The baha’i world


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CENvRAL AMERICA 

 

“Immediately after the Convention, Mathew Kaszab left for Panama, where he initiated the Bahá’i work which is being 



carried on there. This first pioneer brought in the first resident believer, Joseph Mantuk, whose acceptance marks the 

birth of the Cause in this country to which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has attributed paramount importance in the Divine Plan.  

“A radio broadcast was given by Mathew over the Star and Herald Radio Theatre on the occasion of the Twenty-fifth 

Anniversary of the opening of the Canal. The subject was Spiritual Changes for Panama. A second broadcast and 

lectures followed. Also, his essay quoting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, written in the form of an open letter to the Editor, appeared in 

one of the principal papers. The approach and style made a model bit of publicity. His lectures were before the 

Theosophical Society and the Training School he attended.  

“In October, just before Mathew went on to Nicaragua, Mrs. Louise Caswell and Mrs. Cora Hitt Oliver, the first 

resident teachers and the second pioneers, arrived. John Eichenauer was present, and with Joseph, the first declared 

Bahá’i, the five shared a historic moment.  

“By taking courses at the University, Mrs. Caswell and Mrs. Oliver have met many persons of liberal outlook and 

capacity to understand the New World Order. Some of those who are interested in the Teachings are professors at the 

University, or teachers in the schools of the Canal Zone. A lecture on the Temple with illustrated slides was presented 

at the University. Other lectures have been given before the Jamaican Women Life’s Problems Club, the Army and 

Navy 

 

CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES 



 

35 


 

Y.M.C.A. Articles appeared in The Tribune, the Star and Herald, the Panama American. The President of the Republic 

gave them a cordial interview and welcome. In every way the work in Panama is promising a great future.  

El Salvador:  

“John Eichenauer, Jr., is our youngest pioneer, chosen for the post of San Salvador, El Salvador,—and his appointment 

was ratified by the Guardian. Coming from Phoenix, Arizona, by way of Panama, he gave the Teachings and leaflets to 


other travelers, who inquired the purpose of his journey. At present he is at school in San Salvador with other boys of 

his own age.  

“John has been joined by his relative, Clarence Iverson, a young man also from Phoenix. This modern ‘troubadour of 

God’ went on the economy plan with his own motor—strapped, at times, to the freight car  

—while he played the accordion and accepted gratuities from the crowd.  

“Both lads have been granted considerable pubhcity by the press, which seems to have found in the Cause a definite 

news value. The earnest ones among the many who have heard the Message are forming a study group, which the boys 

will carry on towards complete acceptance of the Faith.  

“In the latter part of February, Mrs. Lorol Schopflocher and Mr. Gerrard Sluter visited San Salvador, and the former 

sent a glowing account of the work and spirit of our youthful pioneers.  



Honduras:  

“The first pioneer teacher to this country is Mr. Antonio Roca from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He traveled by way of 

Mexico, stopping at Bahã’i Headquarters there. Now this teacher is settled in the beautiful city of Tegucigalpa, 

Honduras, where, through his untiring zeal eight believers have signed the Spanish registration cards. Without doubt, 

an Assembly will be formed soon.  

“Among those who are supporting his efforts is the distinguished poetess, Angela Ochoa Velasquez, who wrote a 

telling article for the local press on the beauty and nobility of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh. With the insight of the true 

mystic, the poetess has 

 

grasped the significance of the Message and made testimony as praise.  



Guatemala:  

“Guatemala City, reached through a panorama of wild beauty, is the seat of the Bahâ’i labors of Gerrard Sluter from Toronto, Canada. 

He has had unprecedented obstacles to overcome both in the field of his teaching and in the barbed wire restrictions that surround 

aliens searching for employment.  

“Notwithstanding, Mr. Sluter has taught the requisite number of informed believers for an Assembly, and even wrested from the 

Government a permit to take employment. In February and March, Mrs. Lorol Schopflocher spent some days there, lending her zeal to 

the sustained endeavor of our pioneer.  

