Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Enduring Results: “Everything made sense”

In its 28 December 2010 letter, the Universal House of Justice exhorts the Baha’is worldwide to:

hold fast to the conviction that a direct presentation of the Faith, when carried out at a sufficient level of depth and reinforced by a sound approach to consolidation, can bring enduring results.

A married couple living the western United States recently entered the Baha’i community along with their children. Both hail from different countries in Europe, and both benefited from a direct presentation of the Faith, along with official follow-up, which had wonderful and enduring results.

As you’ll see, the wife became attracted through online research, and the husband's interactions with his wife and the Baha’i responding to their inquiry helped him embrace the Faith.

Despite living in the U.S. since the 90s, the wife regularly watches television from her native country in Europe. Last year she saw on report on woman and an Iranian Baha’i who married. She was particularly impressed by what the groom said about the Baha’i principle of gender equality.

So impressed, in fact, that she started researching the Baha’i Faith online. The Baha’is who followed up on her inquiries reported her as saying that “what she found out was exactly what she's always believed.”

The response coordinator shared that she:

spent the entire day researching the Faith and knew all about the covenant, administrative order, and Baha'i laws, (e.g. prayer. and abstaining from alcohol). She really found out a lot and everything made sense to her. She mentioned the Twin Manifestations and that the Faith started in 1844. She was looking into the history of the Faith as well as the Teachings.

By the end of the same month, the wife declared her faith online and registered her children as well. In addition to her husband's interest and later enrollment, the wife's mother also registered online her interest in learning more about the Baha’i Faith.

In the same letter of December 28th, the House of Justice asks the Baha’is to “strain every nerve” to ensure that the system we are working so hard to build “does not close in on itself but progressively expands to embrace more and more people.” In light of this married couple's sincere and open attraction to the Baha’i Teachings, the next sentence that the House of Justice pens is quite poignant:

Let them not lose sight of the remarkable receptivity they found—nay, the sense of eager expectation that awaited them—as they gained confidence in their ability to interact with people of all walks of life and converse with them about the Person of Bahá’u’lláh and His Revelation.

The response coordinator did have the opportunity to speak with the husband about “the Person of Bahá’u’lláh and His Revelation,” in the form of Anna’s Presentation, from Ruhi Book 6. The coordinator noted that he agreed with everything, affirmed the Baha’i laws that they discussed, and spoke about obligatory prayer.

The husband shared that as he grew up he became more uncomfortable with his upbringing in church, and had always believed in the unity of religion and of humankind. After his wife's enrollment, he began to read several Baha’i books and speak with her about joining the Faith. After contact with the regional coordinator, they decided to confirm his enrollment!

The oneness of humankind was also key in the wife's acceptance of the Faith, as the coordinator learned. Her prior marriage was with an African American man, with whom she had several children. The elimination of prejudice, the coordinator related, is something that she has always believed in.

After his enrollment in the community, the husband shared:

My wife and kids just became members and I have decided to join the Baha'i Faith as well. Thank you very much for all the work!

And, indeed, our work entails creating a community large enough to answer the needs of society and accepting more new members like this family. The Universal House of Justice writes:

let them not forget the lessons of the past which left no doubt that a relatively small band of active supporters of the Cause, no matter how resourceful, no matter how consecrated, cannot attend to the needs of communities comprising hundreds, much less thousands, of men, women and children.

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