Remembering Mrs. Elizabeth Gibson

Remembering Mrs. Elizabeth Gibson

Mrs. Elizabeth H. Gibson and the devoted service she gave to Malaysia will never be erased from the annals of the Faith. Ms. Gibson was a great driving force and she served in various capacities in several parts of the country. Her coming to Malaysia was said to be providential, as openly acknowledged by many Bahá’ís who worked with her or observed her indelible services in Malaysia. Her close to three-year period of service in Malaysia, though short, will always be remembered as a period of dynamism in many ways. She rendered invaluable services through her active involvement in various areas of services. Mrs. Gibson shall be remembered as a fine example of excellence in both fieldwork, and administrative services for the Cause. She was highly energetic, relentless, well organized and meticulous in whatever area of work she undertook for the Cause.

Mrs. Gibson and her husband Dr. Doughlas H. Gibson from California, USA came as American pioneers to South East Asia.  Dr. Doughlas was to be posted to Viet Nam to teach oral surgery for the US Agency for International Development. Mrs. Gibson was given the choice of selecting any country of her choice within South Ease Asia. She chose Malaysia.


Dr. Doughlas and Mrs. Gibson starting their journey from California, USA,  August 1970

She came to Malaysia in September 1970 and remained until February 1973. She moved into a spacious bungalow in the Titiwangsa area, behind the second National Bahá’í Center and served  as a full time servant of the Cause. Mrs.Gibson’s two, school-age children traveled with her.  And her husband, Mr. Doughlas, used to visit his family in Malaysia once in a while, and he would join in the  Bahá’í  activities.

When Mrs. Gibson arrived  into Kuala Lumpur, a line of activities were already assigned to her and she was appointed into committees. She started off with a string of non-stop activities, going around the country visiting and deepening Bahá’ís in urban areas, estates and the deep jungles. She arrived on time to join in the Regional Youth Gathering that was held in the National Bahai Center on  12 and 13 September 1970. The inauguration of the Bahá’í Society at the University Singapore in September, 1970 also coincided with her arrival in Malaysia. She flew down to Singapore to be the guest speaker. That was her first major event as a speaker in this part of the world. Even when she was in the USA she was already well exposed and experienced in the area of proclamation and external affairs work of the Faith.

On 24 October 1970, in Alor Star town, United Nations Day was observed and attended by more than 100 persons. Mrs. Gibson was the guest speaker. She proved to be a dynamic speaker in this first, major proclamation work. Again the Local Spiritual Assembly of Kuala Lumpur observed the UN Day on 24 October, 1971. The theme for that year was “International Year for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination.” Inbum Chinniah was the Chairman of the session with Mrs. Minna Chew, Director of Information for the UN Development. Mrs. Gibson showed slides of United Nations Headquarters in New York. The response from the audience was wholehearted enthusiasm. The Tamil-speaking radio announced the meeting with full particulars over the air the day before. The Chinese press printed a release. The next day, the Malay Mail covered the event with a quarter-page story and photos. The Malaysian Television wrapped up the coverage with a lengthy resume of the meeting on the world news program the following week.  It was a resounding success in every way.  Having accepted the Faith in 1963, she was active in the area of public affairs such as the Race Unity Day. During her stay in Malaysia she was a natural choice for representing the Faith in this capacity.


Dr. Choy Men Kong, Secretary of Rotary Club receiving two books from Mrs Gibson, at UN Day, 24 Oct 1970, Alor Star.

During the course of her first phase of travels across the country, she encouraged Bahá’ís  to attend the Oceanic Conference of the South China Seas sheduled to be held in Singapore in the first week of January 1971. During these trips she conducted deepening classes using cassette recordings of Hand of the Cause William Sears. She herself was seen as a happy participant at the Oceanic Conference. She quietly assisted Bahá’ís without means to attend the conference.

She was an asset to the Kuala Lumpur assembly and had contributed, within that short period of time, to the consolidation of the Kuala Lumpur Bahá’í community. She was magnanimous in providing the best hospitality to many Bahá’ís, especially in providing accommodation at her  bungalow, and in caring for the travel teachers staying at the National Bahá’í  center. Her rented  bungalow functioned like a Bahá’í  center in its own way, much like a hive, buzzing with activities. These activities sometimes included marriages. The wedding of Choo Yoke Boon to Grace Chong was held in her bungalow on 11 May, 1971.


