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Unfolding Destiny

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1981 edition
  • Pages:
  • 490
Go to printed page GO
Pages 300-303

Letter of 4 June 1953

4 June 1953
Africa Committee
Dear Bahá’í Sister:
Your letters of June 27, August 4, August 18, September 19, October 9 and November 27, 1952, with enclosures, have been received, and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
Your letter of May 25th has also been received. He of course meant French Equatorial Africa, but condensed it for the sake of the cable. The Belgian Congo is naturally separate.
As many of your questions and reports dealt with pre-Conference complications, which, thanks to the grace of Bahá’u’lláh, were all satisfactorily removed, I will not touch upon them in this letter.
The Guardian was immensely pleased and relieved when it became clear that the Bahá’ís had obtained visas for Uganda, and were attending in large numbers, and that hotel accommodation was available.
From the report he has received from Mr. Ioas and pilgrims, the Conference was undoubtedly a tremendous success, and befittingly inaugurated the round of celebrations during this Holy Year.
It is a great pity that there should have been so much unfavourable publicity connected with the public meeting associated with the Conference, and its attendance. One cannot, however, help but feel that such an attitude was inevitable sooner or later, because there is no doubt that the missionaries are beginning to feel the keenest resentment and a certain degree of alarm, due to the success of our teaching methods in Africa. 301
Your committee will no doubt face, in the days to come, many grave problems; but the Guardian feels sure that, whatever happens, and whatever attacks are made upon the Faith and its pioneers, the net result cannot but be good for us in the long run, and can only serve to hasten the spread of the Cause.
He feels that your committee has every right to feel immensely proud, and grateful to God, for the success of your unremitting labours over such a long period of time.
He was most happy to hear that Mr. Dudley Smith Kutendele is planning to go and teach the Faith in Nyasaland, and will pray that his efforts may meet with success in the end.
Your understanding of the treatment of polygamist converts to the Faith is quite correct, but of course if anyone who is a Bahá’í wishes to marry more than one wife, he cannot do so. If they should disobey this law, then the cases must be handled in the same way as the Persians do, which is that these persons who become polygamists, break the laws of marriage.
As regards your question about the proper designation for the huts which will be used by the believers in villages, as Bahá’í Centres, he thinks that, for the time being, until a more dignified structure can be erected, they should be called “Bahá’í Centre”, and not Hazíratu’l-Quds—the correct name is Hazíratu’l-Quds and not Hazírá.
He was immensely pleased over the example shown by Enos Epyeru, in withdrawing from political affiliation, and feels that some of the African friends are showing a most exemplary spirit of devotion and loyalty. He feels that a great potential strength lies in these new African believers.
No doubt your committee will be faced with problems, due to the inexperience of some of these people in administrative matters, but, through loving guidance, and the wisdom of those who are associated with them on the spot, these minor things can be satisfactorily taken care of, and the main thing, the establishment of assemblies and groups, be carried out successfully.
The Guardian was indeed delighted over ‘Alí Nakhjavání’s trip to the Teso district. The purity of his spirit, the intensity of his devotion, and the longing in his heart to bring the Faith to his African brothers, all of which he so clearly showed forth in his actions, were no doubt the great factors which enkindled the 302 first fires in the hearts of the believers in that land, and which have spread so swiftly and have been the cause of such joy to our beloved Guardian.
The Guardian considers that the settling of all the virgin territories all over the world is the most important of the goals given to any of the National Assemblies, and that it should be given precedence. Indeed, he is hoping that the one hundred and thirty territories still unopened may all be settled by pioneers this year, if possible.
It is not necessary for a National Assembly to confine itself to the placing of pioneers from its own community in its goal areas—it may draw on other Bahá’í communities for pioneers for its goal territories, as well, and vice versa. In other words, pioneers from the British Isles may be sent to territories under the administrative jurisdiction of other National Bodies than the British National Assembly, and pioneers may be accepted for British posts who are not members of the British community. The important thing is to achieve the goals.
The Guardian is urging the bodies associated with the work in Africa to disperse their forces, and not endeavour to build up large communities. Otherwise, there will be a large number of pioneers in one place, while other goal countries may be left entirely without a pioneer.
As regards the translations for Africa, he has urged the American National Spiritual Assembly, in connection with the printing of Bahá’í literature in the languages allotted to that continent, to give you any help it can.
The Guardian feels confident that, by proper concentration of effort and exchange of information between the committees responsible for getting the pioneers out to Africa, the ways and means will be forthcoming to achieve our objectives this year.
You may rest assured that his prayers will continue to be offered for the work you are performing, and that he most deeply appreciates the conscientious and tireless devotion of all the members of your committee, a devotion which has enabled the Conference to take place with such success.
With loving Bahá’í greetings….
P.S. In reading over this letter, I see that I have not done justice to the deep feeling of appreciation our beloved Guardian 303 has for the wonderful spirit shown by Mr. Banání and his wife, as well as by Philip Hainsworth and Mr. and Mrs. Collison. The services of all of those friends cannot be overestimated, nor those of the devoted pioneers in Kenya and Tanganyika.
[From the Guardian:]
May the Almighty bless, sustain and guide you in your highly meritorious endeavours, remove all obstacles from your path, and enable you to lend a great impetus to the historic work being achieved in the African Continent.
Your true and grateful brother,