve very much enjoyed. In college Seth explored many religions and heard about the Faith but didn’t pay much attention then. He has since read many of the Writings and other Baha’i books, has an awareness of the administrative order, and has spent a lot of time talking about the teachings. He found himself attracted to the Faith’s concept of God as an unknowable essence. He likes that Baha’is believe that we can’t know God, but can know of His attributes and qualities through His Manifestations.
Another demonstration of receptivity came from Katie of Missouri.
Katie saw a picture of the House of Worship on TV. She Goggled the Baha'i Faith, found the website, and requested information through the Seeker Response System. Local Baha’is could not visit Katie immediately since she indicated she would be out of town. In the interim, Katie declared online. Immediate contact was made with Katie to congratulate her and welcome her to her Bahai family. Local Baha’is scheduled a home visit where Katie was presented with a prayer book. She indicated she would cherish it. Because she had grown up going to church weekly, Katie expressed her desire to learn more about the Writings of Baha'u'llah and the Teachings of the Faith. Her visiting team invited her to participate in the core activities including a devotional gathering and a Book One study circle. Katie enthusiastically expressed her desire to participate in these and other community based activities.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Engaging Communities of Interest

Baha’is in the southeast are creating opportunities to engage colleagues and acquaintances (communities of interest) in purposeful discussions on themes of spiritual importance.

Dori writes:
We are trying to find ways of keeping our community of interest interested by finding out what they want to hear about. We gave each person a list of topics and asked them to circle the ones of interest and add others they would like to learn about. We had 20 people at the talk on the soul last night. 9 Baha'is, 10 community of interest and one new seeker. So something is working I'd say!!

Andrew writes:
Our meditation/devotional held last evening, was a great success with 54 seekers and 22 believers in attendance! We had focused on learning how to reach out to and attract receptive seekers in a "social space" that includes those interested in "spirituality", yoga and meditation.

Pauline (led) a guided meditation and opened up the hearts and souls. Everyone loved it! After a brief introduction to the Faith, this was followed by a warbling songstress (who) created a most unique devotional experience. Beautiful cards with the Holy verses (especially from " Reflections on the Life of the Spirit") were given out to all as a gift . At the end we shared Baha'u'llah's Writings regarding the influence of the Word of God and their transforming effect individually and collectively. We then invited them to begin our study circle and 12 seekers expressed their eagerness to come!

Our invitation letter to Book 1 had been very effective before, so we just sent them out to them this morning as an immediate follow-up invitation!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Common Bonds

This story comes from a member of the Area Teaching Team in Florida.  She shares about the bonds created with a new neighbor as they explore their common religious backgrounds and questions about religion.   

We became fast friends and I told her about the Faith. Crystal was raised Roman Catholic so we had common backgrounds.  She had the same questions about religion as I’d had. As she learned more within just a few days she started asking me to sign a card!  I read her the story of the martyrdom of the Bab from Dawnbreakers and her eyes were as big as saucers.  Then I sat her at the computer and she declared online on my 40th Baha'i birthday!  
After the reflections gathering today we stopped at Crystal's parents’ house and I did some direct teaching with her parents.