Wedding of Choo Yoke Boon and Grace Chong at her residence. At extreme left is Master of Ceremony Inbum Chinniah

Ms. Gibson organized weekly firesides for people of capacity whom she won over within a short period of her arrival in Kuala Lumpur, starting with teachers in the International School where her children Debbie and Peter were studying. She asked C. Kanagaratnam, then serving as Administrator in the National Bahá’í Center, to occupy a vacant room in her bungalow. He says   Mrs. Gibson was excellent in the area of public relations, and she used this talent to organize those firesides in great style. She placed many Bahá’í  books and prayer books in the living room and insisted on having devotional meetings each morning and evening, quoting from the  text of the Writings. Her home provided a true Bahá’í  atmosphere.

It is quite amazing how Mrs. Gibson was able to learn and pick up the local Malaysian way of life and become fully blended with the Malaysian Bahá’í community within the first few months of her arrival.  She had the rare talent of memorizing the names of believers she met in the first instance, and would call them by their names in her next meeting with them. Mrs. Gibson came to be loved by Bahá’í s from all walks of life- those from the rural areas, estate plantations, tribal jungles and urban areas. Her radiant disposition and the sincere love she showered upon all, attracted Bahá’í s to her presence.


Mrs. Gibson seated fourth from right. next to Leong Tat Chee at a weekend gathering in the National Teaching Institute, Malacca, 1971

She was a good administrator. She put all her actions and deliberations based on the Writings, and made everyone conscious of the need to always go to the source.  When she arrived in Malaysia, she was appointed into the National Coordinating Unit together with Ravichandran, Thanabalan and N.S.S.Silan.  In March 1971, Kamachee from Alor Star came to Kuala Lumpur to serve under the National Coordination Unit, and had intended to stay in one of the rooms in the Bahá’í  Bahá’í  Center. Mrs. Gibson, unasked, took Kamachee to her bungalow for the proper accommodation that any lady would need.

Mrs. Gibson was a very serious person wanting results. The National Coordinating Unit met each Wednesday, and she made sure all members of the Coordinating Unit moved throughout the country. Almost each weekend they were out into the field, visiting almost  every community in the country. With a tremendous energy within herself, she was on the move at all times, and brought with her a lot of experience and challenges. Mrs. Gibson always went by the book, and that caused some ‘ripples’ in the Malaysian Bahá’í  community. But she only wanted to protect the image of the growing Faith. On a one-to one basis she was a very warm person. One could easily see her magnanimity. She used to come to the National Bahá’í center, and join the staff for breakfast, with their permission, at the back room behind the kitchen. She herself would toast the bread and apply butter and jam on the bread. She would encourage them to eat well to serve well. Sandrakasan who worked at the National Bahá’í center in those days often recalls with fondest memories the generosity and  magnanimity of Mrs. Gibson.

When the National Asli Committee was moved to Seremban in 1971, Mrs Gibson was appointed to that committee. Others on the Committee with whom she worked were Mr. Appu Raman, Mr. K. Rajah, Mr. S. Selvarajah, Mr. Audi Singam, Mr. S. Satanam, Mr. Isaac De’ Cruz, Mr. Lee Teck Seng and Mr. Lawrence Ng. She introduced the idea of having full-time travel teachers to the Asli areas. Through this plan Bahá’ís like Kanagaratnam, Sri Krishnan, Baskaran of Trolak, Guriah of Kedah, Borno Dass, Ravi Upendra and Selvaraja became full-time travel teachers and went into the jungles for weeks, sometimes months. She not only served on the Asli Committee with great effectiveness, but she also went into the jungles in the company of Isaac and Satanam to love and serve the Asli believers. Whenever the Asli friends came to Kuala Lumopur for national conventions or other  Bahá’í gatherings, she was always the first to receive them and mix with them freely. The aboriginal friends loved her greatly. At the Unity Feast held a day before the National Youth Conference in December 1971, one Asli friend named Dusek dressed himself with banana leaves in the typical Asli way and danced to an Asli song, and added a line in English, “Bahá’u’lláh, I love you.”  On hearing these words, Mrs. Gibson burst into tears and addressed the friends, “Although the aboriginal believers are illiterate, their level of understanding of the Faith and their firmness in the Cause is simply amazing. You must see the love they have for the Faith through their contribution to the Funds. Their contribution may be small, but they saved coins and walked miles to the nearest Bahá’í  center to offer their contributions.”


