Macau Bahá'í Community in the Early Years
In October 1954 the second Macanese, Mr. Paul Kao declared.
One day in August 1954 Mrs. Heller was fishing at the breakwater and a young man, a foreigner, came by and asked her if she would teach him English. He was Mr. Manuel Ferreira, a Portuguese. Mrs. Heller had him read the English edition of "Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era" side by side with the Portuguese edition. In that way he studied English and also learned about the Faith. He declared his belief in Bahá'u'lláh October 25, 1954, the first Portuguese to become a Bahá'í in Macau.
Mrs. Heller left Macau to return to the United States November 4, 1954.
Gradually the number of declarations increased. The first enrollments were as follows:
Administratively, Macau was under the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and as people declared their belief in Bahá'u'lláh, their enrollment cards were sent to the Asia Teaching Committee of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States for approval.
Often the enrollment date was a month or so previous to the approval date by the Asia Teaching Committee. Sometimes the actual enrollment date was not registered.
After the National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia was elected (1957) all the declaration cards were sent to that administrative body.
None of the Macau believers was native born, and some apparently left the country soon after declaring their belief in Bahá'u'lláh. A large portion of the inhabitants of Macau was quite transient as Macau was considered a stepping stone to somewhere else. Enrollments increased but so did exits from the country.
Four Naw-Rúz Celebrations
A Naw-Rúz celebration on March 20, 1955 at 8 PM. There were twelve visitors and six Bahá'ís present in all. In this photograph, seated: Mr. Paul Kao, Mrs. Scherer, Miss Mary Tung (Shia), Mr. Wu, Mrs. Liu and Mr. Scherer. Standing: Mr. William Yang, Mr. Chu, Mr. Yim, Mrs. Chu, Mr. Wong, Mr. Wong, Mr. Tsang, and Dr. Liu.
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A Naw-Rúz celebration, March 21, 1956 at Mr. Scherer's residence. Seated: Mr. Scherer, Mrs. Chang, the Changs' son, Mrs. Liu, Miss D.M. Maclean (Vice British Consul to Macau), Mr. Paul Kao and Dr. Liu. Standing. Mr. John Chang, Mr. K.M. Wong, Mr. Anfang, Mr. William Yang, Mr. Min, Mr. Yim and Mrs. Scherer. There were eight guests and six Bahá'ís.
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Naw-Rúz 1959 at Mr. John Chang's residence. Eleven guests and eight Bahá'ís were present. Seated: Mr. Domingos Vilas, Mr. John Chang, the Chang's son, Mrs. Margaret Chang, Mrs. Pansi Yim, Mrs. Liu, Dr. Liu, and Mr. Joaquim Canhita. Standing: Mr. Ng, Mr. Amaral, Mr. Julio Mata, Mr. Jimmie Yuen, Mr. Chong, Mr. T.M. Wu, Mr. Yip, Mr. Harry Yim, Mr. Peter Chow, Dr. Lau and Mr. Liu. By this time there were no American pioneers in Macau but there were still several Bahá'ís attached to the Portuguese Army. Eventually they all left as their tour of duty finished.
Naw-Rúz celebration, 1960, held at Tao Tao Chu.