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Abstract:
Personal letters from Faizi to Macias, and her recollections of him.

My Memories of Hand of the Cause of God, A. Q. Faizí

by Shirley Macias

published in Conqueror of Hearts
2002
Conqueror of Hearts table of contents


During the last day of the 1963 historic first International Convention in Haifa, I found myself at the Pilgrim House where some of the delegates were waiting for transportation to take us to visit the Most Holy Shrine at Bahjí. While waiting for the bus, I decided to again visit the Shrine of the Báb. On returning to the Pilgrim House I discovered that the bus had already left for Bahjí. Mr. Faizí suddenly appeared and asked whether I and Donald Witzel, who was also there, would like to visit with Hand of the Cause of God, Tarázu'lláh Samandarí, who had a small room at the Pilgrim House. He then ushered us into Mr. Samandarí's room, who greeted us graciously and offered us some tea and sweet cakes. Mr. Faizí translated for us as Mr. Samandarí showed us and explained some of his calligraphy and notebooks. (Mr. Faizí explained to me that Mr. Samandarí kept a diary and wrote it in every day. I am confident that in the future these delightful notebooks will be translated and available to all.) Mr. Samandarí gave Donald and me a rendition of the Greatest Name that he had done. On mine was written in Persian, "Made in the year 120, in the vicinity of the Most Holy Shrine, when I had a little cold," and signed, Tarárzu'lláh Samandarí." After we left Mr. Samandarí's room, Mr. Faizí asked whether we had noticed the pleasant fragrance in Mr. Samandari's room. It was sweet, but not like perfume. Mr. Faizí said that this was his natural fragrance and was a sign of Mr. Samandarí's spirit.

We then left Haifa for the First World Congress in London to celebrate the Centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's Declaration. I looked for Mr. Faizí and was told that he had remained in Haifa for a few days. (He later told me that he stayed in Haifa to look after the World Centre while the rest of the Bahá'ís at the World Centre traveled to London.) However, on the last day of the Centenary celebration, he spoke to the 6,000 friends present in Royal Albert Hall. I shall never forget his words on that occasion, especially his statement that we were standing on the shoulders of the martyrs.

Here are Mr. Faizí's closing words of that Celebration in London in 1963:

A hundred years ago when Bahá'u'lláh was in Baghdad, one day He was pacing up and down in front of His house and rows of people were standing near him. Some were Persian princes and some were from Arab noble families. Bahá'u'lláh asked, `What are the news of the town? What are the news of the martyrs?' And one of the Persian princes said, `How is it that when you are with your own people, you speak to them of such exalted subjects, but when you are with us, you only ask us of the news of the town and of the martyrs?' Bahá'u'lláh paced up and down and said, `People who can hear my word are not yet created.' He again paced up and down and started to tell them something. One of the things which He said at that time was this. He said, `If there are pearls beneath seven seas, I will bring them out. If there are jewels hidden beyond seven mountains, by the power of the direction of the Word of God, I will bring them out.' Who could ever realize in that hour what these words meant? But today we see with our eyes the fulfillment of these words. Bahá'u'lláh brought out pearls from seven seas, and brought jewels from beyond seven mountains and brought them all here, from the Pacific, the Atlantic, the mountains of Bolivia, all countries of the world. These are the pearls and jewels which Bahá'u'lláh desired to have.

One evening at a hotel in London I met up with Mr. Faizí, We spent a few delightful moments together. I asked him whether I could adopt him as my father, since my biological father had died several years before. He agreed, and ever since that time I have considered him as my father.

On my return to Honduras, I found a letter from him dated July 27, 1963, from Haifa. In the letter he tells me that he had been thinking of our mutual friend, Jeanne Frankel, that he had been at the Bahá'í Center in London and had desired to write her. Marion Hofman had obtained Jeanne's address from someone who lived on the same island. He left London and went to Paris, Nice and then back to Haifa. When he arrived in Haifa, he found a letter from Jeanne written the same day he was trying to find her address. Then he says:

Just think how Bahá'u'lláh has brought our hearts together and friends in the East and West feel their sentiments towards each other. Today I wrote to her and am writing to you and desire to write to some more. Now you can visualize me. You remember the House of the Master where you all gathered. I am sitting in the room where you had been sitting to vote. Here I think of every one of you and pray and pray that at the very depths of your hearts and souls you all feel happy in the service of our precious Cause. Now that we have the House of Justice and every day I see these precious souls with so much love, energy, enthusiasm and devotion, I feel no more tired, even though mountains of work and responsibility are put on my shoulders. I feel happier, readier and more uplifted than ever. One feels the guidance which come to them in every step. One sees the invisible Hands of God holding them, supporting them, and guiding them. As the secretary of one of the NSAs, I am sure you feel the same. I always remember the comfort and happiness I felt in your room and the vibrations of love surrounding all the friends. Please remember me to everyone of them -- especially to the mother and the little girl. (Then he saluted the friends in Spanish, sending much Bahá'í love)...P.S. The big black bag is near me now. Do you remember I missed it in the hotel?

In September of 1963, because of ill health, I had to return to the United States after my four-year stay in Honduras. In November 1963, I received a letter forwarded from Honduras written by Mr. Faizí from Jerusalem on October 27, 1963. In this letter, he speaks about the members of the Universal House of Justice:

The first and foremost news that I must share with you is the health, unity and the enthusiasm of the members of the Universal House of Justice. It is simply miraculous that a group of people never knowing each other before, never working with each other and every one belonging to special kind of work and interest become so amalgamated together that today they are one body and one soul. Such unity attracts the light of guidance and that is the sole reason why we witness the light of confirmation, strength and God's wishes and desires even in every word they utter. This makes every Bahá'í happy and determined to do more. ... I am all right and just two days ago finished an article of about 24 sheets about the Convention and the Congress. It is in Persian and I hope to render it soon into English. I will surely send you a copy....

A letter dated December 12, 1963, from Bahjí arrived. In it he states:

How did you know that I would be in Bahjí? [I had asked him to say some prayers for me there]. Yesterday before my departure with the pilgrims to Bahjí, I received your very beautiful and inspiring letter. Now here I am and have prayed for you from the depths of my heart.

The news about the State Convention is simply thrilling. To have 300 people in a State Convention is simply beyond my imagination. How I wish that the Persians too would have the same freedom!

Amongst the pilgrims we have some very interesting people. One is a young and very strong teacher of the cause in Persia. He travels all about, goes to many towns and states in Persia. He tells me that there is a very ancient port in the southern coasts of Persia. This port is called Abbas Port. There are some very fine Bahá'ís there and in the house of one of them, he found a tablet by the Master. He says that as it carries the Name of Abbas, it is His own Port and in future it will be the lamp of guidance to many.

Now the Americans are changing the same old. fashioned port into the most modern port of the Middle East with all its required equipments, etc. Millions will be spent, and a road will be paved from there to the middle of Persia. The friends there are becoming stronger and stronger and more respected and loved by the people.

A contact embraced the Faith after he talked to him for only two or three sessions and when this young teacher asked his contact of the reason of this speedy recovery, he said that it was because of a dream. He dreamt that his mother had taken hold of the hem of the Prophet Muhammad's garment begging Him to put her son on the right path. He said when I dreamt that I thought of inquiring about the Bahá'í Faith....When we had the celebration in Haifa and London, these few friends made a special glorious celebration in that port and it had been during the same Ridván Feast when the construction of the new coast had been inaugurated.

I found this very interesting, therefore I wrote it to you to make your kind, pure and radiant heart happy.

The above letter was not completed until December 20, 1963. He added the following:

I could not finish my letter to you last week. Here I am again for special thanksgiving to Bahá'u'lláh who arranged a free ticket for me to go to Teheran and return. My mother is very ill and I wanted so much to see her. The ever great monster money stood against me and my heart's desire, but Bahá'u'lláh solved it so easily for me. I will be on my way to Teheran on the 23rd and perhaps will remain there for about 45 days. Should the many thousand friends give me time, I would certainly write to you, especially from Shíráz. Meanwhile, please pray that I will prove worthy of this bounty and will do something for the Faith too. I do not want to fail Him.