Off to Asli teaching with S. Satanam and Isaac De’ Cruz

In 1972 Mrs. Gibson was appointed on the National Child Education Committee, where she had contributed many ideas. In the same year she had served in the National Teaching Committee and created many deepening materials for the Malaysian Bahá’í community. She was also the Director of Operations for some projects under the National Teaching Committee. She was impressive with knowledge on many subjects, and believed in excellence in all things. She wanted the believers to keep abreast with Bahá’í  knowledge. She used to say “ignorance cannot teach ignorant.”

During Ridvan 1972, Hand of the Cause of God Jalal Khazeh represented the Supreme Body at the first National Convention of Singapore held on April 22 and 23 and gave clear guidelines to run the convention according to strict convention rules. Mrs Gibson was a participant at that Convention and read out congratulatory messages received from other national assemblies from around the world. She also noted the strict Bahá’í  administrative rules pertaining to convention that Mr. Khazeh gave at the convention in Singapore. When Mrs. Gibson was elected the Convention Chairperson at our own convention, held a few days later in 1972, she made sure the guidelines given by the Hand of the Cause at Singapore were also followed in Malaysia. Whereas in the past both delegates and observers had a free seating arrangement at national conventions, there was no clear demarcation line between delegates and observers. For the first time she set the demarcation line and provided for delegates to be seated in the front rows.  That precedent is still being followed to this day. During that convention Mrs. Gibson  was elected to the national institution and served as Assistant Secretary before joining her husband in Saigon in February 1973. Other members who served on the national institution with her were Mr. S. Bhaskaran, S. Nagaratnam, Dr. M. M. Sreenivasan, Mr. Ganasa Murthy, Mr. Inbum Chinniah, Mr.N.S.S. Silan, Mrs. Shantha Sundram and Mr. K. Rajah.


On the National Spiritual Assembly, 1972

One of her greatest contribution to the Malaysian Bahá’í community was pushing the Bahá’í women of Malaysia to rise to great heights of service. There were several Bahá’í  women who were strong pillars in their individual rights, but were quite slow in functioning as an organized group. The institutions saw the need for them to rise to a higher level of service. Mrs. Gibson provided the needed moral support and availed her bungalow for several women gatherings. On 4 October, 1970, a women’s conference was held at her bungalow, organised by the Local Spiritual Assembly of Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya. The house was well decorated and the 75 participants were each presented with an orchid and a star-shaped name tag. Mrs. Shantha Sundram opened this conference. Mrs. Gibson gave a talk on “Nature of Women”; Lily Chinniah spoke on “Bahá’í Concept of Child Education” and Lily Ng spoke on “Equality of Women.” There was a singing session followed by demonstration on “Facial Make Up” by Pauline De’ Cruz.  A booklet entitled “the Oneness of Mankind and Equality of Men and Women” was given to all participants. The participants were so thrilled by the spirit generated at this gathering that they wished to hold more conferences.


Lily Chinniah speaks at the Women’s Conference.  Mrs. Gibson is seated at extreme left and Dr. Douglas at extreme right.


Inbum Chinniah addressing a gathering at the spacious bungalow of Mrs. Gibson.

One of the best remembered conferences was the National Youth Conference, arranged in the Dewan Belia in Kampong Pandan, Kuala Lumpur from 4 to 6 December 1971. While answering questions at the Panel Session, Mrs Gibson proved to be a highly deepened Bahá’í , able to answer questions on several angles.  At the first Winter School of Malaysia held in Johore Bahru in December 1972, the speaker who was to speak on the topic of Universal House of Justice did not turn up so she stepped in to fill in the place.  Bahá’í were impressed with her eloquent and detailed talk on several aspects of the majesty and greatness of the Universal House of Justice. She also spoke on the Most Holy Book. It dawned upon the believers that she was a master of several Bahá’í  topics. She was well conversant with the content of the book Dawn Breakers.


