April 2, 2011

Agnes Baldwin Alexander (1875-1971) – Hand of the Cause; “the daughter of the Kingdom”, and “the beloved maid-servant of the Blessed Perfection” (‘Abdu’l-Baha); the only Hand of the Cause mentioned in the Tablets of the Divine Plan; The first Baha’i to set foot on Hawaiian soil; the first Baha’i to settle in Japan; and the first Baha’i to teach the Faith in Korea.

"At this time, in the island of Hawaii, through the efforts of Miss Alexander, a number of souls have reached the shore of the sea of faith! Consider ye, what happiness, what joy is this! I declare by the Lord of Hosts that had this respected daughter founded an empire, that empire would not have been so great! For this sovereignty is eternal sovereignty and this glory is everlasting glory." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of the Divine Plan)

In the Kitáb-i-Íqán, Bahá'u'lláh makes the statement that were anyone to reach the station of the True Seeker, he would “inhale at a distance of a thousand leagues the fragrance of God, and would perceive the resplendent morn of a divine Guidance rising above the dayspring of all things.” (Baha’u’llah, ‘Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah’, p. 267) Many more than a thousand leagues away from 'Akka, the abode of the Blessed Perfection, a little girl in far-off Hawaii dreamed of serving Christ, but in her own words: "His life seemed far away from me, and I always felt that something was lacking, that I had never been reborn." If ever a child was blessed with a brilliant and noble heritage it was this little girl, Agnes Baldwin Alexander, destined herself to become a star even more illustrious than any of her famous forebears.

Agnes's grandparents on her mother's side were the Rev. and Mrs. Dwight Baldwin who sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts, with the fourth company of missionaries sent by the American Board of Missions in 1831. "My dear mother," Agnes would say, "was born in a grass house." On her father's side, her grandparents were the Rev. and Mrs. William Patterson Alexander, who arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in 1832 after a voyage of 186 days. One need only read James Michener's “Hawaii” to realize what hardships these newly wedded servants of Christ were forced to endure on the decrepit, overloaded whaling ship of that era.