“To the Theosophical Society we are indebted for the hospitality shown to Mr. Sluter in the use of their platform. The Theosophical 

journal ‘Simiente’ has published articles on the Bahá’i Principles and Faith.  

Nicaragua:  

“Mathew Kaszab has been sent to Nicaragua, the most backward and unhealthy country in Central America. Yet cheerfully he left 

Panama and arrived at Managua, which he described as a land of grinning monkeys, 

— 

the people are illiterate, unclothed and 



unhealthy. Mathew made his way across the narrow isthmus to Bluefields, near his birthplace, only to wander over a field of stones 

and mud; for an earthquake had destroyed the banana plantation, once belonging to his family.  

“Amid this unhappy people, Mathew has found a scarce audience to listen to his continued recital of the principles of the great and 

New World Order; but, at the least, the daily sacrifice which he is offering to Baha’u’llah will not be forgotten.  



Costa Rica:  

“Mrs. Amelia Ford of Berkeley, California, a lady born in Mexico, responded to the Guardian’s call for pioneers. She has the priceless 

gift to offer of an intimate and profound knowledge of Spanish—her native tongue—and has proved already her usefulness with the 

translations. 

 

36 

 

THE BAHA’i WORLD 



 

“Capable Mrs. Gayle Woolson of St. Paul, Minnesota, has offered herself for life in foreign lands, and, with Mrs. 

Amelia Ford is leaving for settlement in Costa Rica. At this moment they are en route for San Jose, where, together 

they will fill the last required quota of the Guardian’s Central America campaign.  



Jamaica, British West Indies:  

“Although the English Colonies are closed to American citizens on account of the war, still we had the privilege of 

entering Jamaica through the re-entry of Mr. and Mrs. John Shaw, who are natives of this island. They left their home 

in San Francisco witb the love and admiration of the Community and the visiting Bahá’is, who had known them 

actively during their years on the Pacific Coast.  

“They write that the island is sadly in need of the Teachings, and that they are working daily to bring the truth to the 

people of many races that are gathered in Kingston and its neighborhood. We hope for the increase of the small yet 

earnest study group which they are holding at intervals.  



Cu ha:  

“Havana, so directly in the line of both Mexican and Central American steamers, has had many Bahá’i visitors from 

time to time; however, Mr. and Mrs. Philip Marangella are the first resident pioneers. They are working towards the 

realization of a study group; and we are watching the post for their recent news.  



Republic of Domingo:  

“Miss Margaret Lentz, who gave a long term of devoted service at the International Bahá’i Bureau in Geneva, 

Switzerland, asked to go to one of the republics, where she could teach among both Negro and white folk. Accordingly, 


she was given an appointment to San Domingo, where she is settled in Cuidad Trujillo.  

“Margaret has entered into her new life with a true pioneer’s spirit, and has found among those to whom she has spoken 

one who has made complete acceptance with an enthusiasm to match her own. Señora Maria Teresa Martin, the first 

believer, is celebrating the Feast Days with Margaret, 

 

and striving with her towards the future activities of Bahá’i teaching. Already these co-workers are planning a Bahá’i School to 



instruct some of the many illiterate natives.  

Puerto Rico:  

“Mrs. Katharine Disdier has already taught school in Puerto Rico, and now, in order to take part in the present campaign, she has 

applied for a post there during the coming season. Rouhieh Musette Jones has applied for a similar position. Together these staunch 

believers will be in close contact with children and their parents, and have thereby, opportunity for spreading the Bahá’i Teachings in 

a most unique way.  

Trinidad:  

“At Port of Spain we have a friend to remember, Miss Anne Murdock, who is in the office of the Pan-American Airways. She is 

reading the Bahá’$ literature and has offered to work for the Faith in every possible way. Thus, even here, where we may not visit, tbe 

Bahá’i Spirit is kept alive.  



THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS  

“For more than two years, Señor Felix Maddela, leader of a large group of people in a small island, has been corresponding with us. 