Mrs. Gibson, standing fifth from left at the first Bahá’í Winter School, Johore Baru, 1972

Her generosity saw no bounds. Mrs. Gibson made it a point to come to the National Bahá’í center at least thrice a day, in the morning, noon and night, to look into the needs of travel teachers, youths and Asli believers who used to stay overnight there. She was an early bird and each morning she used to bring heavy breakfast, much before those staying in the Center woke up. On several occasions she even invited them to her bungalow for sumptuous meals. When the numbers ran high, she would bring large amounts of food to the Bahá’í  Centre. This was one area of service she carried out throughout her stay in Kuala Lumpur.  And she would come around the Bahá’í  center to look out for travel teachers, and slip money into their pockets. When she arrived in Malaysia in September 1970 she bought a car and was looking for a driver. She wanted a Bahá’í  who had a driving license and needed a job. A few names were put forward, but she chose Munusamy from Sepang who was looking for a job. She paid him well, outfitted him and made sure he turned up at the Oceanic Conference of South China Seas in Singapore in style. Mrs. Gibson also adopted Angelina, an African girl, disciplined her in the Bahá’í way, and made sure the child’s medical needs were met. She later told Chong Boo Haw of Alor Star that it was always her desire to give good life to the most unfortunate in society. When she was in China she adopted another child.


Munusamy standing extreme right, with the aboriginal friends at the Oceanic Conference, Singapore

When she left, a farewell party was given to her and it coincided with the opening of the Kuala Lumpur Local Bahá’í Centre at 18 Jalan Air Bah Dua, Hot Spring Gardens, Setapak.  That was an event where no eye was dry. From Malaysia she went to join her husband in Vietnam with her children Peter, Debbie and little Angela. From there she and her husband pioneered to Nigeria in the later part of the 1970s. She was Auxiliary Board Member for North Nigeria. In Nigeria her daughter  Debbie (who was a special child) married a local Nigerian boy, and this sadly led to the separation between Douglas and Mrs. Gibson. Next she pioneered alone to Liberia in the early 1980s.  Her adopted daughter Angela came to stay with her in Liberia. There too Mrs. Gibson opened her home for  Bahá’í hospitality and won the hearts of the local people.  Mrs. Gibson worked  as a teacher trainer at the Demonstration School College, and was elected on the Local Spiritual Assembly of Kaka, and served with her usual distinction.  In 1986, she also conducted workshops for the future staff of the first radio station of Africa that was established in Monrovia, on the basic principles of broadcasting and the philosophy of Bahá’í radio.  Leaving Liberia, much later she spent some time in China, and visited her close friend N.S.S. Silan in Mongolia.

Her heart was always with the Malaysian Bahá’is. When she turned up at the Second World Congress in New York, she spent most time hugging the Malaysian and other Bahá’is she had befriended in her foreign trips for serving the Cause.


Chong Boo Haw of Malaysia with Mrs. Gibson at the Second Bahá’í World Congress, New York

Her later years were spent back home in California, USA. She kept sending and receiving letters from the believers in Malaysia. When email became popular she communicated even more frequently with the Malaysian Bahá’is. Towards the end of her days she was terminally ill and kept under hospice care. She was resting at her home in Oxnard. Yet she was in excellent spirits and eagerly looked forward to ascension to the Abha Kingdom.  Even from her death bed, she was still communicating with friends through the assistance of a secretary who sent out and received emails on her behalf. She was regularly communicated with N.S.S. Silan whom she called her “My Dearest Brother” until the very end of her days. In all her emails she  inquired about the health of several friends in that country. She also set up an answering machine attached to her telephone, so that she never missed a message during moments she was not able to take the calls.  Mrs. Elizabeth Gibson passed away in Oxnard, California on April 25, 2007. Thus ended a meaningful life led only to make her Heavenly Father happy. Her whole life was spent in bringing cheer to the lives of the downtrodden. However not many would know that although outwardly Mrs. Gibson was a very radiant and joyful person, she was lamented deeply for the untold sorrows and challenges she faced in her own family life.

