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Taiwan Bahá'í Chronicle:
An Historical Record of the Early Days of the Bahá'í Faith in Taiwan

by Barbara R. Sims

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Chapter 18

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18. Appointment of the National Administrative
Committee and Further Advances


In June 1965 a large committee called the National Administrative Committee was appointed for Taiwan. It would handle the activities of the Faith in Taiwan, which included taking charge of translations and publishing, planning teaching activities, planning a summer school, establishing a news bulletin and other duties. It was felt that Taiwan was far from Tokyo and as Taiwan would have its own National Assembly in a few years, such a committee would be very effective in handling the advancement of the Faith in that important area. The members were from among the most active Bahá'ís on the island. Similar administrative committees were appointed in Korea and Hong Kong a few years before their National Assemblies were elected.

During 1965 teaching seemed to pick up considerably. Many youth came into the Faith that summer. According to some of the reports received during the month of April there were ten youth and six adult enrollments; in May eleven youth and four adults; in June thirty-eight youth and thirty-nine adults; in July twenty-nine youth and thirty-five adults; in August twelve youth and twenty-eight adults. The pace kept up. From April 1965 to April 1966 enrollments reached more than four hundred; about half youth and half adults. There were still two Local Spiritual Assemblies, twenty-six groups, and thirteen isolated localities, a total of forty-one localities. Mr. John Huston and Mrs. Orpha Daugherty took the Faith to two indigenous tribes, the Ami and the Taroko, resulting in many declarations.

Part of this expansion was due to more pioneers such as Mr. Huston, who spoke Chinese, and Mr. Charles Duncan, who the previous year had been appointed Auxiliary Board Member by Hand of the Cause Miss Alexander. Mr. Duncan was a Knight of Bahá'u'lláh for first pioneering to Brunei in 1954. Auxiliary Board Member Orpha Daugherty, a pioneer to the Philippines, also came to Taiwan to help with the teaching. Mrs. Daugherty was a warm, caring person who pioneered successfully in several countries in Asia. It is recorded that she gave a talk at International House for the Naw-Rúz Celebration, with fifty people attending. It had been announced in the English-language newspaper. In July of that year Mr. G.V. Tehrani, pioneer to Japan, visited Taiwan for three weeks, going to seven different places for teaching.

Mrs. Abbie Maag moved to Taipei that year. Mr. and Mrs. Dale Enger pioneered in Taiwan 1963/1964; Dr. and Mrs. Sidney Dean 1966/1967; Mrs. Mehri Molin helped the community very much from 1968 on. There were also others. Mr. Duncan said the sudden expansion of the Faith could not have happened but for the willingness of the Chinese Bahá'ís to go with the pioneers and translate for them. The


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Chinese also learned more about teaching the Faith. Mr. Duncan left Taiwan in 1967 to pioneer to Korea.

Mr. Yankee Leong, the first Bahá'í in Malaysia, and Auxiliary Board Member Mr. Leong Tat Chee from Malaysia came to Taiwan in 1965. They could only stay two weeks due to visa problems. They were to come back in the future with great results.

In October 1965 Dr. Muhajir met with the National Administrative Committee and talked about teaching, deepening, gifts of books to schools, libraries and prisons, putting ads in the newspapers, and having correspondence courses. The committee made plans to go ahead with his ideas.



Mr. Yankee Leong, Miss Len Yuk Hua and Mr. Charles Duncan. Miss Len was a dancer belonging to the Ami tribe. She had just accepted the Faith. The photo was taken in Hualien, summer of 1966.


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Dr. Muhajir had suggested that the community have a two-day Regional Teaching Conference. It was held in December 1965 in Taipei with representatives from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Malaysia. About twenty-five people attended the sessions. According to a report sent by Mrs. Bernice Wood, who represented Hong Kong, Mr. Chu spoke about the Faith in China, Mr. John McHenry spoke about Korea and Mr. Tsao Kai-min gave a talk on religions in the Far East. The final evening was devoted to a public meeting. It was well advertised in English-language and Chinese-language newspapers. There were about fifty guests. Miss Wood said there was a Chinese man who had found a book about the Faith in a book shop but he didn't know how to contact the Bahá'ís until he read about the meeting in the newspaper. After hearing a moving (translated) talk by Mr. Marangella, the man, with tears in his eyes, wanted to declare his Faith immediately.

In October of that year a memorial service was held in Taipei for Mr. Jason Yeh (Yeh Chin-hsing), the first Bahá'í to die in Taiwan.

Mr. Duncan wrote an account of Mr. Yeh's illness in an Auxiliary Board Member report to Hand of the Cause Miss Alexander. With Mr. Duncan's permission we are repeating it here.

Mr. Duncan received a telephone call from Mrs. Liu, a non-Bahá'í friend of John Huston. Mr. Huston was not in town so she spoke to Mr. Duncan. She said she and her husband had a friend, Mr. Yeh, who had kidney cancer and was not expected to live more than a few weeks. He was worried about the condition of his soul after death. He had studied Christianity but thought it was too exclusive. He did not believe in the superstitions of Buddhism so Mrs. Liu told him about the Bahá'í Faith although she herself had not become a Bahá'í. Mr. Yeh wanted to know more about the Faith and that was why she had telephoned.

Mr. Duncan visited Mr. Yeh every day. On the second day Mr. Yeh signed his enrollment card. The next day his wife became a Bahá'í and two days later, his brother declared. Mr. Yeh's wife said to Mrs. Liu, "We have always been such good friends and have done everything together but now something is separating us. Why don't you become a Bahá'í?" The next day Mrs. Liu declared her Faith and started telling her friends about it.

Mr. Duncan said he often recited the long Healing Prayer for Mr. Yeh. Mr. Yeh was assured of life to come and although he had some fears about dying, he was greatly comforted. He died a few weeks later.
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