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With the utmost friendliness and in a spirit of perfect fellowship take ye counsel together, and dedicate the precious days of your lives to the betterment of the world and the promotion of the Cause of Him Who is the Ancient and Sovereign Lord of all. He, verily, enjoineth upon all men what is right, and forbiddeth whatsoever degradeth their station. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 183.
Hundreds of members of the Baha’i Faith from the Lunda population recently gathered in Mwinilunga, in the Northwestern Province of Zambia, to celebrate their history and deliberate on their contribution to the development of their people. The Lunda people occupy villages and small towns in parts of Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia.
The conference brought together people of all ages in a discussion on how the Lunda people could apply the teachings of the Baha’i Faith to the life of their society. They, in the light of the spiritual principles of the Baha’i Faith, examined various aspects of their culture, identifying those contributing to the advancement of their community and that should be carried forward; and those which might need to be set aside:
The Great Being saith: The heaven of divine wisdom is illumined with the two luminaries of consultation and compassion. Take ye counsel together in all matters, inasmuch as consultation is the lamp of guidance which leadeth the way, and is the bestower of understanding.
At the outset of every endeavour, it is incumbent to look to the end of it. Of all the arts and sciences, set the children to studying those which will result in advantage to man, will ensure his progress and elevate his rank. Thus the noisome odours of lawlessness will be dispelled, and thus through the high endeavours of the nation’s leaders, all will live cradled, secure and in peace. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, pp. 168-169.
Chief Ntambu, one of the traditional leaders in the area and a member of the Baha’i Faith, was among the participants. “We must manifest a new culture and develop a new identity founded upon principles animating our faith,” he said, stirring the emotions of the gathering of over 550 women and men, young and old.
In a spiritual and joyful atmosphere characterized by song and dance, the participants consulted on enhancing the foundations of family life, educating the young, especially girls, and on contributing more effectively to the spiritual and material well-being of society through a moral framework inspired by the Baha’i Faith:
O Thou kind Lord! These lovely children are the handiwork of the fingers of Thy might and the wondrous signs of Thy greatness. O God! Protect these children, graciously assist them to be educated and enable them to render service to the world of humanity. O God! These children are pearls, cause them to be nurtured within the shell of Thy loving-kindness.
Thou art the Bountiful, the All-Loving. – Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i Prayers, p. 34.
“If we do not offer our children the best education possible and have an interest in their moral and academic advancement, then negative habits will be passed on to the generations,” said an older gentleman at the three-day conference.
“Parents must also educate themselves on the significance of marriage and have meaningful conversations with their children on the subject,” remarked a young woman.
Through an exchange of ideas, the participants contributed to tracing the path of the progress of their people over the last five decades, and clarified what steps they will now take together in their villages and towns.
Now is the east lit up with a glory, and the west rose-sweet, and all the earth is fragrant with ambergris, and the winds that blow over the Holy Shrine are laden with musk. Erelong shall ye see that even the darkest lands are bright, and the continents of Europe and Africa have turned into gardens of flowers, and forests of blossoming trees. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 255.