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Pioneer Goal (UHJ)

posted May 25, 2016, 6:45 AM by Charles Thilking

23 May 2016

To the Baha'is of the World
Dearly loved Friends,

In our letter dated 26 March 2016, we described the response of the Baha'i world to the
Tablets of the Divine Plan, in which 'Abdu'l-Baha urged the friends to travel "toward the East
and toward the West and enlighten the people with the light of the Most Great Guidance, so that
they may take a portion and share of eternal life." In the decades following the issuance of
those weighty Tablets, a stream of believers settled in far-flung corners of the world and planted
the banner of the Cause of Baha'u'llah amidst divers peoples and nations. While devoted
pioneers serving in the international arena initially came mainly from North America, Iran and
Europe, as the Faith has advanced globally, they now hail from numerous spots across the
planet. Indeed, over the course of the last Five Year Plan, some 1,500 friends from over 110
countries ventured into this field. At the same time, capacity has gradually grown in national
communities to foster a systematic process of building vibrant communities, and the task of
propagating the Faith has come to rest primarily on the shoulders of local inhabitants labouring
on the home front, where they have the advantage of familiarity with the language and culture
and can settle more readily in nearby clusters as well as remote areas. That nearly 5,000
believers arose to serve as homefront pioneers during the last Plan bears testimony to this
greatly increased capacity and is a source of immense joy to us.

Although in recent years an increasing proportion of pioneers are serving on the home
front, it is our hope that the friends will continue to consider entering the international arena,
whenever their circumstances allow. Opportunity is, of course, open to any believer to arise
and settle where he or she can contribute to the progress of the Plan, yet in some countries the
need for international pioneers is particularly pressing. In this regard, as anticipated in the last
pioneer call, throughout the previous Five Year Plan we drew the attention of selected National
Spiritual Assemblies to specific pioneering needs that arose in relation to ten special initiatives
that were launched to support the growth and development of the Faith in certain regions with
the help of friends from several countries. These devoted servants of Baha'u'llah, working
alongside the local friends, have helped to strengthen the roots of the Cause in all the countries
covered by these initiatives, bringing greater dynamism to the institute process and local
community life and, in a number of instances, aiding in the emergence of institutions. Over the
coming five years, the International Teaching Centre will continue to identify areas that would
benefit from such endeavours with the expectation that, as a result, by the end of the Plan there
will be at least one well-advanced intensive programme of growth in every country in the world
where external conditions allow for such a development.

The deployment of homefront pioneers over the next five years will be largely guided by
the requirements set out in our message dated 29 December 2015 to the Conference of the
Continental Boards of Counsellors. As stated in that message, the Five Year Plan just launched
aims at raising the number of clusters with an intensive programme of growth to 5,000. A
continuing flow of homefront pioneers will contribute significantly to this monumental goal.
Whatever assistance they are able to provide to further the work of the Plan is, of course, most
welcome; nevertheless, their efforts will have an even greater effect if, guided by the
institutions, their capabilities are directed towards specific needs in clusters where the friends
are labouring to intensify the growth process. While many friends who wish to serve as
homefront pioneers can make commitments that span years, there are those who may only be
able to offer shorter periods, sometimes as little as three months. Such friends can kindle a
spirit of selfless service and transmit valuable experience from stronger clusters to emerging
ones. In time, they return to their communities much inspired and enriched, able to contribute
even more effectively to the advancement of their own clusters. We hope that the friends,
especially the youth who may have the time and determination to do so during their extended
holidays, w i ll take advantage of the opportunity to enter the pioneering field in this way.

It is to the two pioneering imperatives set out above—one primarily in the international
field, the other on the home front—that we now call the friends, confident that their response,
which with each stage of the Divine Plan grows in both quantity and quality, will be equal to
the demands before the community of the Greatest Name. The friends who arise to foster, with
tact, love, unity and fortitude, a pattern of community life in clusters across the globe will
undoubtedly draw inspiration from the Master's heartfelt cry expressed in the Tablets of the
Divine Plan: "O that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these
regions, and, raising the call o f ' Y a Baha'u'l-Abha' in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and
oceans, promote the divine teachings! This, alas, I cannot do. How intensely I deplore it!
Please God, ye may achieve it."

Charles Thilking,
May 25, 2016, 6:45 AM