Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Precious Souls Engaged in Community Building

In the Great Plains region of the United States, a wife and husband made the decision to study other religions besides their previous church. Living in a community where there were Baha'is, a family introduced them to the Teachings of Baha'u'llah. Even though the Baha'i family eventually moved away, the couple continued their investigation of the Faith online. The wife and her husband eventually contacted other Baha'is in the area, and decided to join the community as members.

A Baha'i friend of this energetic couple shared how these two new believers had immediately begun to serve their new community: “They are both involved in core activities with the other Baha'is in the area. They all have home visits constantly every week. There isn't a week that goes by when they don't visit their other Baha'i friends.”

Amazingly, the couple's service to the Baha'i community does not stop here. They then decided to move to another city in their state in order to become “home-front pioneers” because there were few believers there. In fact, in deciding where they would move next, they chose a community in order to help form a local Spiritual Assembly!

The same Baha'i friend related that the couple visited another community:

...to see how children classes are handled here. They are taking all the great things they have learned back to their home community. [They] plan to start children classes with children in their [own] neighborhood. These two have done so much to help contribute back to their community and they both have emphasized how they want to continue giving back.

Thank you for sharing their wonderful activities,” wrote a member of the Auxiliary Board for their region. “It’s exciting that these precious souls are so engaged in the community building and learning processes.”

Stay tuned: Watch for the next story about these dynamic new community members in a few days!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Social and Economic Development: An expression of faith in action

Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.” ~ Baha'u'llah

Bahá’í development projects are a global enterprise where Bahá'ís act locally to learn to translate Bahá'u'lláh’s teachings into action to resolve problems.  Organic urban gardens . . . a children's theatre company . . .child and junior youth day camps . . . literacy programs . . . community peace festivals . . . community beautification projects . . . a parent university . . . women on the move . . . These are just some of the endeavors underway across the United States that illustrate lines of action taken through grassroots initiatives and evolutionary growth.  Such activities undertaken by Bahá’í communities range in scale and sustainability. Each strives to put in place community-wide learning and capacity building while addressing immediate needs.

Share here examples of endeavors that channel the talents and energies of individuals in your community in service to humanity.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A new believer shares: “I think of Baha'i as a way of life”

A woman, who is a polyglot and a professional linguist, visited the Baha'i World Centre in Haifa Israel. She shared this message when reaching out to the American Baha'is at www.bahai.us:

I visited the Baha'i Centre in Haifa last year. Since then, I wanted to get involved with Baha'i religion. I was contacted last year by a member, but could not answer as I had to travel abroad for family reasons. Now I would like to meet with someone to get more information.”

A Baha'i who lives near the woman reached out to her by visiting her home, leaving a prayer book, and how to contact her for more information. The Baha'i later shared that:

I had a wonderful conversation on the phone with her this evening. I learned that since her visit to the Baha'i Centre in Haifa last year she has considered herself a Baha'i.”

With her husband, the Baha'i made another visit to the woman’s home. Together they discussed the fundamental verities of the Baha'i Faith, engaging in a conversation like Anna that they learned themselves while studying from the sixth book in the Ruhi sequence of courses. The woman posed a question about Baha'i identity:

My husband and I had a wonderful visit. Her only question was 'What does one do as a Baha'i?'

To investigate this question, the woman along with the Baha’i and her husband joined together to study the course “Reflections on the Life of the Spirit” which discusses the principles of service to the community, meditation on the Word of God, spiritual growth, and the importance of daily prayer.

Already this new believer has begun to serve her community by hosting a study group within her home. She has begun to identify herself as a Baha'i, and is demonstrating knowledge of the Baha'i teachings. The Baha’i shared that she is now an enrolled member of the community.

At the end of the evening she expressed one reservation. She said 'I have trouble thinking of this as a religion. I think of Baha'i as a way of life.' We talked some more about that in terms of ‘What is the definition of religion?’

Bahais believe...
To be a Baha'i simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood.” - Abdul-Baha

Monday, April 15, 2013

Youth Who Declared Online: “Where has this been all my life?”

Here is a brief story from the Midwest region who encountered the Faith online thanks to an important Baha’i number—see below—and declared her belief online.

We have a new youth declarant who actually signed up online. She has been contacted and came with her parents to a Holy Day party last Friday. She brought her dad and stepmother too. She didn't know this, but there are so many connections. Her stepmom is Muslim. She has worked at a company since she came to the U.S. more than 15 years ago, which is owned by a Persian Baha'i. The stepmom has been aware of the Faith for a long time. Completely separately, the youth found and studied the Faith online and declared before she met any Baha'is. She has been brought up learning about numerous faith traditions. Her birthday is on the ninth of the month, so she has always been drawn to the number 9. She was Googling 9 sided symbols when the Baha'i Faith kept coming up. She studied about the Faith and said ‘where has this been all my life?’ Wow!

Regarding Baha’i youth who enter the arena of service, Baha’u’llah writes:

Blessed is he who in the prime of his youth and the heyday of his life will arise to serve the Cause of the Lord of the beginning and of the end, and adorn his heart with His love. The manifestation of such a grace is greater than the creation of the heavens and of the earth. Blessed are the steadfast and well is it with those who are firm.

(The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 415)