Bahá'í Faith in Laos - Growth


From 1957 to 1963 the regional National Assembly of South East Asia oversaw the Bahá'í communities of area from Borneo to the Philippines to Thailand with a local spiritual assembly in Vientiane. The first Thai pioneer left on June 1, 1960, for Luang Prabang Laos. By December 1960 the first from the Maew or Hmong people in Laos accept the religion in Luang Prabang where there is also an assembly. It is also known that Jacqueline and Chester Lee, who had become Bahá'ís in Cambodia in 1955, moved to Vietienne 1965 where they lived until they moved to Hong Kong (Chester left in 1967 while Jacqueline left in 1969.) In Oct 1963, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Thailand, with its seat in Bangkok, was given jurisdiction over the Bahá'ís of Laos until 1967 when they elected their own National Spiritual Assembly with the presence of the first Hand of the Cause to visit Laos - Dr. Rahmatu'lláh Muhájir. The members of the first national assembly were: F. Missaghian, Sy Chanh, Boon My, M. Beizayee, F. Antipolo, L. Kham Say, Lau Chou, F. Faridian and C. M. Lee. In October 1967 an intercontinental conference was held in New Delhi with several Hands of the Cause and representatives of National Spiritual Assemblies from India, Ceylon, Arabia, Laos, Thailand, North East Africa, Philippines, Iran, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, South and Central Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan present. About February 1969 Hand of the Cause Abu'l-Qásim Faizi, the second to visit Laos, met with the national assembly. In April 1969 Dr. Rahmatu'lláh Muhájir made a return trip to Laos. At the fourth national convention, April 1970, it announced that the first members of the Puthai, a tribe in the Savannakhet area, as well as Meo in Laos, had joined the religion. By September 1970 the Laotian Bahá'í Publishing Trust had translated four Baha'i English books, pamphlets, and a prayer book into the Lao language and local conferences in Savannakhet and Thakkek were called with Bahá'ís from each region attending. In January 1971 native Laotian Bahá'ís were able to travel to an international Bahá'í conference in Singapore. In February Hand of the Cause Enoch Olinga visited Laos and in October Hand of the Cause Collis Featherstone visited Laos and traveled to several regions of Laos as well as meeting with the national assembly. In 1972 several trips of Bahá'ís spread word that Maitreya Buddha had returned as Bahá'u'lláh - during which time the population of Bahá'ís greatly expanded. In accord with a government request, land owned by the assembly of Vientiane was converted for growing crops - a team of youth cleared the land, fenced it in, planted and managed the crops. The second youth training institute was late January 1976 and included sessions included workshops on Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assemblies, Bahá'í views on marriage, history of the religion, Feasts and Bahá'í Holy Days, the Bahá'í Nineteen Day Fast among other topics. In May 1978 the national center in Vientiane hosted the first national children's convention.

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