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Unfolding Destiny

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1981 edition
  • Pages:
  • 490
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Pages 328-331

Letter of 4 June 1954

4 June 1954
British Africa Committee
Dear Bahá’í Sister:
The various letters of your committee dated June 8 and 25, July 6, August 13, September 23, October 8, November 25 and December 31, 1953, and January 27 (3), March 6 and 30 and April 20, 1954, with their enclosures, have been received by the 329 beloved Guardian and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf. As he has been in constant cable communication with you during the past year, I will not go into many of the matters which have already been attended to.
Of all the places in the world where the Bahá’í Faith exists and is spreading, the Guardian is definitely most pleased with Africa, and most proud of Uganda. He feels that the spirit shown by white and negro pioneers alike in that continent, presents a challenge to the Bahá’ís everywhere in the world, and that old and staid communities may well learn from, and emulate the example of, the believers of Africa, many of them scarcely a year old in the Cause of God!
He feels that your committee and the British N.S.A. have every reason to be proud of the work you have accomplished, and grateful for the blessings you have received from on High.
It has particularly rejoiced his heart to see the way almost every goal was attained at the last minute, before the end of the first year of the Ten Year Crusade, many of these goals through the immediate whole-hearted response of some of these new African Bahá’ís, themselves the spiritual children of other African Bahá’ís—young in the Faith, but old in their understanding of it.
The main task, now that the back of the pioneer settlement work has been broken, so to speak, is the consolidation of these territories and the maintaining of the pioneers at their posts. He is constantly urging all National Assemblies to impress upon those who have gone forth to settle virgin territories, the importance of staying there, and of only abandoning their posts if they are forced to do so by the Government in question, and not for some other reason. The friends have had such difficulty in gaining access to some of these countries,—visas, housing, expenses have all been such a problem—that once they get there, they should really move heaven and earth to remain.
He is very happy that two of the Temple sites on the African continent have been purchased, and feels that this will release a tremendous spiritual impetus. He hopes that the Egyptian Bahá’ís will soon decide on a site, and that will complete the chain for the time being.
Concerning the various questions you have raised regarding literature and translations, he thinks that it is perhaps better to have a proper introductory pamphlet on the Faith translated into 330 … and not give any wide publicity for the time being, than to spend money translating a lopsided presentation of the Teachings. However, he believes that, with sufficient effort and good judgment, a pamphlet could be gotten out that would neither stress too strongly the racial teachings, nor minimise them too much, and could discreetly be used for teaching purposes in…
He has spoken very strongly to some of the pilgrims here about the teaching work in that country, and impressed upon them that the whole object of the pioneers in going forth to Africa, is to teach the coloured people, and not the white people. This does not mean that they must refuse to teach the white people, which would be a foolish attitude. It does, however, mean that they should constantly bear in mind that it is to the native African that they are now carrying the Message of Bahá’u’lláh, in his own country, and not to people from abroad who have migrated there permanently or temporarily and are a minority, and many of them, judging by their acts, a very unsavoury minority.
He hopes that every effort will be made to get out a pamphlet in each of the languages chosen, or those that you have substituted for a chosen language. He fully realises that, in many cases, the people who speak the language are illiterate, and, strictly speaking, do not require a printed pamphlet in their own tongue. He considers however the psychological values of having something translated into their own language, the compliment implicit in it, so to speak, of great importance, sufficient to offset the time, effort and expense involved.
He would like your committee to convey to all the pioneers, most particularly the negro ones, the expression of his deep admiration of the wonderful spirit that animates them, his feeling of affection for them, and the assurance of his ardent prayers for their success.
Africa is truly awakening and finding herself, and she undoubtedly has a great message to give, and a great contribution to make to the advancement of world civilisation. To the degree to which her peoples accept Bahá’u’lláh, will they be blessed, strengthened and protected.
He hopes that, whilst concentrating on the consolidation of the work under your jurisdiction, you will give every assistance within your power to the other National Assemblies who have 331 difficult places to settle. The Portuguese and Spanish territories seem to be the hardest of all to gain access to. Any help your committee can give along this line would certainly be rendering a great service to the Cause.
He deeply appreciates the work you have done, and your committee achievements, during the past year, and assures each and all of you of his loving prayers on your behalf….
[From the Guardian:]
Assuring you of my loving and constant prayers for the success of the efforts you are so devotedly exerting for the promotion of our beloved Faith and its institutions,
Your true brother,