Feast of ‘Ilm 172 B.E. (10/15/15)

posted Oct 29, 2015, 6:06 AM by Charles Thilking   [ updated Oct 29, 2015, 6:06 AM ]
From the National Spiritual Assemble of the Baháʹís of the United States:
October 15, 2015

To the American Baháʹí community for the Feast of ‘Ilm

Dearly loved Friends,

    To the accumulating accounts of victories we are receiving, some of which we have shared
in recent Feast messages, we are delighted to add news received from South Carolina―the
home state of the illustrious Hand of the Cause of God Louis G. Gregory and the scene of
episodes in the history of the Faith in this country that are unparalleled and unforgettable.

     Some months ago, the Regional Baháʹí Council of the Southeastern States, in concert with
a few Local Spiritual Assemblies and others, initiated the “South Carolina Enterprise,” a
project which―through the placement of homefront pioneers and mobile tutors, many of
them youth―is focusing new attention on three clusters. Concentrating their community‐
building work in selected neighborhoods, these devoted young servants of the Cause have
begun to develop friendships with their peers and to walk with them in the path of service.
As a result, a small but growing contingent of young people in these neighborhoods are
actively engaged in service―and some have already given their allegiance to Baháʹuʹlláh.

    A report from one of these homefront pioneers included the following remarks about the
impact of the young people now entering the life of the community:

“The spirit of enthusiasm and joyful service is now infusing other community
activities, as the youth spontaneously sing and drum during devotional gatherings
and at Feast, and facilitate the consultations and reflections at reflections gatherings.
As our community does not currently have a regularly functioning core group, the
youth were invited to plan the reflections gathering, which was a venue for joyful
study, reflection and planning, with the youth (all of whom were not Bahá’ís at that
time) being among the most vocal and expressive during consultations and planning. 
“The culture that I think has really transformed our community and the youth
activities is the spirit of being a true family. The youth see each other every day, meet
up after school and accompany each other in their junior youth groups and reflections
afterwards. When we haven’t seen one of the youth, we truly miss each other and
reach out to each other. We are there for each other through difficult and easy times.
We help each other to rise above family difficulties, personal struggles, depression and
insecurities, and challenges both within and outside of the group, and literally walk
together on a path of service, encouraging each other as much as possible.”

    Several of the new Baháʹís have also remarked on the transforming nature of their
experiences over the past few months. A 16‐year‐old stated, “With [Ruhi] Book 1, I feel
like I’ve learned a lot more about my abilities and what God has given me and the capacity
of my own being and what I’m able to reveal for myself. In Book 5, I’ve learned that the
Bahá’í view of junior youth and youth is [that they are] a very powerful group of people.
[Baháʹís] have a different view [of youth] than society, and knowing that one person has a
different outcome for your life than others do can change the whole way you move in life.”
Another new believer, 17 years old, wrote: “The help of my friends and the love of my
family around me keeps me going. When I say family I mean you guys, not my biological
family. Everybody from the youth group keeps on telling me ‘We love you, we’re your
family.’ They don’t kick me when I’m down, they sit with me and, together, we can get up.
I became a Baháʹí because I really feel like with me belonging to something I understand is
a good thing for me. I now know that truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues.
If you don’t have truthfulness[,] you have nothing.” And a 15‐year‐old believer wrote:
“I learned that the betterment of the world can be accomplished through pure and goodly
deeds. That means that if you do something for someone without expecting to get it back,
you show other people that there [are] good people out there and they might follow in
your footsteps and make the world a better place.”

     A joy to us for their testimony to the way these precious young people have obtained a
new vision for their lives, these wonderful narratives also remind us of the countless seeds
that were planted in South Carolina over many decades of intense and sacrificial teaching
efforts―efforts which have surely endowed the state with great potential. As these early
results already show, we have in today’s framework for action a practical system by which
the work of expansion and consolidation can proceed with far greater effectiveness than
was possible in years past. And as our capacity grows, we will assuredly achieve both
accelerated and sustained growth of the Cause.

     Dearest friends, we share with you this stirring news of the South Carolina Enterprise
certain you will rejoice in it and will join us in supplicating the Blessed Beauty that it
may continue to grow from strength to strength. May we all take from its heartening early
success renewed energy and inspiration for our own efforts to serve this unifying Cause
and bring the current Plan for its development to triumphant conclusion at Ridván!

With loving Baháʹí greetings,

Kenneth E. Bowers
Charles Thilking,
Oct 29, 2015, 6:06 AM