      In 1964, I underwent surgery and had written to Mr. Faizí during recuperation. He answered by letter dated July 13, 1964:

I was right then to worry about you! Now I know why... In two days my children (May (20) and Naysan (15) are coming to stay with me for 45 days. I am now living just adjacent to the Shrine. Being always face to face with such a source of light, hope and consolation, I shall surely and very often remember you. You are very dear to me and my prayers will be along the lines you asked for - that Bahá'u'lláh will use you for the progress of His Cause. He will. Be sure dearest Shirley. Who ever knocked at His door and was returned empty handed? I knock and knock and my dear ones will remain under His loving kindness and protection.

Again, on July 29, 1964, he wrote from Haifa:

The moment I received your letter I wrote you and hope that you have already received my note. Here is again a few lines to tell you how worried I am about your health. My prayers are constant and my hope is fervent that you are improving and getting ready to resume your services to win some honours in the 9 Year Plan too... I am having some very exciting days. My two children are here for the summer. Having been separated for some time, now the reunion means much to me. My daughter May is very much interested in music. She plays the piano and there are some possibilities for her to continue her studies here. This is what she really loves to do: to study and to protect her daddy. My son is 15 and somewhat still playful.

In the summer we will have a class for all the Bahá'í children. The oldest is 20 and the youngest 11. There are 3 girls and the rest are boys. The students will be responsible for the class. Each one will teach a subject. They are busily preparing their subjects. Tomorrow our summer classes will start and the first topic is mass conversion by a boy of 14. I hope that these classes will put all the children on the right path of their future services. How I wish I could have more young people to work with!

Be so kind as to convey my love to all the friends whom I had the honour to meet while in Los Angeles. I love them all, never forget them and hope to meet them again.

My daughter and my son both send you love and greetings. They love you too.

After these loving letters, who could remain ill! In his letter of September 23, 1964, Mr. Faizí continues his loving encouragement and shares news about his activities in Haifa and Greece:

My very sweet and kind sister--my daughter. The receipt of your lovely letter written in such beautiful and lovely paper and with so much love and enthusiasm was a remedy to my loneliness. This is my story: My children were here for about 50 days and when they left, I was very sad. Fortunately, I was asked to go to Greece for some time. I did this. My sojourn in Greece was a very happy and successful one. When I returned and went to the same house and looked at the children's rooms, you can't imagine how I missed them and what I felt in my heart. At this time they brought me some letters. Amongst them was the very precious and penetrating one of yours which brought light to my eyes, hope to my heart and I love you even more than ever before. Rest assured dearest that I pray -- pray ardently that Bahá'u'lláh will aid, sustain and support you in all your endeavors in the propagation of His Faith.

Ours is to pray and purge ourselves so that we will be worthy instruments. Then let Bahá'u'lláh use us in any way He finds best and most useful for His Cause. I am sure that He will never fail you. I am also certain that wherever you are, you are a source of delight, happiness and ardent services to the friends. Where is our dear and mutual friend Behar whose name means Spring? Please convey to her and all the dear ones my love and sincerest wishes.

It is difficult to quote Mr. Faizí when he praises me, but I do so because his encouragement (and praises), though not earned, always gave me strength and the desire to do better. It was as if all during the years I knew him, and no matter where I was living or pioneering, he had, in a sense, taken my hand and helped me in my services to the Cause.

      I moved to the San Francisco area where I received a letter from him dated October 12, 1964, in which he speaks about the excitement in the Holy Land because of the arrival of the Hands of the Cause for their annual meeting. He states, in part:

From day after tomorrow Hands start pouring in the Holy Land. Then the meetings. Meetings in the mornings, in the afternoons, in the nights, all alone by ourselves and sometimes with our dearly beloved members of the House. After days and nights of consultation, referring to the texts and above all prayers, we must write the message. Now you see what I mean when I say I must hurry. I remember you in my prayers and hope that ere long you will be established in life and will serve the Cause to the best of your ability. Dearest Bill Sears is here now and being with him is a constant source of joy and happiness. More of his books will be published and I hope that you will have them all. They are of two kinds: Bahá'í and non-Bahá'í, as he puts them, sublime and ridiculous. But they are all wonderful. The friends must be very happy and grateful that they have such a great and gifted writer amongst them. When Bahá'u'lláh was singled out for God's Message in this Age, He was promised that the treasures of the world will rise to serve Him. Now Bill is one of these. The American Bahá'í Community will have many such treasures...

A short time later, Mr. Faizí sent the following letter to some about his sojourn in Iran, in which he spent forty-five days in 1964. I include this letter here. (The letter was undated but arrived in some time in the fall of that year.)

Dearly beloved friend,

I am so late in answering your very kind communications that I do not really know how to start this letter. I hope that you are still as kind as ever before and will overlook this horrible delay.

It is about month that I am back in the Holy Land after my world tour which took me to the International Convention, to the London Congress, and eventually to Iran where I sojourned for about forty-five days.

The story of this one month and a half is simply wonderful. Though the friends were requested not to arrange extensive programs for me, after two or three days experience showed that it was utterly beyond my power or that of any committee to control the many demands of the dearly beloved of Teheran. They were so eager to ask and so longing to know.

My daily program would start by the early morning and would be ended by midnight. The moment I opened my eyes, there were people who had gathered in the hall and who desired to confer with me on different subjects. This done, I usually went to the houses of the veteran teachers, valiant pioneers, and the sick and the poor who due to illness or the long distances could not possibly attend any meeting. In all such assemblages of the friends I encouraged them to ask questions. This proved very delightful and profitable, both for me and for them. By such questions I would understand the nature of the community, their difficulties, problems and shortcomings, and they in turn would receive the news of the world and the progress of our Faith in many different countries. The only thing which caused me a bit of trouble was the terrible cold of the winter and the heavy snow which had covered all roads. Having lived for fifteen years in Arabia, I was not accustomed to such terrific cold. I was never warm enough, especially my feet. But the waves of love and the enthusiasm which encircled me everywhere compensated for this physical coldness which did not really matter very much.

The youth in Iran are especially interested in any problem concerning our Faith. They proved so eager to attend the meetings that if the committee had invited, for example, a hundred, there would be at least five hundred present. If there were not enough chairs, the newcomers who just stand in rows, sometimes for hours. The Youth Committee throughout Iran has many subsidiary committees such as committees for public speaking, teacher training classes, publications, etc. Although confronted with many, many difficulties, they have had wonderful achievements in all of their activities.

Let me describe for you one of their classes: On a special day, parents and friends were invited to observe the final examination of the Public Speaking Class. There were two groups, each group consisting of more than thirty boys and girls under the supervision and guidance of three teachers. The members of each class had taken many teaching tours from Teheran to many different parts of Iran, especially to villages. Each one had committed to memory more than seventy-five quotations from our Sacred Writings. Thus they get ready to use the proper sayings in their speeches or when they talk to some contacts. Each knew by heart at least five long Tablets in Persian or in Arabic. Though the means of transport are not adequately comfortable, available, or inexpensive, scarcely any of the students had ever been late to any of the classes. When they gave talks, recited the Tablets, or quoted from the Writings, their pronunciation and delivery were clear and penetrating. At the end of the meeting we had the pleasure to look at the many different books that the students had copied and the books to which they had referred during the entire year. When they asked me to tell them something, I was so thrilled that I could hardly speak. At the end of the day they promised to continue their studies to get ready for their future services. With tears in their eyes they expressed homage, respect and loyalty to this House of Justice and conveyed the message that they would be ready to participate in the new year's Plan arranged by that exalted Body.

Having in mind the many obstacles that our young and old people have in Iran, what they achieve approach miracles. This proves that no obstacle is unsurmountable if we rely wholeheartedly upon the grace of God and the strength we receive from Him.

From Teheran I went to Isfáhán where I spent five nights. One night I went to a nearby village called Najaf-Abad, the friends of which are renowned for their bravery and steadfastness. As it was winter and the friends could not use their Bahá'í Hall, they had taken the trouble of pitching a huge tent in one of the houses. The floor was covered with many colorful carpets. More than one thousand Bahá'ís sat on the floor, and as the ladies had covered themselves with colored cloth, the entire gathering seemed to me like a beautiful garden of many different flowers.