Although their knowledge is slight, Spanish literature scarce and the distance great, yet their enthusiasm for the Cause parallels all 

difficulties. They have evolved their slogan: “The Bahá’i Faith is renewing the life of a dead world.” Only a few pamphlets have 

reached them, which they read and reread. And they wear an emblem on their coats!  

“When the Spanish registration cards reached them, they were filled out to the number of seventeen, with members of the Spiritual 

Assembly differentiated from the Community. Their plea for paper with letterheads for use in writing to interested students thoughout 

the Islands has been answered by the Chairman.  

“It is our earnest hope that opportunity will bring this group a teacher before long. These Islands so dominated by the Church, so 

geographically remote, yet have evinced a spirit of search after truth, an eagerness to be united to the New World Order that should be 

a lesson to every believer. 

 

CURRENT BAHA’i ACTIVITIES 



 

37 

 

Urn gitay: 

 

SOUTH AMERICA 

 

“Late in the summer Wilf rid Barton set out for South America, and finding that Ivan Fillipac, a member of the New York 



Community, is steward on the S. S. Arabic, he sailed on that ship. Upon their arrival at the port of Santos, Brazil, they were met by 

Mr. and Mrs. Roy Worley of Rio de Janeiro, and Leonora Holsapple, the earliest of Bahá’i settlers. She had come from Bahia for this 

celebration of the Nineteen Day Feast of ‘Ilm.  

“Since then, Mr. Barton has been teaching in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Inasmuch as the former group is by far the most 

advanced, he is settled in Montevideo, where Mr. Simon Rosenzweiz has valiantly championed the Cause.  

Argentina:  

“Throughout all reports on South America, the name and service of Mrs. Frances Benedict Stewart persists. The friends in South 

America are overjoyed at the news that she will return to them. In Buenos Aires, the group she founded have continued their studies 

unceasingly under the direction of Señor Salvador Tormo. An index of his thought and culture is the essay which was published in 



World Order Magazine 

for March, 1940. Great expectations from the entire Bahá’i world attend the labors for the Cause put forth 

in Argentine. On this third voyage which Mrs. Stewart will undertake, she will visit Central as well as South America, carrying 

forward the mission which Shoghi Effendi has described as ‘the most outstanding teaching service.’  

“To Chile, where Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Laws of Seattle, Washington, will go to make their home, a bounty was given: 

it 

was to 


Chile that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sent the only Tablet posted directly to South America. From this circumstance we ascribe the importance of 

Chile in the Divine Plan.  

“All of us are grateful to Señora Espinosa, who followed Mrs. Stewart to the Argentine to understand more of the Bahá’i Teachings, 

then returned to Santiago, where she has kept alive the faith of the group taught by Mrs. Stewart. 

 

Venezuela:  

“Good news comes from the New York Assembly that Miss Priscilla Rhoads has accepted a two year position with a South American 

family to look after their young child. This means we have an isolated believer in Miranda.  

“With the arrival of the Salas, there will be a foundation for the Community of the future. In an exemplary manner, Mr. and Mrs. 

Emeric Sala have been arranging their affairs in order to go out to Venezuela as settlers. Not in any way daunted by the refusal of the 

authorities to enter Colombia and engage in business there, they have persisted in their determination to make their way in the pioneer 

area, serving in both a material and spiritual way.  

Ecuador:  

“Mr. John Stearns is journeying, at present, towards Ecuador. He will take up his residence in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and the 

oldest city of South America. His grasp of the Faith and treatment of Bahá’i responsibility in this country leads us to hopes of great 


accomplishment.  

Brazil:  

“Miss Leonora Holsapple has been able to leave her home in Bahia, Brazil, to visit two cities, Maceio and Pern4mbuco, for a first 

approach to the Cause. Her gift to the Cause is the revised translation and publication of the Portuguese 

Bahd’u’lldh and the New 

Era, 

which she placed in seven book- shops, carrying them to Santos and Santa Paula besides.”  

NORTH AMERICA TEACHING  

193 8-1939  

“The first two-year period of the Seven Year Plan now drawing to a close, marks the happy conclusion of the initial step of the 

campaign to establish the Faith in each of the states of the United States, the provinces of Canada and the republics of Central and 

South America. The new hope and goal now set for the American Bahá’i by the beloved Guardian is the Advent of Divine Justice 

which can come only through the spiritualization of the believers themselves and the diffusion of the Divine Teachings throughout the 

world. 

