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(US, PA, 21 August)
Here is a refreshing report from Pennsylvania where they are learning to apply the guidance of the Five Year Plan, and to move collectively.
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Dearly Beloved Friends,
It was a beautiful day to teach! After the devotions and consultation, a group of beloved souls embarked on an afternoon of directly sharing the message of Bahá’u’lláh.
A pair of believers went on a home visit planning to share Anna’s presentation with a friend. Instead, they found themselves sharing the Faith with members of the whole family. One friend lovingly expressed the joy she saw in one of the souls: “They were listening to Anna’s presentation and were really interested. One said, ‘You have opened my eyes to something new and I do believe that Bahá’u’lláh is the return of Christ.’ It was a wonderful experience for me.”
Two other friends spent a few hours in a park. With a table and books set up, they were prepared and energized to encounter new people. One member described her experience: “A woman stopped by. She was happy to listen to the whole of Anna’s presentation and is interested in attending devotional meetings. We wrote down her information for future contact.”
The wonderful part is that we are exploring a number of different ways of directly sharing the Message. The more we teach, the more we develop our capacity to teach. Friends, we encourage you all to participate… The Area Teaching Committee continues to pray for the success of our community.
We leave you with the words of our Beloved Master: “Of all the gifts of God, the greatest is the gift of Teaching.” Let us continue to share this gift with others.
With hearts full of love and excitement,
The Area Teaching Committee of Philadelphia
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Cactus garden at Bahjí, ‘Akká (Acre), Israel
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For every era hath a spirit; the spirit of this illumined era lieth in the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. For these lay the foundation of the oneness of the world of humanity and promulgate universal brotherhood. They are founded upon the unity of science and religion and upon investigation of truth. They uphold the principle that religion must be the cause of amity, union and harmony among men. They establish the equality of both sexes and propound economic principles which are for the happiness of individuals. They diffuse universal education, that every soul may as much as possible have a share of knowledge. They abrogate and nullify religious, racial, political, patriotic and economic prejudices and the like. Those teachings that are scattered throughout the Epistles and Tablets are the cause of the illumination and the life of the world of humanity. Whoever promulgateth them will verily be assisted by the Kingdom of God.
– ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, SWA 109, no. 71
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(Excerpted and adapted from the teaching blog, report from the Philadelphia A-stage cluster: http://teaching.bahai.us/2008/08/across-country-friends-are-discovering.html ) (Image reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community)
Everyone playing their part
(US, OR, 6 May)
The friends in this “A” stage cluster have been busy and systematic during the first expansion phase of their intensive program of growth, which was launched just before Ridvan 2008. A variety of approaches were used, with each facet supporting the others. Here are some excerpts:
Informational tables were set up at the local Bahá’í Center and at two colleges. The use of Anna’s Presentation at the booth at the Bahá’í Center provided an easy format to present the Faith.
The friends gathered at the Bahá’í Center each day in the morning, noon and evening to offer prayers for the teaching efforts. These were attended by between five to fifteen believers each time.
Children’s classes and one junior youth group were conducted and were attended by members of the wider community.
Exploratory teaching was carried out in a few neighborhoods in the cluster. Several positive opportunities emerged, including requests for subsequent visits, which are being followed up. At one apartment complex, a relatively large percentage of those visited expressed an interest in learning about the Faith.
(Report from the Area Teaching Committee of Eugene, OR)
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Unremitting faith, prayer, the promptings of the soul, Divine assistance — these are among the essentials of progress in any Bahá’í undertaking. But also of vital importance to bringing about entry by troops is a realistic approach, systematic action. There are no shortcuts. Systematization ensures consistency of lines of action based on well-conceived plans. In a general sense, it implies an orderliness of approach in all that pertains to Bahá’í service, whether in teaching or administration, in individual or collective endeavour. While allowing for individual initiative and spontaneity, it suggests the need to be clear-headed, methodical, efficient, constant, balanced and harmonious. Systematization is a necessary mode of functioning animated by the urgency to act.
Our lot, dear brothers and sisters, is to be consciously involved in a vast historic process the like of which has not ever before been experienced by any people…Does not every one of us…have a divine obligation to fulfil, a sacred duty to perform towards every other one who is not yet aware of the call of God’s latest Manifestation? Time does not stop, does not wait. With every passing hour a fresh affliction strikes at a distracted humanity. Dare we linger?
…one thing above all else is necessary: to act, to act now, and to continue to act.
Our heartfelt plea at the Holy Threshold on behalf of us all is that we may be divinely aided and richly confirmed in whatever we do towards meeting the urgent aim of the Divine Plan at so fate-laden a moment in human history.
Universal House of Justice, Ridván 155/1998 message