The friends sitting there were the ones who had suffered the most during the year 1955 when the cruel waves of persecution covered all parts in Iran. For many months they were not allowed to purchase provisions from the market and could not even gather in their own crops, most of which had already been devastated and plundered by the angry mobs. The enemies paid errand boys to go on bicycles around and around the lanes and unfrequented passages to see whoever dared to help the Bahá'ís. These brave souls managed to hold on with what they had previously stored in their houses, but eventually many were forced to leave their villages for other places in search of other ways to earning their living. As the drivers did not accept them in their busses or taxis, many took their way to their unknown destinations on foot. None of these tribulations could ever loosen their hold on the hem of Bahá'u'lláh's grace and Faith. Standing there in the midst of these wonderful Bahá'ís, whom I loved and adored, I could not utter a word. Beside that, I knew many of them from before. Many of them as children had sat on my lap when I was about twenty-five years old and lived in that village for about five years, immersed in the ocean of their love, care and consideration.

My struggle for words proved useless. The love and devotion, the memories of the past, and the remembrance of their sufferings were too strong for my feeble words to express anything. I continued looking at them, and from every row of the friends I received strength and inspiration. Then, at last, I started to speak to them about the beloved friends in Bolivia, the rapid progress of the Cause in India and Africa, and I told them some stories which I had gathered throughout my one-year trip around the world. The description of the International Convention and the World Congress brought tears to their eyes. I could then see visibly in their faces that they were praising Bahá'u'lláh and saying that if their feet are in fetters and they cannot take the torch of God freely around the countries, their brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, with their sacrificial services, can take the light of the Cause even to the very dark and obscure corners of the world.

After twenty-five years, I found my dear ones close to me, and it proved very hard for me to depart again.

In Shíráz I spent five nights. There I had the honor to visit the House of the Báb and the very same room where Mullá Husayn sat face to face with the Báb and heard His melodious voice when He declared His Mission.

Something really miraculous took place for me in Shíráz. I had sent a cable to the Hands in Haifa and begged them to appoint a certain date and hour when they would gather in the Shrine of the Báb, and I would be in the Báb room, for the purpose of a simultaneous prayer. Thus a spiritual magnetic chain would be stretched between the starting point and the final one: His House in Shíráz and His Resting Place on Mount Carmel.

I received an answer to my cable in Teheran. But let me tell you this. One day I was drawn as if my mysterious forces to the House and I walked in tears and full of supplications. There in that very same room I remember all my dear ones in the countries where I had passed through, and I prayed and supplicated for every one of them. The illumined faces of the dear friends were just in front of me when I was in that very small room. It was a feeling which permanently stays with me and forever remains undescribable. What affected me most was the very small size of the House, the rooms and the little pond in the courtyard. To compare this smallness with the grandeur of the Message which covered the whole earth makes us comprehend the mysterious ways by which the Cause of God makes progress in different countries of the world under so much hardship, difficulties and plight. How great! How very great is the Plan of God! That very tiny Room, by His decree and desire, became the fountainhead of all the blessings, the springtide of the spiritual revival of mankind, and the Primal Point from which powers are constantly released for the spiritual conquest of the globe!

When in Teheran I received the expected cable from the Hands in Haifa, I came to know that on the very same day and hour that they had gathered in the Shrine of the Báb, I had been in His House in Shíráz.

Since my return from all these trips, especially in Iran, I felt so exhausted and tired that I could not possibly do any serious work. I hope that with prayers and spending more time in the Shrines I will regain my strength.

These days are the wonderful days of the early weeks of the year 121 [1964]. I hope and pray that you will be ushered into this year with fresh powers and ample energy and be ready to do your part in the glorious Nine Year Plan of our beloved House of Justice. We see how this Plan is made and how the members of the House of Justice spend days and nights in preparing the different stages; so much so that we are worried about their health. They work from early morning until about after midnight. We are sure that the results will be great and full of power, chances and potentialities which will enable every Bahá'í to perform heroic feats. Fresh forces and ample resources will be at the disposal of the beloved Friends and I am certain that the Bahá'ís will once again mount their steeds and render their sacrificial services to the Cause in such terrific speed and enthusiasm that the eyes of the entire world will be amazed at the rapid consummation of the Plan. Any substantial help and assistance given by the Friends to fulfill the goals of this Divine Plan will surely and abundantly attract many blessings from On High for themselves, their friends, relatives and their homelands.

Dearly beloved friends, I assure you once more of my ardent and continued prayers in the Shrines. I write this hurried note to you from Bahjí and I hope that this letter will bring to you the fragrance, the tranquillity and assurance which prevail in the atmosphere surrounding the Resting Place of the Supreme Manifestations of God in this Age.

Yours humbly in the Beloved's servitude. Faizí.

I had moved to Carmel, California, and received a lovely note from him dated December 3, l964. I had learned how to say "I love you" in Persian (man tora dustaram) and had put it in my letter to him. He refers to this and says:

I am in the Master's House in a room adjacent to His and read and reread your beautiful and moving letter. The red petals in it are symbols of your wonderful thoughts.. .1 was so delighted to know about the many ways and doors opened to the beloved friends that I immediately sent your letter to No. 10 where the U. H. of Justice have their meetings. Don't be afraid, two or three know Persian and they don't mind you loving me. I mean your Persian sentences. I wish I could hear them from you. As to your plans, be sure of one thing that I never stop thinking or of praying for you. Here at the door of His room I repeat the prayer of the Báb, thinking of you and then will proceed writing to you.

The other day I was reading the pilgrim notes of a certain Persian who lived a long time with the Master. There is a beautiful point in it which I would like to share with you. The following is the gist of it: When the country of Palestine was in turmoil, fear and consternation because of the advent of the Committee of Investigation, every body was in great fright except the Master who was in absolute tranquility. Though the friends had faith and knew that nothing would ever harm Him, the situation became so intense that their love for their Beloved urged them to ask Him to please take care of Himself. He told them: "I make the sails very strong, the ropes tight and firm and everything in perfect order and then have my aim visibly in front of me and drive towards it. No tempest will ever cause me to deviate. Should I change my path at every wave, there would be no success. Look at the rays of the sun, spread everywhere. Have them pass through a lens and concentrate on a point, then conflagration takes place. Look at the steam coming out from the boiling water. Concentrate it in one place, then the same weak and feeble steam will move trains and ships." Should the friends concentrate their material, mental and spiritual powers on one end, aim or purpose, then they will see wonders. Fortunately for the Bahá'ís at every stage they have plans on which they must concentrate and win its goals and then start another more glorious plan. I am sure my darling that you will have great success. This love, faith and great charm and personality which God has abundantly given you will enable you to find the right path to the right point of concentration. It will be the same in finding the right path to the hearts of people. Treasures of the world will never be equal to this. Through you many will come to the Cause and you will be eternally happy.

A friend of mine went on pilgrimage and took for me a small of Persian lime perfume I had obtained for Mr. Faizí. He wrote on December 8, 1964:

Many, many heartfelt thanks for the Persian Lime. It is so beautiful that I do not use it. It is too precious for me.. Oh how I wish I could make a very extensive trip and to find and meet my dear friends in their homes and chat till morning.' I heard some bad news too. .... and .... are divorced. There is no rest, no comfort and no happiness in anything except in the service of the Cause and under Its shadow. Bahá'u'lláh has often said that it had been useless for the people to ask Him (for) comfort. This is not created in this world. Should these dear sisters concentrate on Bahá'í activities, they would find their lives totally changed. Then they will find some meaning and some purpose -- some lofty aim towards which they constantly move. When the aim is fixed and the determination is made, then towards that aim one marches on. No matter how high and terrible the waves are, one feels sure that the aim is at hand.. .1 am so glad that you are in (the) Carmel district. I had one of the most wonderful nights in that district in the house of our precious Arthur [Dahl]. I never forget the love and the hospitality I received there and the beautiful meeting with so many precious souls and thirsty hearts. Whenever I think of my sojourn in California, I am uplifted because of the exalted experiences I had with the dearly beloved friends in that part of the world which resembles so much the Holy Land.. Please pray for me. I have so many things to do. I desire to write many notes about God Passes By and especially about the many questions the friends have asked me about problems and materials mentioned therein. Did I give you the accounts I have written about Ahmad in whose honour the famous Tablet of Ahmad had been revealed, or the accounts and explanations of the Greatest Name? If not, let me know and I will send them to you by the pilgrims. What I do desire to write about the book God Passes By is really such accounts which will elucidate the historical points, etc. This needs a bit of rest and non-disturbance, patience and diligent work. Therefore I need your prayers very much. I believe this is my mission that I should fulfill.