 

38 



 

THE BAHA’I WORLD 

 

The Bahá’i Exhibit at the Wisconsin State Fair of 1939 showing prominently displayed. 



 

“The first year of this stupendous campaign was marked both by a general deepening in our consciousness of the great 

responsibility devolving upon us, and the beginning of the movement of Bahá’i pioneers into new areas.  

“The second year has been marked by a vigorous translation of this appreciation of increasing responsibility into 

action—action on the part of each and every individual, action on the part of Bahã’i Groups, and action on the part of 

all Assemblies. Under this wave of renewed activity, the Faith has surged forward on all fronts, and in no case was 

there any recession. The doors of Guidance have opened wider than ever before and the confirmations from on High 

have often been well nigh staggering. Every individual, every Group and every Assembly has testified to the manner in 

which divine blessings have descended on every effort, no matter how small. No wonder the Guardian in a recent 

message stated: ‘Let the doubter arise and himself verify the truth of such assertions.’  

“This new surge of service, which was marked both by the gallant attack against the forces of darkness and a more 

rounded- out presentation of Bahá’i standards, expressed itself in three directions:—.  

“First, there was the consolidation of the 

 

pioneer work started in the first year of the Seven Year Plan, and the extension of this work into the remaining virgin areas, new 



Groups and Assemblies themselves assuming much of the responsibility of spreading the Message to other parts of their regions.  

“Second, there was the intensification of extension work by the Assemblies. Almost every Assembly found that its efforts to introduce 

the Faith into adjacent cities and even virgin areas met with unexpected success. It has been abundantly demonstrated that this field of 

service is the means of the steady growth of the Assemblies themselves and causes them to become power houses of spiritual energy 

in ever- enlarging spheres.  

“Third, there was the recent dynamic call of the Guardian for prompt settlement of the remaining states and provinces of North 

America. The immediate response of forty- four intrepid volunteers to fulfill the divine command indicates the manner in which the 

friends are arising to the pioneer spirit of the Faith. Three of the areas were immediately settled; Alaska, Nevada and Vermont. At this 

time the National Teaching Committee is in correspondence with all these selfless souls and it is expected that by Convention time, 

arrangements will have been made for the settlement of every state in 

 



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the Temple model 

 


 

 

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CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES 

 

39 


 

the United States and every province of Canada.  



PIONEER TEACHING  

“At this early stage in the unfoldment of Bahá’u’lláh’s all-encompassing World Order, the greatest need is for pioneer teachers. 

Indeed, the whole spirit of the Faith today is a pioneer spirit, and its fields of opportunity are for the most part virgin ones. As Shoghi 

Effendi has recently pointed out, the measures and plans devised ‘can never yield any satisfactory results unless a sufficient number of 

pioneers have determined to make the necessary sacrifices, and to volunteer to carry these projects into effect.’  

“During the last two years the attention of the American community has been increasingly focussed upon this requirement, but only in 

the months just past have we come face to face with the overwhelming fact that not until the initial stage of the Seven Year Plan has 

been accomplished, ‘involving as it does the formation of at least one nucleus in each of these virgin states and provinces in the North 

American continent,’ shall we be prepared and released for the far more difficult stages of advance into Central and South America. 

That we face in all earnestness a crisis in our affairs is the inescapable conclusion based on knowledge that these Southern regions 

‘embrace no less than twenty independent nations, constituting approximately one-third of the entire number of the world’s sovereign 

states. 


. .  

“The National Teaching Committee would remind the friends that every one may share in the pioneering to which our lives must 

henceforth be consecrated. In 

‘The Advent of Divine Justice’ 

the Guardian explains that this privilege and responsibility may be 

carried out in four ways:  

“First, by settlement in new areas (and this teaching by settlement in indubitably the most fruitful course) ; second, by travel in 

unsettled parts; third, deputies may be sent; and fourth, through contributions to the general fund after the example of our Guardian 

who has placed ‘at the disposal of any pioneer willing to dedicate himself to the task of the present hour such modest resources as 

would facilitate the discharge of so enviable a duty.’ 