This multi-talented believer was active in radio and television writing. She was an actress and model, and had written several plays including “Blackboard Jungle” and “Black Sheep, Black Sheep.”  Mrs. Gibson, an author, editor and artist, includes in her published works “Hope Springs Eternal” and “Blackboard Jungle.” She was a member in some Non-Governmental Organizations, spending  more than 20 years working to improve socioeconomic conditions in Asia and Africa.


Mrs. Gibson in the Malaysian “kebaya” dress with her husband in Viet Nam- a great loss to Malaysia and a precious gain to Viet Nam.

Mrs. Gibson will always be remembered for her warm hospitality and organizational excellence. Her impact on the Malaysians were that she made them become more administrative and organized and for the youth who were in the forefront, she instilled in them a spirit of service and dedication based on the example of Shoghi Effendi. Her departure after almost three years of being a Malaysian, leaves a gap that is hard to fill. She was a fantastic,  high-spirited and forever-smiling lady who did great things for His Cause.

A.Manisegaran
United States of America
31 October, 2017

 

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “Remembering Mrs. Elizabeth Gibson

  1. Dear Mani, 
    I am happy to recollect the fondest memories of those days with Liz through the story you have written. I served on the National Spiritual Assembly and the Asli Committee with her.  She served as Assistant Secretary of the National Assembly and I saw in her servitude an example worthy of emulation.

    Of all the visiting pioneers over the years it was Liz who left a lasting impression on me, other than Major Charles, who of course came into the Faith in Seremban in 1960.  Liz was “one tough cookie” as I used to refer to her in jest. She was the only lady who dared to take on the perils of trekking into the Malaysian tropical mountains to visit our Asli brethren.  Her sense of devotion to the Cause of Baha’u’llah was something to be savored. She was one of those who became completely immersed in the Ocean of His Utterances and was a ceaseless server of the Blessed Beauty. 

    She always had time for us ordinary folks and opened her home and her heart out to many of the believers then. Her three years of stay in Malaysia helped to galvanize our community to achieve the brilliant goals set for us by the Supreme Institution.

    Isaac De’ Cruz
    UK

  2. Dear Mani
    You have written about a great lady who played an important role in my Bahai life, at a time when I had just accepted the Faith. I was a new Baha’i in 1971. Being a new Baha’i and full of spirit, I wanted to share the Message with all my friends. Dear Elizabeth was there to lend a helping hand. She used to travel to my hometown to conduct firesides- memories of which are still fresh and raw in my mind. Through her assistance about 30 – 40 of my friends accepted the Faith. She was always there whenever assistance was needed.
    God bless her soul.
    Ramasamy
    Malaysia

  3. Dear Mani,
    Thank you for once again writing a wonderful piece. Elizabeth Gibson or “Liz” as she was lovingly called by the Malaysian Baha’is was the most wonderful person I have ever met. I remember her with so much fondness. She was a very kind and generous person. Her house was open to all. We used to have so many functions in her big bungalow house such as Women’s Conference and deepening classes, etc. Not only was she generous with the use of her house, she was also generous with the food. She served the Baha’is, especially the Bahai youth with very special dishes that she made herself. I still remember Isaac De’Cruz who said the healthy bread that Liz made tasted different, not the kind of bread the Malaysians were used to. That is because Liz put special ingredients in the bread. She personally baked the bread for these youth who stayed overnight in her house.

    I became close to her when she and Inbum were serving together on the National Assembly in 1972. She used to visit our home quite often, as she had many Bahai issues to discuss with Inbum.
    I remember at one time I was very sick. My whole body was in excruciating pain as I was suffering from acute rheumatoid arthritis. I cried with so much pain. Inbum did not know what to do. He was at a loss. He told Liz and she came to see me.She told Inbum to say THE LONG HEALING PRAYER ” many times and ask BAHAULLAH to heal Lily. The next day I was admitted to the hospital and remained in the hospital for almost a month. I became better .I knew it was the prayers that healed me.