Whatever beautiful I see, there springs in my heart a desire to obtain it and send it to my dear ones. A small plate and some pressed flowers which have been resting in the Shrine are sent to you with the hope that you will like them. I hope they bring to you all my love and the fragrances of these beautiful spots. Once you visit these places, you live in them always and forever. The impressions grow with you and their impacts become greater and greater. When I said goodbye to our dear, dear Guardian and left the Holy Land for Iran, my life became a perpetual yearning for looking at His countenance again. No day passed without me sitting somewhere and closing my eyes and bringing him closer and closer to myself. The way he walked and talked became so vivid in my mind that I thought I am again with him. This strengthened me and kept me and my family alive in the most terrible conditions ever possible for fifteen years.

Now I am sure you always remember the Shrines so beautifully carpeted with the rarest flowers, the gardens trimmed and arrayed, the House of the Master with open arms ready to receive the delegates from all over the world and above all the radiant faces of all those pure souls who came to elect the House of Justice. Then the great days in London. Though so unique and rare in the history of mankind, they never remain unparalleled in the Cause, because I am certain that the most enjoyable days are ahead of us when the people of Bahá will rejoice and will find their labours concluded and will witness the days of the harvest. Such days will be coming and each of them conceived with interminable mysteries.

In January 1965, he sent me his account of the Tablet of Ahmad, still uncompleted, as he had more materials to add, which was later published with the title, Flame of Fire.

While at Bahjí in February 1965, he wrote the following:

Here in Bahjí, I can't get rid of the faces -- beautiful smiling supplicating faces of my dear ones. Wherever I go I see them in my vision. Every word of prayer I utter I behold them, asking for more. It is a great delight--nay the greatest that one can aspire--to live always with the beautiful thoughts of the dearest ones.

He also sent some rose petals for my friend Dorothy Behar who was then pioneering in Puerto Rico and asked that I forward them to her. For me he sent a beautiful Persian green silk scarf that I still have and treasure.

The next letter was dated June 19, 1965, from Tel Aviv:

As to myself, it is about four days that I am in Tel Aviv to get my visas for the tour of the European Summer Schools. In the mornings I must run from one consulate to another and in the afternoons I have more time to myself to concentrate on the two subjects which I am going to teach. I love these two subjects and I believe within their framework we can say a lot. The Meaning of History and the other is Philosophy of Bahá'í Education. Both are based on texts. They are marvelous subjects. Peepholes to many hidden and mysterious chambers of human soul and destiny. They are not conclusively studied. They are results of my life research and clues or suggestions for the youth to probe deeper and deeper into such subjects. How I wish that sometime in future we can come together to discuss such beautiful subjects. When I walk and think of the different aspects of this vast problems which have kept scholars busy throughout centuries, I am so immersed that suddenly I find myself in need of someone to tell me how to get back to my hotel.

On August 6, 1965, Mr. Faizí had gone to Frankfurt for a complete medical checkup on "orders" from the World Centre. He writes:

For more than one month, I am constantly moving from one place to another, attending [summer] schools, giving answers to questions till about 11 p.m and after all feeling so exhausted that I had been ordered by the World Centre to go to Frankfurt for a complete medical check-up--hence this letter from Frankfurt. The tests are satisfactory and after one week I will be on my way to the remaining summer school. This I hope has explained the horrible delay in writing to you to thank you for the very wonderful letter which I received in England. I wish I had time to explain to you about Buddha and the great enlightenment He brought to the world.. I wish I had one or two hours to myself to write a long letter to your dear, dear friend who sent me one of the most beautiful .communications. Alas all such hopes should be abandoned and their fulfillment be left in abeyance because of time. Time, our greatest adversary, racing always against it and it is shrinking more and more and the tests are increasing by unimaginable speed. Please give him all my love and assurance of sincerest prayers. The subjects of History and Fundamentals of Bahá'í Education were received with great enthusiasm in all the summer school. I am still studying and adding notes. I need your love, your prayers and your news. Please give my love to all. Yours ever in His Name.

He also referred in this letter to a new Bahá'í who had many perplexing questions, who had asked that his letter be sent to Mr. Faizí.

The next letter came from Bahjí sometime in 1965, which had been brought to me by my friend, Mohi Sobhani, and in which was enclosed a lovely little book of Persian Miniatures. Mr. Faizí writes:

Sobhani came with so much zeal, love and enthusiasm that I thought he had brought all of you. Nowadays, though very busy because of my loneliness, I am most eager to know what is happening to you.. Two more of my books are published by the N.S.A. and distributed. They are not very big, but the friends like them very much. Please pray that I will do the same in English. The pressure of work and the anxiety which is resulted from it prevents me to do anything. Are you going to the Convention? Paul [Haney] will represent the World Centre and I am sure you will enjoy seeing him... I keep all your letters. I love them and am proud having them.

A few days later, this short note from Bahjí:

I can't go out from Bahjí without writing a few lines to you. Many, many thanks for the beautiful letters and the most welcomed paintings. They were so fresh and reflected very much the beauty of your dear souls.

In September 1965, I moved from Monterey, California on the occasion of my marriage to Ricardo Macias, then residing in West Hollywood, California. We had written to Mr. Faizí to tell him about our marriage and our possible departure to pioneer in Argentina. He wrote to us on Naw-Rúz 123 (1966). We did not receive his letter until the following May, when we were already at our pioneer post in Mendoza, Argentina. It also contained a lovely card on which were pressed petals from the Shrines. He wrote:

Many, many thanks for your lovely messages and good news which I received after my return from my almost 8 month tour in all the countries of Europe. The news of your wonderful marriage and the prospects of pioneering and serving the Cause brought light to my eyes and joy to my aching heart.

Then on April 24, 1966, from Haifa.

What wonderful news! and what a pleasant surprise for me. Are you settled in Mendoza? The beautiful town with wonderful streets, coffee houses on the pavements covered by tall trees? In 1962 when I returned from Chile to Argentina I stayed four days and I liked the town very much. Some streets resemble Teheran. Had I more time I would have stayed longer. Now you are in the very same town where I desired to sojourn more. You can't imagine how very happy I am that you are settled there! In my many hours of walking I went to the house of a certain person who spoke English. His dear and noble wife received me very kindly and asked some questions. Another day I went to the house of some Arabs and the whole family gathered. We had Arab coffee and spoke Arabic.

On June 2, 1966, he writes from Haifa:

The news of your marriage, pioneering and then settlement in Mendoza one after the other brought much joy, happiness and consolation to my heart. I hope and pray that you will rejoice life together and will be confirmed to render many valuable services to the Cause you love so dearly. Whatever it is, one should feel happy and grateful that he has the chance to serve this Cause at the time when the whole world denies it. Should every pioneer ponder upon this fact, he would find the greatest consolation. He Will never feel isolated, forsaken or weak. On the contrary, he will find himself united with his Lord and will have His blessings and powers.

My wife is invited to go to India for a teaching tour. Perhaps on her way to India she will come to me and will remain with me few days. My children, May and Naysam, may join me in the summer I hope their exams will be finished successfully and they will come with the greatest amount of joy and energy. They all know you so well and count you as one of the family.

In his letter of October 22, 1966, he again remembered his sojourn in Mendoza, saying:

I still think so lovingly of the town where you pioneer. Do vou know that some of the streets resemble those of Teheran? I sat on the pavement, had coffee, pondered, wrote and the garcon (waiter?) came and talked to me in Arabic.

My tour in the four countries (of Europe) was most wonderful and at the same time most exhausting. I only slept five hours each night and once I was in a taxi to reach a certain N.S.A. meeting for more than two hours, but I was there on time.

The next letter was dated February 24, 1967.

I hope and pray that you still think of me as someone living, but very, very busy. If I have not written to you, it does not mean have forgotten you or have ever stopped thinking of and praying for you. You and your dear husband are always in my heart and my poor soul is ever soaring in the beautiful town of Mendoza where I hope the Cause of God will penetrate and recreate many people and quicken many, many souls.

These last month I was very, very busy. There were several special questions put to me and I had to prepare proper answers. One was a letter from the Canadian N.S.A. on Child Education and the special obligation of parents. It took me three weeks to prepare an answer to this request. I hope they will print the same in their Bahá'í News, in which case I shall soon send you a copy.

The other was about the addresses of `Abdu'l-Bahá in the States and to find which ones had not been translated and published. The third was the life story of Ahmad, which, as I am promised, will appear in the Bahá'í News of U.S. by the month of March. I am sure you will have a copy.

