Home Visits

Now is the time to cheer and refresh the down-cast through the invigorating breeze of love and fellowship, and the living waters of friendliness and charity.

Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 7

Indeed the believers have not yet fully learned to draw on each other's love for strength and consolation in time of need. The Cause of God is endowed with tremendous powers, and the reason the believers do not gain more from it is because they have not learned to draw fully on these mighty forces of love and strength and harmony generated by the Faith.

Shoghi Effendi, Living the Life, p.8

If a home visit… is defined in the courses as an opportunity to enter into a deep conversation on spiritual matters, then it should not be reduced to a mere social call in which the Faith may not even be mentioned.

Universal House of Justice, Turning Point 42.34

Not infrequently, outreach to the wider community takes the form of a visit to a home, sometimes after prior arrangements have been made with the residents, although not always. What should be understood in this respect is that such visits are not isolated acts. A visit to a home should be seen as one element of a coherent pattern of action that seeks to enable specific populations to contribute to the construction of the society envisioned by Bahá’u’lláh. At the heart of the matter, then, is how a campaign of teaching the Faith by visiting homes relates to the other activities being undertaken in a neighbourhood—how it relates to the efforts to hold meetings that strengthen the devotional character of the wider community, to offer classes that foster the spiritual development of children, to form groups that channel the energies of junior youth, to establish circles of study, open to all, that enable people of varied backgrounds to advance on equal footing and explore the application of teachings to their individual and collective lives.

Universal House of Justice, to a National Spiritual Assembly, 28 December 2008

A member of our team is from the Joola tribe, which has traditionally been very receptive to the Faith. He, accompanied by another member of our team, started home visits to one of his long time acquaintances, also a Joola. The latter showed a very open mind and willingly joined a Book 1 study circle and started attending our devotional gathering.

International Teaching Centre, The Learning About Teaching Teams

Although teams making home visits to share deepening themes with new believers frequently encounter other family members who can be taught the Faith, the teaching teams described in the stories in this newsletter have been especially formed for sharing the Message of Bahá’u’lláh with seekers.

International Teaching Centre, The Learning About Teaching Teams

Assemblies may wish to consider establishing a task force for such pastoral care activities as visiting the sick, the bereaved, the elderly or otherwise home-bound members of the community, and encourage individual initiative in providing home visits, especially to those who may be unable to participate in community life otherwise. Offering to conduct a study circle or devotional gathering in the home of such believers, if they are well enough, and asking them to invite friends and family can invigorate and encourage them in the Faith, draw families and communities closer together, and be a rich source of healing fellowship for everyone involved. Likewise, offering a helpful service or performing an everyday task for one who is infirm or ill can be of enormous assistance and encouragement, reducing the sense of isolation and helplessness often experienced by the sufferer in such circumstances.

USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 5

Believers who have completed the second course should be immediately deployed in home visits.

ITC, 2004 Nov 28, Intensive Programs of Growth

For those who do not immediately enter the institute process, home visits can be organized.

ITC, 2004 Nov 28, Intensive Programs of Growth

One strategy we will also be employing is to invite new believers to come along with us on home visits. This will give those individuals an opportunity to teach and develop the skills and capacities they have acquired in institute courses.

International Teaching Centre, The Learning About Teaching Teams

Our team decided to liberally use the home visit as a tool for the next three weeks. We have confidence that home visits are able to create profound spiritual encounters that will help move people closer to Bahá’u’lláh. For these three weeks of intensive teaching, we have 10 home visits planned. Some home visits will be to share stories about the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh from Book 4. Others will be on deepening themes from Book 2, such as the Covenant. A few will be to share a prayer and to invite the individual to join a Book 1 study circle.

International Teaching Centre, The Learning About Teaching Teams

Subsequently, the believers in many clusters learned to reach out to “segments of the general population with heightened receptivity” through direct teaching efforts involving home visits or campaigns, resulting in significant numbers of new Bahá’ís.

International Teaching Centre, Insights from the Frontiers of Learning, p. 10-11

The Board members and their assistants bear a special responsibility to support the friends at each stage of the institute process and accompany them in their efforts to act on the training they have received: to help them hold a devotional meeting, to accompany them on home visits, or to co-tutor a study circle.

ITC, 2004 Nov 28, Intensive Programs of Growth

The purpose of such campaigns in local communities which have been dormant for years would not be to find every Bahá’í whose name appears on the membership list and verify his or her status. The list of names should be considered, rather, as a starting point, leading to opportunities to meet individuals who are willing to engage in meaningful conversation, exploring spiritual realities and learning more and more about the Faith.

ITC, Building Momentum - ITC 2003-04-23, p. 6

We have also started to use the intensive period to push our team into doing new things that contribute to our teaching work. For instance, we are doing home visits to parents in the community of interest and discussing with them our junior youth programs, with the aim of starting groups during the consolidation phase of our cycle. We hope this will also create teaching opportunities for our team. The encouragement we give to one another motivates and sustains us through the more challenging and intensive phases of our work. All of our seeking friends need to be invited to Book 1, if they are not already attending. Every one of them needs to receive a home visit!

International Teaching Centre, The Learning About Teaching Teams

We should all visit the sick. When they are in sorrow and suffering, it is a real help and benefit to have a friend come. Happiness is a great healer to those who are ill. In the East it is the custom to call upon the patient often and meet him individually. The people in the East show the utmost kindness and compassion to the sick and suffering. This has greater effect than the remedy itself. You must always have this thought of love and affection when you visit the ailing and afflicted.

?bdu'l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 204

Who would we home visit? And, if they were already in the institute process, how were we going to help confirm them in the Faith? We made appropriate lines of action for each individual and the team divided the tasks to be done. One line of action that we arranged as a team was to undertake Book 4 home visits (sharing stories of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh) to seekers participating in Book 1--we had many seekers in Book 1 to visit as we had already learned as a team how to effectively invite many of our friends to study circles. In one instance, the stories noticeably touched the hearts of the three friends that were visited. After sharing the stories, each of the seekers affirmed their belief in Bahá’u’lláh's mission and spoke of Him in such moving terms that it is impossible to describe. The intimate setting of the home visits allows for profound spiritual encounters.

International Teaching Centre, The Learning About Teaching Teams