December 25th, 1970
Dear Mom and Dad,
I pray that you are all in the very best of health and spirits and that you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years. We so appreciated the $100 you sent for Christmas. We were really shocked at the amount and thank you so much for your sacrifice and love.
I have been debating on whether to write you concerning one of the tests and difficulties we have been facing the past three weeks, but as there is much to learn from all experiences in life, I would rather tell you about it myself rather than having it come from someone else. I would like to share it with you. These times of suffering we are finding are really a bounty from the Creator that bring us closer together and demonstrate what we are really made of.
This past Friday, December 4th, shortly after I had gone to meet with a group of our Quechua relatives, a drunk forced his way into our home and raped Cynthia in the long hallway that leads to our house. Cynthia prayed and, praise be to our beloved Creator, was not hurt physically. After the man was finished, she had the strength and calm to get him over the Indigenous Center were we where meeting where we were able to capture him.
I was in the Center having prayer with the many Quechua Brothers and Sisters when Cynthia came in with this fellow and another close friend who had helped her get him to the Center. As soon as she came in, I could tell something was wrong and the first thought was that someone in our extended family had died.
Cynthia told me that she had just been raped and of course I was shocked. She took me in to the other room and showed me what happened. Along with the bloody consequences, this son of a wealthy land owner, Rene Rios, had taken Cynthia’s panties and put them in his pocket. It turned out in the ensuing investigation that he had done the same too many other Indigenous young women, who had no power to seek justice. After seeing the blood and other signs of what had happened to Cynthia, I charged back into the other room and started speaking very loudly to this man and asking him in Spanish what had happened with my wife.
Cynthia then jumped behind him and pulled out her panties from his pocket. Then I really blew my stack and hit him a few times and knocked him down on the floor. I then pulled back my fist, with all my strength and rage, to hit him full force in the face. Just before I let him have it a voice said to me, “He is sick!” When I looked again I saw my face and I stopped. I then regained my composure very quickly, praise be to our beloved Creator and did not hit him. In my fury, if I would have hit his unprotected face, I would have killed him. I then threw him on a old couch and had some relatives go get the Bolivian Policia. I then waited until the police came and we took him to jail in the back end of an old truck.
What really touched me is that after this happened, while we were waiting for the police, I turned to the more than 40 Quechua brothers that I was praying with before Cynthia arrived and asked them in Spanish, “ My brothers, do you know what just happened?” They said back to me, “Yes, our beloved brother, they hold us and do the same act to our wives in front of us. We are helpless because of their weapons and can do nothing about it.” After this happened to Cynthia they gave me a Quechua name that means, “Of the Same Blood.” I feel this name to the core of my heart!
Well, we are now involved in a court case which could go on for another month or two. The young man has quite a past record for drinking and other actions, including throwing dynamite at the police during the riots and has done the same thing to other young women in the past. We understand that his family are rich landowners and have quite a lot of money and the other girls were too poor to do anything about it. In fact, his family was Land Owners who were known for their oppression of our Indigenous relatives for many generations.
The justice here in Bolivia is very poor, so we don’t know how this will come out, but the judge has denied him his personal liberty during the trial so we know he will be in jail for at least 50 days. He may end up staying 100 days. Of course, his family is doing everything they can do to help him out of this by buying witnesses etc. but we have a great faith that everything will turn out alright.
We have never known or seen man before, but his defense is that he had met Cynthia that morning and she invited him to a one of our spiritual meetings. He denies that anything whatsoever happened, but that he simply stopped by the house for a couple of minutes and then walked to the Indigenous Centre with Cynthia, meeting our friend, Guido, along the way and when he arrived at the Indigenous Centre, he was beaten up. He has claimed it was a conspiracy against him and his family. He claims that the panties were a handkerchief that Cynthia pulled out of his pocket.
Of course, we have many witnesses of what happened and witnesses concerning our character, but still, this is a terribly painful and messy situation that is unfolding. I’m sure he will resort to whatever tactics are necessary to try to get free, so we will have some real tests in the coming weeks.
Cynthia has been tremendously strong and has been a follower of the Ancient of Days all the way. Her faith in the Creator and the Manifestations of the God has only become stronger and we have only become closer together in these tests and difficulties. Through prayer and reading and reflecting on the sacred teachings of the Ancient of Days we are slowly but surely overcoming this spiritual test and becoming spiritually stronger every day.