So you see my dear, dear daughter how very busy I had been, but all through thinking of both of you. I hope and pray that you enjoy the best of health. Your work is steadily going on and your newly enrolled friends will help you to teach our beloved Faith

Please convey my love to all--especially to dearly beloved Hooper and his ever- charming wife.

"Beloved Hooper" is, of course, Hooper Dunbar and his "ever-charming wife" is Maralynn Dunbar, who were living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at that time.

On June 16, 1967, Mr. Faizí writes from Haifa:

Many, many thanks for your very wonderful message which reached me at the most opportune time Once the beloved Guardian said that the friends should count their blessings. There is no means to record the blessings received in these tumultuous days. It was simply the most miraculous deed of God to have done all of this in such a short time and by so few people and in so many different fronts. We must reiterate to ourselves what the Guardian often said about the fate and destiny of the people who martyred the Báb, imprisoned Bahá'u'lláh and the Master and martyred 20,000 adherents. We must also in comparison know about the exalted station of those who are destined to protect the Shrines. All these make us more than grateful to Bahá'u'lláh and His Cause in which we are well safeguarded The work of the Cause must not be delayed even a single minute. All of us were doing our work, including the pilgrims, with absolute confidence in Him and His protective measures.

Mr. Faizí's remarks referred to the Six-Day War in Israel.

From Wilmette, Illinois in February 1968:

In my first tour around the world I found you and I loved you and your love and your dear husband are still preciously kept in my heart. In the second around the world tour, I did not see you, but my heart was with you, especially when I knew that `Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum had been crossing Argentina. I wanted very much to write to you from U.S. but my time had been so intensely limited that I did not expect to give lessons, go to the hotel and resume the same thing over again the next day. When I reached home, I was utterly exhausted, I could not concentrate. I always thought that the friends were around me and were asking questions from me.

In seems that in each letter he writes, Mr. Faizí apologizes for not writing more often. How very dear and kind he was to take the time to write, especially when he was so over--burdened with work and exhausted. This always made us love him so much more.

He wrote again after his return from a six month trip in the countries of the Far East. In his letter dated July 1, 1969, from Haifa, he tells us that his doctors have ordered absolute rest. He says that in a month his "aching heart" will be better and he will be an his feet to enter the field of service. I don't think that a moment of his life was not spent in service to our beloved Cause, even when he was resting, recuperating, or even sleeping.

From Haifa, February 15,1970, he wrote a short letter after his long absence from the Holy Land. He says:

My trips to the Pacific Islands had been absolutely unprecedented in beauty, scope, results, and depths. The people are made to be Bahá'ís. They have suffered enough throughout centuries and now they must find shelter under the Greatest Name. I have written something in the form of a letter about the trips. When printed, I will send you copies.

I shall remain in Haifa for about one month and a half. By the end of March, I shall proceed to Africa where my sojourn will prolong for about 3 months and after that J must go to Europe where I hope to visit my children. Therefore I beg you to pray more for me. Though tired and exhausted, I hasten to note down these lines lest you would think I have forgotten you and I am discourteous.

Again from Haifa, October 25, 1970, he "apologizes" for the delay in writing.

You will please excuse the undesired delay. Ever since the Palermo Conference, I am on the move. This means that I am about three years on and off in other continents. I covered Australia, New Zealand and then most of the islands of the Pacific and the last seven months had been touring Africa and some countries of Europe.

You had been so much in my heart and prayers that I have published a short story in Persian, the scenes of which start and end in Mendoza. I will send you a copy In case you have some Persians who can read Persian, give it to them to read and give you the summary.


(I never did get an opportunity to read that short story. If anyone ever comes across it, I would be so grateful.) Mr. Faizí then continues:

The news of the progress of the Cause in Mendoza made me very happy and reminded me of the few days that I spent in that beautiful town. In my story I have said that some of the streets reminded every Persian of the streets of Teheran. I always remember them.

In a note dated December 4, 1970, he sent us some petals from the Shrines and said:

Hoping that these petals from the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh will bring you the perfume of my abiding love and the assurance of my continued prayers.

In the fall of 1970, the Bahá'ís in Argentina had the bounty and privilege of a visit of beloved Hand of the Cause of God, Enoch Olinga. He came to Mendoza accompanied by Hooper and Maralynn Dunbar. At that time, there was a small nucleus of Bahá'ís in Mendoza, although not enough to form an Assembly. There were Bahá'ís who had enrolled in neighboring villages, as well as some Persian pioneers residing in San Juan, a province adjacent to Mendoza. We had an extraordinary two days with Mr. Olinga, with a public meeting in our home with television and newspaper reporters, and an afternoon tea. During a break, Mr. Olinga spoke to my husband, Ricardo, about pioneering in Africa. When I mentioned it to Mr. Faizí in a letter, he responded on December 4, 1970:

I was doing something else and your beautiful letter was brought to me. There is a point in it which urges me to write immediately and that is your pioneering. I am never against the ideas expressed by my precious Olinga, nor do I ever dare to say "no" to what he says "yes." I love him from the very depths of my heart and respect his feelings and thoughts.

But all the pioneers who have very often asked me as to the changing of their posts I have invariably said, "no" and here are my humble reasons:

1. You are in Argentina about five to six years during which you have learned the language, contacted many people, have made yourselves known to the people, have established a business, etc.

2. You are just starting to have an Assembly.

3. Your new enrolled believers are not yet very strong to uphold the burden.

4 The contacts who are just ready to declare may stop.

5. Should you go to utterly a new place, you must start the language over again, make contacts, make yourselves known, find people to enroll, etc. What does this mean? It means that you will lose the years you have spent in Argentina and God knows whether you will gain them in Africa.

6. Bahá'u'lláh has always recommended patience. It is in the pioneering post that we must have patience. Therefore remain in your post, try your utmost to do more, establish some Assemblies and when you have enough, spend some months in traveling in South America so much in need of inspiration, encouragement and upliftment."


Ricardo and I were extremely grateful for Mr. Faizí's comments. However, because of health matters, we had to leave our post; not to pioneer somewhere else, but instead to return to the States. However, happily, Mendoza formed its first Assembly, and there are now a number of Bahá'í communities surrounding Mendoza, the capital of that province. The Bahá'ís there are devoted and very active in teaching the Faith.

After our return to the states, we settled in Beverly Hills, California. A letter dated April 1971 contained some pertinent comments about pioneering.

Now I have especially come to the House of the beloved Master and in a room adjacent to His room, and try to write and finish this note.

I wish both of you a very happy and blessed Feast and that whatever is planned for you will give you greater chance and wider scope to render more services to the Cause you love so much and which you support so courageously.

As to your pioneering possibilities, I would like to mention the following points. I hope that these will serve as stepping stones for your future move forward.

1. I always pray that the pioneers will have the means to stay in their pioneering posts. During the many years, they learn about habits, customs, rituals, background and the history of the inhabitants of a certain country. They learn their language, then they come to know people, find friends and contacts and people come to know them. When all these are gained, they must go to another place and start the same spiritual exercises over again. This is indeed a 1oss of money, time and energy. Meanwhile, the pioneers grow in age and do not have the enthusiasm, energy and patience of their first years of experience.

2. The pioneers must have patience and remain sure that the seeds they sow will surely spout and grow in due time.

3. The pioneers must know that the response of people of the world is not the same throughout the world. For example when we hear that some thousands have embraced the Faith in India, we must not expect the same should happen in Germany. Some times the poor pioneers are judged on this basis. They are even told, 'Look thousands in India and only fifteen in your pioneering post!' This darkens the vision of our pioneers and deadens their souls. Some have returned home because of such a wrong approach.

Whatever happens, I believe that the pioneers must stick to their posts.

These are my personal opinions and express the same in general to anyone who asks me.

Now, in your case, you are back home because of reasons and forces beyond your control. Now that you are getting ready to go to another place for the same purpose, I believe if all possibilities are the same, you must chose again one of the Spanish- speaking countries. By living more than ten years amongst them, you know how to approach them, talk to them, etc But if you are asked to go to Africa, please be sure to chose an English-speaking country. Whatever is in my heart to safeguard your energy, power, capacities and possibilities were expressed here in the most prayerful mood

Before going home, I stand at the door of the Master Room and offer ample prayers for your protection, success and everlasting happiness. Be always sure and happy Have absolute reliance in God. Prepare yourselves for another jump and keep the beloved Guardian's words and wishes as your guiding stars.

