Tuesday, November 20, 2012

No Time to Lose

This story is about Jerry, a lifelong seeker of truth who registered online with only his street address as contact information. Although those who register online receive a series of letters in the mail, Jerry’s contact information was immediately forwarded to the Area Teaching Committee — also known as the ATC, the team that arranges for systematic visits to the homes of believers or friends — with the suggestion that a home visit might be appropriate.

The beloved Guardian Shoghi Effendi urged the friends not to lose a moment’s time in arising to teach the Cause:
There is no time to lose. There is no room left for vacillation. Multitudes hunger for the Bread of Life. The stage is set. The firm and irrevocable Promise is given. God's own Plan has been set in motion. It is gathering momentum with every passing day. The powers of heaven and earth mysteriously assist in its execution. Such an opportunity is irreplaceable. Let the doubter arise and himself verify the truth of such assertions. To try, to persevere, is to insure ultimate and complete victory.
Being well familiar with this memorization quote from Ruhi Book 4 and not wanting to let the opportunity pass, the Area Teaching Committee members made plans to visit Jerry that very same day. This is what they reported:
We met Jerry on the sidewalk down the street from his house. He seemed quite happy to see us, and said he was just on his way to find the Bahá’í Center or to go to the library to pick up some Bahá’í books so he could study the Faith from his own vantage point.
We learned that Jerry grew up Lutheran but soon began feeling that there was more, and he spent most of his adult life searching. The horrendous shooting at the Sikh Temple [in Oak Creek, Wisconsin] prompted him to look up the Sikh faith and learn more about it, but while he agreed with most of the Sikh beliefs, there were other things he didn't agree with. Jerry explained that he used to live in Chicago and his work in Evanston would routinely take him past the Bahá’í National Center, but he never went inside to ask about the Faith. However, now his curiosity had peaked and yesterday he submitted his address on the website so he could learn more. Although extremely cordial, Jerry mentioned that before he had any face to face conversations about the Faith, he would first like to read some books so that he would know what questions to ask.
Since Jerry was just on his way to find Bahá’í books, we mentioned that the Bahá’í Center has a lending library. He agreed to accompany us to the Bahá’í Center where we hand-picked a small stack of books that might suit his desire to find an intimate connection with the Goal of his desire. Jerry selected a few books and seemed pleased to have something to take home and read. Along the way we asked him if there was any way we could be of service. He said he would be moving soon and could use some help driving a few things to his new place when the time came. Since one of us has a minivan, we offered to help and decided this would be a great time to get together and talk about the books he borrowed.
Let us all surround his peaceful soul with prayer and deep feelings of love, he really is a wonderful soul! And thanks for getting this to us right away. The quick response was a key factor in the success of our visit!
Postscript: In addition to the importance of quickly responding to an individual’s expressed desire for knowledge, this story also mentions that it was the Sikh Temple shooting that reinvigorated Jerry’s search for truth. This certainly causes one to reflect on the Guardian’s statement that the “opportunities which the turmoil of the present age presents, with all the sorrows which it evokes, the fears which it excites, the disillusionment which it produces, the perplexities which it creates, the indignation which it arouses, the revolt which it provokes, the grievances it engenders, the spirit of restless search which it awakens,” must be used for “enlisting fresh recruits in the ever-swelling army of His followers.” (The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 48)

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