It was the last four months of the nine-year plan and I [Jenabe Caldwell] had just come out of India. As usual when I was anywhere near Israel, I would stop for a three day visit, go to the Shrines and thank Bahá’u’lláh for His blessings and beseech Him for my future protection.
When I entered the Pilgrim House, Hand of the Cause Dr Rahmatu'llah Muhajir was talking to Hand of the Cause Ali Akbar Furutan in the middle of the room. When Dr Muhajir saw me he motioned me to come to him.
He said, "Jenabe, you are now going to Germany."
"No, Dr Muhajir, I am not going to Germany." I replied, "I am going home to Alaksa. I have been out now for over six months and I am going home."
Hand of the Cause Dr Rahmatu'llah Muhajir went right on, "We are now down to the last 4 months of the nine year plan and Germany has not won any of its numerical goals of the plan. The only way they can possibly reach their goals is by mass teaching. You are a mass teacher so you are going to Germany."
Dr Muhajir then took out a note pad and wrote a telegram to the National Assembly of Germany, which he showed me. "Last opportunity to win goals nine year plan. Mass teaching, mass teacher Jenabe Caldwell arriving. Give every support. Dr Muhajir."
I remonstrated with him, "Dr Muhajir, I will need at least the three months to get my teachers and train them to do the teaching"
Undaunted he replied, "Bring your Alaskans. They are already trained."
"Dr Muhajir," I cried. "It will take a fortune to bring over the Alaskan Bahá’ís to Germany."
"Go to Hamburg," he calmly explained. "They will give you the money."
Still unconvinced, I responded, "Dr Muhajir if I go to Hamburg they won't even give me the time of day let alone their money."
"You go to Hamburg and they will give you the money," he insisted.
I went to Germany and I met with the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Germany. First they wanted to know what was the first step to be taken by them. I explained that the first step would be putting together a teaching team and we would need some German Bahá’ís willing to give three or four months to the teaching work.
I suggested the National Spiritual Assembly sit down together and draft a real love letter to every enrolled Bahá’í in Germany, requesting that they come for three or four months. I asked that divine institution to write the letter together, not to just give it to the secretary to write. I strongly felt that such a letter would require the inspiration promised by Bahá’u’lláh to that body in full consultation.
Their unanimous decision was that they would be wasting their stamps as they explained that they had great difficulty in getting the friends to come to a Saturday night pot luck.
I responded that I might not want to come to a pot luck, but might come for the spiritual conquest of Germany. They agreed to try it and I assured them that if no one came, I would go on by myself.
They then wanted to know how I planned to do the mass teaching in Germany. I told them that the only way I knew how to do it was to go out and meet the people and talk to them. They assured me that this approach in Germany would not work as people did not talk to strangers in Germany. I explained that I did not know of any other way to teach the Faith without talking to the people.
They then agreed (only because Hand of the Cause Dr Rahmatu'llah Muhajir had instructed them to support this effort) to let me try street teaching in Germany.
"All-praise and glory be to God Who, through the power of His might, hath delivered His creation from the nakedness of non-existence and clothed it with the mantle of life." Bahá’u’lláh
I would like to pause here in this narrative to make an important point. We the Bahá’ís limit the power of Bahá’u’lláh by our own negative feelings. The power that put the sun in orbit has given mankind all it needs to build the kingdom of God on earth, but He has made it a - Do it yourself kit -, and assured us of HIs unfailing aid if we will just "follow the instructions".
"Whoso openeth his lips in this Day and maketh mention of the name of his Lord, the hosts of Divine inspiration shall descend upon him from the heaven of My name, the All-Knowing, the All Wise. On him shall also descend the concourse on high, each bearing aloft a chalice of pure light." Bahá’u’lláh
I then went to Hamburg and there was a large community of very wealthy Persians in Hamburg. I guess Hand of the Cause Dr Rahamatu'llah Muhajir had asked them to come. That evening they all came and donated over $30,000US.
Then I went on to Alaska and got 15 God-intoxicated lovers and well-trained soldiers in Bahá’u’lláh's army of light. These were all battle scarred veterans from Alaska's Massive Encounter. Their way and expenses were paid so none of the Hamburg money was needed and this was returned to the National Spiritual Assembly of Germany.
We started our program with a teacher training course. I waited to see if any of the German friends would come. First a young man walked in.
I greeted him and enquired, "How is it that you came for such a long time?"