Excuse the delay in writing Pardon the speed with which this is written. Overlook the irregularities, but always have in mind that each word is written in `Abdu'l-Bahá's House and very near to His Room. I stood at the door and prayed for you and some other friends. I feel sure and confident that you feel the warmth of these prayers and wi11 get the response in planning your precious life togther in the service of our beloved Faith. You are always my dear daughter and I wish you every joy, blessing, confirmation and success.

The next letter was dated May 19, 1971:

I have a long program to go through Here is a resume. Persia for two months, Italy one month, Europe two months, return to the Holy Land, get ready for India and the Far East and then Australia and New Zealand. This much I know. The rest must be planned after further consultation. I need your prayers.

We just visited the Shrine and prayed for the success of all the Oceanic Conferences. So far the news is excellent. Most of the news is more than expected. Last year at this time I was in Fiji and all the friends were desperate. `How can we manage to hold the Conference there?' Now we received the news that the Conference has been very successful. It augurs a great future for the friends of the Pacific. Where the Christian missionaries have failed after a hundred years, the Faith is growing rapidly. All forces help. Dreams, conversations, hardships, disappointments, the love of the pioneers are all channels through which the people find their way to God. All the forces standing against the steady flow of the Cause of God are giving way. Like unto a gigantic dam, the Cause will be set free and it will flow to cover the whole earth. The Plan prescribed by the Guardian is unfolded day by day. He said that the people are few, afterwards group by group;. but the time will come when they will enter en mass. It means our numerical and other resources will be one thousand fold. If, for example, we have an isolated believer, the time will come when that one Bahá'í will be surrounded by a thousand Bahá'ís. It is incredible, but it will be so. It is with this hope and assurance that the friends must rise, teach disperse, travel, speak and live the Bahá'í life.


His next communication was postmarked Teheran on June 8, 1971. Then an entire year passed without a letter until one arrived dated June 6, 1972, from somewhere in Germany. I had written to him in care of the National Spiritual Assembly of Hawaii, which was then forwarded to him in Haifa, and then to Germany.
Enclosed you will find the cover of your envelope to see how many countries it has crossed to eventually bring me the joy your letters always impart.

Now I am in a sanatorium hoping to regain my strength to resume my trips. Now I have your address and telephone number and will surely write to you when I arrive in the U.S. I feel much better. It is my heart which is exhausted due to over-accumulated fatigue.

Now I sleep better and have had enough rest. Therefore I hope and pray that I will be permitted by the House and doctors to travel. It is my life to give my life to the beloved friends. No one knows how much the friends mean to me! Each is a breeze of mercy and drop of the martyr's blood that resuscitates. In twenty days my fate will be known.

Please pray, dearest Shirley, [that] I have not so much wasted my time in resting.

I have written something and I hope you will soon have them. The Bahá'í Publishing Trust of India has undertaken to issue uniform pamphlets containing the following my me:
  1. The Wonder Lamp. It is from one of the talks of our brother Bill Sears simplified by me in the form of a story.
  2. The Flame of Fire on Ahmad who received the famous Tablet.
  3. Explanation of the Greatest Name.
  4. Narcissus to `Akká.
  5. The Palm of Victory.
and some others which will be combined with the above titles. At present I am finishing Lest We Would Forget, which is a very brief story of the Cause in India and highlights of the early believers' biographies are indeed very interesting. If the friends from that part order enough of these pamphlets, they will be able to go on with other publications; and if not, perhaps they will be detained because of the lack of funds. The Indian friends are very poor indeed...

I have used a part of your envelope to write a Persian poem for you which says, "Love is an endless ocean."

The next letter was dated July 21, 1972, postmarked Hamburg, where he advised he was at the Bahá'í Summer School in Germany. He says that he had spoken about one hour the night before and that nothing happened to his heart. He goes on:

Had it not been for the prayers of you and my dear ones such as your good and noble self, I would not be able to be here and give lessons. Words fail me to express my deep thanks and gratitude to you for your very prompt spiritual sustenance contained in your beautiful messages--especially the last one which brought me the lines written by your precious husband, my spiritual son-in-law.
     
There is definitely a great awakening in Germany and Europe altogether. The U.S. teams who have come, hand in hand with the German teams, go to all goals and already have won many victories.

There will be two great conferences: Padua, Italy and Plin , Germany respectively. All arrangements are in the hands of the youth. I will attend both conferences; and after that I will see if my health allows me to go on touring Europe or elsewhere.

Wherever I am or will be, my joy and spiritual strength is from thinking of and praying for the beloved friends. I hope that though deprived from seeing their beautiful faces and beholding them laboring in the fields of teaching, I will receive the news of their victories on all fronts. I also pray that they will feel the warmth of my prayers and my arms holding them.

Again from Hamburg, on August 29, 1972, he writes:

When I think of the hardships inflicted upon the early pioneers and teachers, I do not dare to complain of my illness. It is apparently the gradual failure of heart; and though bitter and disappointing in some respects, in its essence it is a bounty which brings me closer to our Lord for more help and assistance.

When I am invited to give a lecture or a lesson, you can't imagine how strongly I cling to His Hem and ask Him, `Confirm me. Guide me. Inspire me, ` and when the talk is over, I feel released and happy.

The two conferences of Padua and Plin were unprecedented in their glory, impact and results. The beloved Guardian used to always say, `Have they tried? Let them try. Then they will behold the glorious manifestation of power, inspiration and guidance.'

Your cards, letters and enclosures are food of my soul which reach me in due time. I am so exhausted that I really drag myself, but at these opportune moments your sweet love touches me like the rod of a magician and changes me into a vigorous person again. It is due to you that today I write and prepare myself for tonight's meeting from 7 to 10 p.m.

On October 10, 1972, from London, he writes:

At present I have two deepening classes each week, and I thoroughly enjoy each one of them. I speak about one hour and the audience asks questions for one hour. When I return home, I feel light, elated and happy.

The duration of my sojourn in this country will be 2 months being completed on the 15 of November, after which I will visit as many countries in Europe as my health will allow me. I hope and pray that nothing will deprive me from this little bit of service.

In London I am living with my son, his wife and his daughter, 24, 20 and 1 year old respectively, and my son works as a manager for me. He makes and arranges all the classes.

I hope that I will be able to finish some of the historical pamphlets that I have started. Perhaps in this way I will be of some little service to my dear friends everywhere..."

In December 1972, Ricardo and I moved to Wilmette, Illinois, where I served as one of the coordinators for the National Teaching Committee. A letter from beloved Mr. Faizí, dated January 1, 1973, from Copenhagen, was forwarded to me at the National Bahá'í Center. He continues relating events from his European sojourn:

On this particular day I send you my love and assurance of ardent supplications. I pray that every day will be adorned with great devotional servitude to His great Cause.

I remained almost three months in England where I regularly received your very beautiful cards and the most precious spiritual messages every word of which sat deep in my heart and brought comfort to me. Because of such tender love, I am on the move again.

It is now two weeks that I have left London for the Continent. Holland and Denmark made me very happy. The friends are united and very active. There are new faces, new Bahá'í Centers and groups and above all a new spirit of devotion and dedication.

The mysterious forces of the Cause operate in all tender hearts and ready souls. A man who had dreamt of the Master fourteen years ago now sees the portrait and immediately accepts.

A young man who came to possess a house by inheritance offered the top story with all the furniture, large hall, etc., to be used as a Bahá'í Center of one of the towns.

I mean such tokens of devotion, attraction to the Cause and sacrificial services demonstrate that humanity is marching and advancing towards the source of light, love and eternal life. I am sure that you have the same experiences in your part of the world.

The beloved friends should know that the Bahá'í Faith is the Faith of moderation, joy and hope. You read the books about the world situation and you find all sad, despondent and gloomy picture of the future. But in the Faith, we have the most beautiful panorama of what is in store for us. The West will fall in love with the East. From all parts of the world we will hear the cry of `Yes, my Lord, I am coming.' This handful of dust will become the mirror of the Kingdom of God. All problems and unsurmountable difficulties will be solved by the divine love and divine ways of consultation.

It is a beautiful day in which we live and we witness the first rays of the sun of unity penetrating the clouds. Ere long the sunshine of the oneness will cover all parts of the world. Then no voice will be raised to heavens except in the praise of this Glorious Cause.