 

“It will be remembered that the first of our seven years called forth forty-eight Bahã’i pioneers, twenty of whom chose 



the settlement plan. This year, in addition to the many whose work has continued, there have been fifteen new settlers 

and nineteen traveling pioneers.  

“The state of Texas has again this year drawn more Bahá’i settlers. Mr. and Mrs. Ward Calhoon moved to Houston, and 

with the aid of Mrs. Kathryn Frankland and Mr.  

A. Kluss, are conducting a study class of nineteen students. Two members have already enrolled as believers and 

intensive fireside meetings are preparing others for the important step.  

“Miss Myriam Grabler has settled in El Paso, Texas, where she is carrying on without the aid of any other believer.  

“Mrs. Lorrol 0. Jackson, of Seattle, who last year aided the isolated believers of Helena, Montana, has moved to 

another city in that state and is diligently cooperating with the believers there in developing a study class in Butte.  

“West Virginia became the home of Mr. Harold Hunt, of Washington, D. C., and of Mrs. Orcella Rexford and Dr. 

Gayne V. Gregory for several months. Many new contacts were made for the Faith but unfortunately none of these 

friends was able to remain in the state until these contacts could be developed into Bahá’i students.  

“Nevada is now the home of Miss Helen Griffing whose arrival in Reno as a permanent resident followed closely upon 

a ten- day teaching trip of Mrs. Mamie L. Seto to that city.  

“Arkansas has been the scene of much Bahá’i activity during the past year. Miss Rezsi Sunshine has established herself 

in business in Hot Springs and already one individual in that city considers herself a believer. Miss Sunshine pays 

regular weekly visits to Little Rock and in both cities many are studying the Bahá’i literature.  

“Pine Bluff, also in Arkansas, is now the home of Miss Lydia Martin who is carrying on intensive study classes for the 



students attracted to the Teachings through the work of Mr. Louis G. Gregory. Approximately twelve members of the 

group are about ready to enroll as believers. 

 

40 

 

THE BAHA’i WORLD 



 

“Vermont has become the home of Miss Neysa Grace Bissell, one of the first to respond to the Guardian’s call for pioneers. Some 

teaching work has been done in that state from time to time in the past and it is Miss Bissell’s objective to follow it through until the 

‘state is teeming with Bahá’is.’  

“The Khan family has settled temporarily in Newport, Rhode Island, where teaching opportunities are being constantly pursued.  

“Mrs. Olga Mills has recently moved from Florida to Tryon, North Carolina, where she is cooperating with the other isolated Bahá’is 

of the state in making new contacts for the Faith.  

“Those who have carried forward pioneer teaching work by extended or repeated visits are as follows:  

“Mrs. Dorothy Baker, Mrs. Ruth H.  

Brandt, Mr. Louis G. Gregory, Miss Nayan  

Hartfield, Miss Doris Lohse; Mrs. Loulie A.  

Mathews, Miss Maude Mickle, Mrs. Ruth  

Moffett, Mr. Harlan Ober, Mrs. Marguerite  

Reimer Sears, Mr. Charles Mason Remey,  

Mrs. Orcella Rexford, Mrs. Mamie L. Seto,  

Mrs. Gertrude Struven, Miss Virginia Taylor,  

Miss Louise Thompson, Miss Alta Wheeler,  

Mrs. Gayle Woolson, Mrs. Sylvia Matteson  

King.  

“Mr. Gregory has again given unique service in the South. Two months were spent in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where his teaching 



campaign was initiated by a ‘Religious Emphasis Week’ at the State College, the first time in the history of this country when such a 

week has been under the direction of Bahá’is.  

“Mrs. Ruth Moffett, in addition to her continuous work in the other central states, opened up the city of Independence, Iowa, where a 

flourishing study class has been in progress since early summer.  