Although we have had great hate in our hearts towards this man, praise be to our beloved Creator, this has been replaced with forgiveness and we sincerely wish we could help him. We feel very sorry for him as he had to spend Christmas in jail and also has a wife and two children.
He is a sign of the spiritual sickness afflicting all of humankind and certainly demonstrates the prophecy of the Ancient of Days:
“The days are approaching their end, and yet the peoples of the earth are seen sunk in grievous heedlessness, and lost in manifest error. Great, great is the Cause! The hour is approaching when the greatest convulsion will have appeared. I swear by Him, Who is the Truth! It shall cause separation to afflict everyone, even those who circle around Me. Say: O concourse of the heedless! I swear by God! The day is approaching when its [civilization’s] flame will devour the cities, when the Tongue of Grandeur will proclaim: ‘The Kingdom is God’s, the Almighty, and the All-Praised! O ye that are bereft of understanding! A severe trial pursueth you, and will suddenly overtake you. Bestir yourselves, that haply it may pass and inflict no harm upon you.” “O ye peoples of the world! Know, verily, that an unforeseen calamity is following you, and that grievous retribution awaiteth you. Think not the deeds ye have committed have been blotted from My sight. And when the appointed hour is come, there shall suddenly appear that which shall cause the limbs of mankind to quake. Then, and only then, will the Divine Standard be unfurled, and the Nightingale of Paradise warble its melody.”
In the beginning of every Revelation adversities have prevailed, which later on have been turned into great prosperity. Say: O people of God! Beware lest the powers of the earth alarm you, or the might of the nations weaken you, or the tumult of the people of discord deter you, or the exponents of earthly glory sadden you. Be ye as a mountain in the Cause of your Lord, the Almighty, the All-Glorious, and the Unconstrained. Say: Beware, O People of Glory, lest the strong ones of the earth rob you of your strength, or they who rule the world fill you with fear. Put your trust in God, and commit your affairs to His keeping. He, verily, will, through the power of truth, render you victorious, and He, verily, is powerful to do what He willeth, and in His grasp are the reins of omnipotent might.I swear by My life! Nothing save that which profiteth them can befall My loved ones. To this testifieth the Pen of God, the Most Powerful, the All-Glorious, and the Best Beloved. Let not the happenings of the world sadden you. I swear by God! The sea of joy yearneth to attain your presence, for every good thing hath been created for you, and will, according to the needs of the times, be revealed unto you. O my servants! Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of their sustaining grace. To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain.”
These words and countless others have become so real to us and this is a great testament to the power and the regenerating force in the revelation of Baha’u’llah. In your daily life, Mom and Dad, you have faced and will face many trials and difficulties, but through your faith in God you will be able to surmount all that comes to you with a great love and understanding. Those people that hurt us or commit acts against the law of God, we must forgive and pray for them, for it is only through our love that mankind can be cured from its sick condition and that heaven on earth will be brought about with all living with peace and unity.
Of course, in this case, Cynthia and I forgive this man and pray that through this experience he will be guided to God, but at the same time, we must allow the laws of society to deal with him according to the law. Society must carry out the laws, or there would be no society. But society must carry out the laws without vengeance or prejudice. All we can do for this man now is pray for him. But Dad and Mom, in your work at the prison, you have the ability to do more than just pray; you can directly help other young men who are sick in spirit.
Well, anyway, I wanted to share this with you as I know that you too have your difficulties and it may be a comfort to know that we too have our difficulties and through the love of our beloved Creator and our Faith, we will keep going. Please do not worry about us, but praise God that we have found the Ancient of Days.
Please pray for us and this young man who is so spiritually sick, that we all may grow in our love for our Beloved Creator and his Divine Messengers. The followers of his Holiness Jesus Christ also had their trials, but it was only through their trials that the power and truth of his holiness Jesus Christ was demonstrated to the world and likewise, it is through the trials of this day that the truth of the Ancient of Days will be demonstrated to spiritually-starving humankind.
May God Bless You Both,
[Quotes in the margins of the letter: “The more difficulties one meets in the world, the more perfect one will become.” “The more you plough and dig in the ground, the more fertile it becomes.”]