The next note was dated March 7, 1973, during the Fast. It is a short note, but as always, full of love and his tender spirit:

In these beautiful days, every hour of which is blessed with special potency and the best moments are given to His lovers, more than any other day, I think of and pray for my dear ones, and wish them the best in these days and in the coming Naw-Rúz and Ridván.

I need your prayers too, because by the last week of April I will start a long tour which will take me to the Conference in Hawaii and then to Canada and Europe. I dread the failure because of my poor health. I start this trip totally depending upon the prayers of my dear ones and I feel sure that they will not fail me.

Ar Ridván 1973, he writes:

It had been indeed very kind of both of you to have sent such a loving message to me which I received at the most opportune time. Every word sat deep in my heart and the whole loving letter seemed to be the fresh breeze of the early mornings in the spring season of Shiráz. Lest I would be entangled with the many tasks ahead, I would like to send you this note, though hurriedly written... .1 am extremely happy that you are at this work: The teaching.

To be there or not is not in my hands. I cannot and will never say, `I would like to be here or there.' The administrative order must suggest and the Universal House of Justice must decree. I hope that which is the desire of God will be manifested.

Have you heard the tape I sent about the Book of Aqdas? I do not know what is the reactions or response of the friends.

From Haifa, July 14, 1973:

It is long since I wrote to you last; but both of you are always in my heart and prayers. The reasons of this delay is the spiritual storm of the International Convention, the waves of which are still covering us. I struggle against the heaps of things that I must do day by day and get ready for a short tour of about four months in Europe. I hope that you understanding and also feel the warmth of my feelings and my prayers.

November 22, 1973:

It is long since I wrote you last. The reason was not that I forgot you and your dear husband. You are always in my heart, thoughts and particularly prayers.

During the last months I was busy finishing three manuscripts which, I hope, when published will make the believers happy. They will be published in India, and I hope soon.

You need not be worried about us here. The servants of His Threshold regularly attend to their work. Not even a minute delay occurred in our meetings. The Universal House of Justice prays for all mankind. We hope that soon man will emerge from the age of childhood and enter the stage of maturity when man will see the whole world as one unit, all leaves of one branch and fruits of one tree.

January 10, 1974:

Dearly loved friends, you are very busy and you do not realize that you have left me uninformed for a very long time. But my prayers for both of you are continued. I hope that your silence is only due to the fact that you are over occupied in that very active Center.

The beloved friends will become very happy when they receive the Five Year Plan of the Universal House of Justice. Young and old will find in it great and important roles to play. We supplicate that all will avail themselves of these God-given opportunities.

Please tell me how you are. Prayerfully, Faizí.

Then on January 29, 1974, he writes:

Now I need your prayers more than ever before. Within three months I must start a tour which will take me to South and Central America, California, Hawaii, Canada and Europe. I need much prayer. I am afraid that my health will not allow me to render the services the friends expect [of] me. how I long to reach Wilmette and meet you, but in South America I will think of you very much. How much more in Central America where I first met you.

Please tell me if you have seen the following pamphlets published by the Indian Trust: Flame of Fire, Wonder Lamp, Symbol of the Greatest Name, Narcissus to `Accá, [and] Our Precious Trusts. These are my pamphlets published in India. I wanted very much to send you and other friends copies.

12 Bahá131 (April 1, 1974):

Many thanks for your inspiring letter and consoling words. I need every ounce of such spiritual tonic. The way is too long and my health is not dependable. I go the same road of 1963 when I met you in that small office of yours where our friendship started and you became my daughter. I have to go the same path with less energy and more hope. But I know what miracles prayer can perform! I will reach U.S. but only California. Then Hawaii and afterwards Canada.

Today I had a letter from Japan. They tell me that there is a new spirit in the country. At least one enrollment every day, and what precious souls! It is after the release of the Five Year Plan. It has started its miraculous effects even before being read to the friends.

We will have wonderful years ahead of us when we will see the glory, the quick advancement and the profound foundation of our dear Cause.

The other day I received an article written in the University Magazine of Bombay. A student asked the professor of English Literature who are the best prose writers of the 20th century. The professor sighs and says, `You do not know him. The world does not know him yet. He is the writer of God Passes By. Such statements are the first signs of the glorious day of recognition. All must hand in hand try to advance the Dawn of this very wonderful Day of God.

At this time the staff at the National Bahá'í Center in Wilmette was working hard in preparation for the St. Louis Conference to launch of the Five Year Plan in the United States. One day while at my desk at the National Center, I received a telephone call from Mr Faizí who was in California and who told me that he would be in Toronto, close to Wilmette, was thinking of stopping by for a short visit and asked whether I arrange to get him a hotel room. When he arrived in Wilmette, he called me to invite me for tea at the hotel coffee shop. We spent about two hours conversing. During the conversation, I asked him whether he would be able to join us in St. Louis for the conference. He said that he could not do anything without the express wish of the Universal House of Justice, and that since beloved Rúhiyyih Khánum was representing the World Centre, he felt it would be improper of him to go without the invitation of the House of Justice.

When I returned to the office, I spoke to Charlotte Linfoot, a member of the National Spiritual Assembly, and told her about Mr. Faizí's comments in response to my question about his attending the St. Louis Conference. She then arranged for a cable to be sent to the Universal House of Justice, requesting Mr. Faizí's presence at the conference. A response was received almost immediately from the House of Justice, with a request that Mr. Faizí attend the Conference in St. Louis.

The Conference was blessed with the presence of five Hands of the Cause: Rúhíyyih Khánum, Zikru'lláh Khadem, John Robarts , William Sears, and beloved Mr. Faizí. However he was tired and weak from his arduous travels. During one of the programs while sitting on the stage with his fellow-Hands, he became faint and had to leave to lie down back stage. His. recuperative powers were, however remarkable, because later that evening I visited with him at his hotel, and although still weak, he was feeling much better.

At one point I asked him how he managed to keep up with his overwhelming and vast correspondence with the friends all over the world. He told me that the beloved Guardian was his example, that Shoghi Effendi answered (or had someone answer on his behalf) every letter he received and that he, Mr. Faizí, could do no less. He also presented me with a most beautiful amethyst stone which I treasure to this day. (I later had the Greatest Name engraved on it and wear it on a chain around my neck.).

The next letter was from Haifa dated February 1975. Ricardo and I had recently returned from service at the National Center in Wilmette and were again in California. Mr. Faizí writes:

Enclosed you will find the beautiful portrait of the Greatest Leaf painted by Mr. M. Ahdiyyih. When you come on pilgrimage in June you will meet him at the door of the Shrines where he and his wife serve. I wait some more months for your arrival. I believe I will be here.

It is very kind of your dear husband to have accepted my humble gift with so much love and grace. (He had sent through Wendy Ayoub a lovely wallet for Ricardo.) Please pray for me. I am like a motor car which must be taken to a garage for all sorts of repairs and adjustments.

May 26, 1975, from Haifa:

I have only about one month before starting for the nine summer schools of Europe. I have to finish a long pamphlet in Persian about the Covenant of God in all ages. I have fifty pages ready, but still thirty pages should be finished. At such moments the receipt of your message with so much love and encouraging words worked on me as a true spiritual tonic. Thank you very much. You are always in my prayers and hope your desire to serve Bahá'u'lláh in a wider field will be fulfilled.

Tomorrow night we commemorate the passing of Bahá'u'lláh in Bahjí. Your dear names are already on the list. I remember you there and will have special prayers for you. I hope that you will feel the warmth with which I supplicate in your very dear names. Be sure that He will assist you in every line of teaching.

In late 1975, although still in California, we moved to Santa Monica near Los Angeles. Mr. Faizí wrote to us on August 9, 1976, from Haifa:

I am in the midst of preparation for a long tour in the Pacific. The excitement is simply too much. New Zealand is the aim where I should represent the Supreme Body. It is too much for my health, but I feel absolutely sure that the Concourse on High will keep me on the straight path. More than twenty deepening lessons are being prepared which will be used in the many islands of the Pacific.
The news of the ill health of your dear husband broke my heart. He is surrounded by many prayers.

Have you heard the news of the Paris Conference? The news is simply awe inspiring. More than 6,000 friends had been gathered. World dignitaries had sent messages. The details will be announced and the beloved friends will be active more than ever.

This is indeed the Day when the beloved ones of God must decide to add to the amount of time, money and energy to be contributed for the advancement of the Cause which is the sole and only shelter for mankind facing dangers from six sides.