“Mrs. Gayle Woolson assisted Mrs. Gertrude Struven in furthering the teaching work already started in Davenport, Iowa, and 

subsequently spent several weeks in Cedar Rapids where many new people have begun to study the Teachings.  

“Mrs. Sylvia Matteson King made two teaching trips to Winoipeg, Manitoba, where she found many receptive souls waiting for the 

Message. Various clubs freely offered 

 

their platforms and the newspapers gave generous space to publicity. Many are reading the Bahã’i books and several are already very 



near the Cause.  

“Miss Maude Mickle and Miss Alta Wheeler who spent the winter in South Carolina found many teaching opportunities among 

individuals in Columbia and other cities, while Miss Louise Thompson followed up the interest which had been established by 

previous travelers in Charleston. Mr. Charles Mason Remey, also, made a teaching trip through this state in February and March.  

“Miss Nayan Hartfield has carried on active teaching work in the state of Mississippi where she was established in her business for 

some months, and Mrs. Loulie A. Mathews gave unique assistance to Mrs. Marion Little in her work in Louisiana.  

“Miss Virginia Taylor has carried forward the teaching work initiated by Mrs. Grace Ober last year in Louisville, Kentucky, and 

further interest has been stimulated there by visits from Mrs. Dorothy Baker and Mr. Harlan Ober.  

“Mrs. Ruth H. Brandt spent several weeks in Boise, Idaho, with the Bahá’i Group there, and Miss Doris Lohse devoted three weeks 

last summer to teaching work in Wilmington, Delaware.  

“Many other teachers have made short trips into new states both to make new contacts and to assist with the work already under way.  

“While commending our pioneers, let us never minimize their task nor forget for a moment that their services are performed, as a rule, 

in regions whose spiritual darkness is only equalled by a material backwardness surely rooted in this very deprivation from the Word. 

‘The effort required is prodigious, the conditions under which these prehminary establishments are to be made are often unattractive 

and unfavorable, the workers who are in a position to undertake such tasks limited, and the resources they can command meagre and 

inadequate.’ Is it not plain, then, why every assistance at our command must be extended, why our prayers must continually center on 

these fields, and our faith pour out unfailingly to cheer and support our beloved friends? 

 

CURRENT BAHA’i ACTIVITIES 



 

41 


 

“Tbe year 1939 will ever be remembered in the record of pioneer teaching because of the Guardian’s cablegram of January 6th, 

bearing the fateful pronouncement that the ‘initial stage (in the) inaugurated Teaching Campaign (is) still untraversed,’ and calhng for 

‘nine holy souls who, independently or as deputies, will promptly, fearlessly volunteer (to) forsake (their) homes. 

. . .‘ 

‘Within ten days, 



projects for three of the nine areas were approved by the National Spiritual Assembly for three dauntless believers who, for some time, 

had been consulting with the Teaching Committee to this end. At this writing Miss Helen Griffin is already settled in Nevada and Miss 

Neysa Bissell in Vermont, while Miss Honor Kempton’s plans to enter Alaska wait only upon certain final arrangements. How 

speedily the confirmations encircled them (and we may all share their feelings), when on February 22nd the Guardian cabled this 

priceless reward:  


‘Heart flooded joyous gratitude realization American believers rising magnificently challenge unutterably precious hour. Convey 

Alaska, Nevada and Vermont pioneers immense appreciation (of) marvelous, instantaneous, exemplary response. Prayers continually 

accompany them.’  

“There have been forty-one other responses to Shoghi Effendi’s call, and negotiations are being pressed in the hope of a speedy climax 

to this initial task. Yet in our enthusiasm let us be constantly reminded that the settlement of one Bahá’i in every state and province is 

but the immediate goal. The real intention of the Seven Year Plan, enjoined alike upon isolated believers and Groups, is to establish 

Spiritual Assemblies, that every region of the United States and Canada may share in the benefits of the Administrative Order and be 

fully prepared, at the close of the first century, to push forward into vaster realms, as yet undisclosed, in the fulfillment of the Divine 

Plan.  



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