He explained, "You know I got this beautiful love letter from my National Spiritual Assembly. When I read it I felt like it was a love letter from God, and He was asking me to come for 3 or 4 months. Now tell me how could I refuse?
"What did you have to do to come?" I asked.
"Well," he said, "I had to drop out of my University and I had only 3 months left to go to get my degree. This means next fall I must go back, pay again the tuition, and do the whole thing over again."
When this beautiful spiritual lad explained what he had done, I knew in my heart that we had won the goals of the nine-year plan. One thing I know for sure and that is this Cause of God is built on sacrifice. If there is no sacrifice, believe me there will be no victory.
"The moth is a sacrifice to the candle. The spring is a sacrifice to the thirsty one. The sincere lover is a sacrifice to the loved one and the longing one is a sacrifice to the beloved." ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Another lady walked in and I asked, "What happened to bring you here?"
She answered, "I got this beautiful love letter asking me to come and I went right over to the phone and called my neighbour and asked her to feed my cats, and here I am."
Another man came in and I asked the same question.
"I got this letter and I went to my boss and asked for time off and he told me that it was a good time as business was slow. So here I am."
The next one explained, "I asked for time off and the boss said no way, so I quit and here I am."
The next, "I got this very beautiful love letter and I called my mother-in-law and told her to feed her son and take care of the grandchildren. I was going on a nine-year plan and wold be gone for three months."
So they came from every corner of Germany. Self-sacrificing, spiritual souls for a total of 45 front line German soldiers and the 15 Alaskans. I still was at a loss as to what these Alaskans could do in Germany as not one of them spoke German. We had a team of 60 God intoxicated angels of Bahá’u’lláh.
During the teacher training institute, they wanted to know how we were going to go about it and when I explained that we were going out on the streets in Germany and tell these people about Bahá’u’lláh the Germans were aghast, one and all they told me that this could not be done in a country like Germany.
As I had told their National Spiritual Assembly, I told them that in all my life I have never been able to teach anyone without talking to them. These Germans something very special. They did not like the idea, and they were sure it would not work, but they were willing to have a go at it anyhow.
We must also bear in mind that this Cause of God started on May 22nd 1844 with a street teacher. The Báb went out of his house walked out to the edge of town and met a stranger and invited him to His house. Then He asked questions, listened and had a fireside. This resulted in the first declaration on May 23rd, 1844.
It was a cold day in February and the snow was on the ground. We arrived at the Frankfurt House of Worship at about 4.30am. All 60 of us circumambulated this Mother Temple of Europe, each one saying quietly to themselves the Tablet of Ahmad. Then silently we filed into the building and one by one went to the podium and said a Tablet of Ahmad. Truly it was a lifetime soul enriching experience. We then left the House of Worship just as the sun was coming up.
We had busses and so we went to a dorf. This is like a village in Germany. That evening the whole team returned with long faces and unhappy reports. One member of the team told me that it was truly awful. He said he had tried to talk to a man and this man grumbled and walked off.
The Alaskans explained to me that they felt the trouble was that the love was coming from their heads and not their hearts. So I took them into our hall and we had consultation on love. I read all the tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá I had on love.
"The essence of Bahá’u’lláh's Teaching is all-embracing love, for love includeth every excellence of humankind." ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
We had a 24-hour prayer watch, I instructed the team members to pray, to beg, to beseech Bahá’u’lláh for loving hearts when they went to their prayers that night.
The next evening when the team came in, it was transformed. One man told me, "I didn't try to stop everone on the street as I did yesterday. I just stood on the corner several blocks away and I thought to myself, 'I do love that man. He is my brother. I left my job and came here because I love him so much that I want to share with him the most precious thing I have in my life which is the Cause of God.' I no sooner had this inner conviction than I felt such love flowing through me. This love was like a river and it flowed from me and down the street and when it reached this man, he began to smile.
I walked towards him. He walked towards me. When we came together, I said, 'Have you ever heard of Bahá’u’lláh?'
"No," he said. "Please tell me."
So I invited him into a coffee shop and everything I said he responded with, "Isn't that wonderful." You could feel this intense divine and spiritual love all around us. After about 2 hours this person asked if he could please be a Bahá’í."
All the team members were glowing and they all had stories similar to this one. In three months all the goals of the nine-year plan were won.
"Make my heart overflow with love for Thy creatures ..." ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
I think every Bahá’í, deep down inside, knows that love is the answer and the secret of successful teaching. If we don't feel this love or are unable to show it, then let's do as the Germans did and supplicate the Blessed Beauty to give us that loving heart.