The next letter was dated September 19, 1977:

Your dear letter reached me today. It brought me much joy and assurance that I am not forgotten by my dear ones. Your epistle, though short, brought me much joy:
(1) Your near future pilgrimage and (2) dear Ricardo is well and can cooperate with you in all your valuable services to the Cause which both of you love so dearly, support so valiantly and uphold with all your God given talents, powers and prowess.

This is the greatest of all the bounties of God. Everything in this transient life is doomed to vanish except the humble efforts which we exert with the sole aim and purpose of elevating the beloved Faith that we have embraced. This is eternal. This will be our passwords to the presence of our beloved Master. I feel sure and certain that both of you cooperate firmly together in the various fields where the Faith of God is propagated. I pray for you and I hope that you will enjoy good health and prosperity.

Please be so kind to convey my love to the friends whom I miss. I long to see them; but I must gratify this desire by having them in my heart, praying for them and receiving their wonderful news. With much thrill I await your arrival to the Holy Land. Most lovingly, Faizí.

In February 1978, Ricardo and I were at last able to go on pilgrimage to the World Centre where we joyfully spent some brief moments with beloved Faizí. Those days for each pilgrim are so special and filled with so much joy and exaltation of the spirit, yet I remember that each time I saw Mr. Faizí, there was such an aura around him; he radiated such light that I felt that I was really in the presence of a saint. He obviously was not well then, but each time he came to the Pilgrim House, he attracted the friends as moths to flame. He would be sitting quietly speaking to someone, and suddenly, he would be surrounded by the other friends who were irresistibly drawn to him. I remember an evening at the Pilgrim House when one of the members of the Universal House of Justice was speaking to the friends (I believe it was Alí Nakhjavaní), Mr. Faizí walked in. Immediately Mr. Nakhjavaní relinquished his seat to Mr. Faizí and asked him to take his place and talk to the friends. I had a few moments alone with Mr. Faizí, but was content to be in his presence and be surrounded by his loving kindness.

Back home after our glorious pilgrimage, the following letter was received:

      Fasting Days 134 [postmarked March 5, 1978]:

My very precious friends. It is one week since you departed, but I still have the perfume of your presence and feel the loving care of both of you. Though the weather has become milder, I can't separate the pull-over you gave me. This is particularly true when I am at my desk to write. It keeps me warm, gives special vigor to my aching heart and sustains my fingers to go on and on.

Now it is the season of love. Bahá'u'lláh has given us abundant share of His love; therefore we must always immerse in the oceans of love. `Abdu'l-Bahá says that if the friends do not have a share of this love, [they] will have no share of Bahá. It is indeed the remedy of all our ailments and the strongest sustainer of the human temple.

The beautiful days between Naw-Rúz and Ridván are so glorious that one feels resuscitated. That is the main reason that I write to you during these most refreshing hours of the year.

At Naw-Rúz, the sun rises in its vernal equinox and at Ridván, the Sun of Truth rises with all divine splendour. How deeply we must be happy and grateful! In the world, the great majority of which do not desire to open their eyes to behold the majesty of the Sun of Truth, God, in His supreme love, has allowed us to behold the beauty of His Supreme Manifestation! This indeed is the most bountiful gift which we have received from our Creator. Thus we must try to awaken others, help them to open their eyes and invite them to enter the pavilion of His glory and mercy. What a wonderful duty given to us by our Lord!

Whenever I pass by the surrounding areas of the Shrines, I invariably remember my dear ones and supplicate the Lord to keep you all safe and sound, confirmed with unprecedented blessings, empower you to utter words which will quicken the human souls, to grant you that attraction which will draw many lost souls nigh to their Creator and bless both of you with infinite love which you can share with many.

The warmth of your love, tender affections and your deep faith in our Lord, give me the supreme hope that you will convert the lives of many!

How I long to visit the shape where the Supreme Name is its destination. [Mr. Faizí had gifted me with a pin with a rendering of the Greatest Name.]

I would like to be near both of you and accompanied by you go and visit our dear and mutual friends such as Wendy Ayoub. Have you given her my love and sincere salutations? Have you any news from our dear Beth McKinty? I hope and pray that she is in the best of health and serves the Cause she loves so tenderly. With all her charm and dynamic love.

You are always (I mean all of you) with me, present in my prayers, near me in the precincts of the Shrines, so much so that I often feel the touch of your hands on my shoulder, pushing me to go on, though the burden is too heavy!

As to my writings, I continue despite all the impediments. Here is the most needed help: Your heartfelt prayers! As to sending parts and parcels of the manuscript, this is a problem which needs much thought. I do not very much trust the postage. Because I write the stories by pen, I have no extra copy. I mean that I have only one copy and if a part of it is lost I will be in trouble. At present I pour out and write the chapters as quickly as my fingers can perform. When I polish the whole manuscript and get it ready, I will think this over and will write to you and Beth. Meanwhile I wish you all the best.

There was no letter from Mr. Faizí for almost a year, then one dated February 28, 1979, arrived:

Many heartfelt thanks for your beautiful letter, every word of which sat deep in my heart. How very kind indeed of both of you to remember the one who loves you and will never forget you.

Last year was a full-time teaching tour for me. After that year I had not yet been permitted to make another trip. My health is somewhat jeopardized, hence no more outings.

Here I am often at home preparing pamphlets, books, etc. I hope and pray that in the future you will receive and read them. But the most important token of my love for my precious friends is the prayer which I offer in their dear names. I love you as ever and I pray that you enjoy health, comfort and opportunities to serve the Cause which you love so much.

Undated, but postmarked March 6, 1979:

The Feast of Naw-Rúz is fast approaching and I think of my dear ones and wish each and all a season full of the spirit of the spring season. I hope and pray that you are happy and busy in the teaching in which your heart is always happy and joyful.

As mankind is day by day going deeper and deeper into all devilish acts of making more brutal battles and wars, we must prepare more plans to save mankind from the cruel clutches of circumstances. The promises of the Master and the Guardian are very plain. As man is encircled by all satanic armaments of killing and destruction, he will be at the same time hastening to find shelter only in the mercy of God. This is a ripe situation for the friends to convey to the thirsty souls the life giving message of Bahá'u'lláh.

When the beloved Guardian started to acquaint the pilgrims with the depths of man's misery in the midst of wars when the cities will be on fire, some of the listeners became victims of sorrow. At this moment the Guardian would usually say, `I would like you to be happy.' When the world reaches the very depths of miseries of wars, etc., man will open his eyes to the horizon full of the effulgence of the new Day when they will agree to stop the devilish wars. We, as Bahá'ís must be more than ever before ready to spread the message. This is the time for every adherent to open his or her mouth and refresh the minds of the contacts with the glad tidings.

From a letter dated August 29, 1979:

I feel much better than in the months ago. I seemed to be exhausted. I could not endure being at my desk. After every hour I had to go to my bed and rest for fifteen minutes. I feel much better than the past months and I feel very grateful for your devotional supplications which seem to cover me and helped me to get rid of the fatigue and pain in my back, ankles and the exhaustion which was the most painful. Words fail me to express my thanks and gratitude to you and other friends who remember me in their supplications. Well done, my sweet and beautiful co-worker.

You will be glad to know that Bahá'u'lláh has already compensated me. Years ago I translated one of the very beautiful books written by one of the disciples of the beloved Master. The greatest part of his life he had been in the worst prisons of the world. In the end of his life, the beloved Master wanted him to live in Haifa. While in His presence, he complained abut the pain in his eyes. `Abdu'l-Bahá advised him to write every day some accounts of his life. He did so and gradually this book was finished. I hope and pray that the American publications will have this book at the disposal of the beloved friends of the world.

The book to which he refers is Stories from the Delight of Hearts (Kalimat Press, 1980), which is a translation by Mr. Faizí of Hájí Mírzá Haydar-`Alí's memoirs.

      The last written communication I received from my dear friend and helper was a short note postmarked Haifa, August 3, 1980, a few short months before his precious self was transported to the Abhá Kingdom. (It must be noted that the results of his illness were apparent in his handwriting. It must have been very difficult for him to use the pen at that time.):

Your dear letter, after a very long time, reached me, gladdened my heart, gave me assurance of your safe and sound condition and your services to the Cause you adore with all your heart and soul. Well done! Bravo! Keep on and yours will be the immeasurable bounties of Bahá'u'lláh. I continue praying for you and your near ones. I am yours ever in His love. Faizí.
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