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Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Australia, 1971 reprint
  • Pages:
  • 140
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Pages 70-72

Letter of May 11th, 1948

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Australia and New Zealand,
Mr. James Heggie, sec.
Haifa, May 11th, 1948.
Dear Bahá’í Brother:
Your letter to our beloved Guardian, dated Dec. 11th, 1947, has been received, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
The devotion and perseverance of the believers in seeking to meet the requirements of their Plan pleases and touches him immensely, and although he fully realizes that the fewness of their numbers and the great distances involved in such a vast country as Australia, form serious handicaps in the progress of their teaching work, he, nevertheless, feels confidant that they can achieve their goals in time, and raise their heads proudly in the galaxy of their fellow-pioneers the world over.
We can truly say that this Cause is a cause that enables people to achieve the impossible! For the Bahá’ís, everywhere, for the most part, are people with no great distinguishments of either wealth or fame, and yet once they make the effort and go forth in the name of Bahá’u’lláh to spread His Faith, they become, 71 each one, as efficacious as a host! Witness what Mustafa Raumie accomplished in Burma, and a handful of pioneers achieved, in a decade, in Latin America! It is the quality of devotion and self-sacrifice that brings rewards in the service of this Faith rather than means, ability or financial backing.
This has again, during the last few years, been demonstrated even more remarkably by the British Bahá’ís, who have not only had to contend with very limited means and a small community to draw from, but have also had infinite restrictions and privations to put up with—and, in spite of this, they are steadily gaining on the requirements of the Plan they have set for themselves, and, indeed, are startling and inspiring their fellow-Bahá’ís everywhere by their spirit and achievements!
He hopes that now, from “down under”, news will begin to flow out to the Bahá’í World of the remarkable accomplishments of the Australians and New Zealanders!
Regarding the question you asked him about the Bahá’í sacred writings: these should be regarded as the writings of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and only these should be read during the purely devotional part of the Feast.
He wishes to assure you, and all the other members of the N.S.A., of his most loving and ardent prayers for the success of your various undertakings and above all, for the success of your teaching Plan.
With warmest greetings,
R. Rabbani.
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers:
The Plan launched by the small yet highly promising community of devoted believers in Australia and New Zealand constitutes a landmark of unusual significance in the history of the evolution of the Faith in that far-off continent. It opens a new chapter, rich in promise, momentous in the events which it must record, and destined to be regarded as a prelude to still more glorious chapters in the annals of the Faith in the Antipodes.
The limited resources at the disposal of the prosecutors of the Plan, the vastness of the territory in which it must operate, the fewness of the numbers of those participating in its execution, offer a mighty challenge which no loyal follower of the 72 Faith of Bahá’u’lláh can either ignore or minimize. Indeed the greater the challenge, the more bountiful the blessings which will be vouchsafed from on high, and the richer the reward to be won by its triumphant executors.
The successful termination of this Plan, the first fruit of the newly established and properly functioning Administrative Order in those distant lands, will pave the way for the launching of still greater enterprises, destined to carry the message of Bahá’u’lláh to the Islands of the Pacific in the vicinity of that continent. For the mission entrusted to the care of the adherents of the Faith in Australia and New Zealand is by no means confined to the mainland of Australia and the islands of New Zealand, but should embrace, as it unfolds, in the years to come, the islands of the Antipodes, where the banner of the Faith still remains to be unfurled and its Message is as yet undelivered.
It is not for them, however, at the present stage of their evolution, to probe into the future, and seek to evaluate the range of their future achievements. They must concentrate every ounce of their energy, and focus their entire attention, on the tasks immediately ahead, resolved to work unremittingly and unflinchingly until the goals of the present Plan are achieved.
Whatever the situation that may develop in the years to come, however great the obstacles by which a nascent community may yet be faced, no matter how arduous the task now confronting its members, it must persevere until the historic work is accomplished.
I will, from the depths of my heart, supplicate the Beloved to reinforce the noble exertions of this community, guide its steps, clarify its vision, deepen its understanding of the requirements of the present hour, and aid it to extend continually the scope of its meritorious achievements.
My heart longs to receive the news of the progress of this first collective enterprise on which the community has embarked, and I feel confident that its stalwart members will not allow the hopes that animate me to be frustrated.
Your true and grateful brother,