    Liz was like an elder sister to me. I could consult in her on any matter, whether it was related to the Faith or personal. She was always ready to listen and advise.

    Malaysia was so blessed to have her serve the Faith together with her family. What she had done was her ardent and unselfish service to the local people. She was like one of us. We never considered her a foreigner. Everyone loved her .We all felt comfortable in her house. We treated her house like our own home.
    When she left Malaysia, she created a void in our midst. We missed her so much. I know in my heart, there was no one to replace her. Liz was unique. God bless her soul.
    Thank you Mani. You keep the past memories active through your stories

    Lily Chinniah
    Kuala Lumpur
    Malaysia

  4. Dear Mani,
    I just finished reading your excellent write-up on Mrs. Elizabeth Gibson and immediately forwarded it to all my friends in Alor Stari who are on my contact list. A few episodes brought tears to my sleepy eyes.
    Malaysia is so blessed to have an angel passing by, and I was so fortunate to have met her and honoured to host her in Alor Star when she first came in October 1970 as speaker for the UN day. My son Zohrab was one year old and she presented us with a beautiful Baha’i children’s songbook. There’s more to her than meets the eye. When saying the prayer for the departed for my parents, I included her in my prayers.

    Maybe you can write a book about her from cradle to grave ?

    Chong Boo Haw
    Alor Star
    Malaysia

  5. Dear Mani,
    Thanks for the enlightening account of the life of Mrs. Elizabeth Gibson. Although I knew about her activities and had met her in various activities, I think I really don’t know her that well. As I read through your interesting write up, in particular the period September 1970 to February 1973, I was wondering where was I during the period. I felt that there is a void in my Baha’i life during the period. Thanks for filling it up.

    I also want to inform you that I had read all the other stories and I like in particular, story by Lily Chinniah, Sathiawan Singh, both of whom I knew well. The story about Miracles in Andaman by Jaya Thota Raju and the Aborigina teaching in Australia by Firaydun Mithaq were enlightening too and great reading material.

    Good job Mani. What is the next attraction?

    Lum Weng Chew
    Canada

  6. Dear Manisegaran,
    Thank you for bringing the memory of Mrs. Gibson to life.

    I was working at the Bahá’í Centre, National Teaching Committee, in preparation for pioneering to Africa. I read her books, Bahá’í, to deepen myself further. As I was planning to stay in the Bahai center, she requested me to stay with her and gave me free accommodation in her spacious bungalow. She gave me money to take the bus from her place to the Centre and back. It was not that far. I could have easily walked for some 15 minutes to the Bahai center. Of course I was given a small stipend by the National Teaching Committee. She insisted on me taking a bus to the center.

    Hailing from an Indian background from Alor Star town in the north, we used to eat our meals with our hands after washing them clean. But the simple act of handling of knife and fork for a change was a challenge for me in an American setting that was the home of Mrs. Gibson.

    She knew I was going to my destination in Africa where I may possibly lack proper health care. One day she quietly took me to a dentist and had all my teeth checked, and whichever needed fixing was also done. She paid in full for that. She was generous of course and took care of me at times when I got sick and needed to see a doctor. She took me to one. In plain words, I would say she was kind, generous and had a compassionate nature in her. She had touched everyone in some way to the extent they would never forget her radiant heart and warm smile. We need more Mrs. Gibson around in our community and in our lives!

    Loving Bahá’í greetings,
    Kamachee Martel
    Africa

  7. Dear Mani
    You have written a good account of the services of my dearest Bahai Sister Liz, for which I wish to thank you.

    As soon as I was informed of the passing of Liz, I sent this message on Liz to her secretary through whom Liz was in touch with me in her last days.

    “From the time I knew you in Malaysia in 1970, you have set a pace in the advancement and progress of our beloved Faith which has moved individuals, communities and nations…I remember before you came to us in Malaysia, we were moving at our own wave length but with you in our midst you ‘jump started and recharged’ all our souls…….Look at what you have done….

    You taught us to laugh, enjoy ,cheered our hearts and taught us many values all in the service of our Faith, at all times in humility and obedience to our Supreme Institution.

    Each country, we have been (Papau New Guinea, Mongolia, Timor, Kosovo, Syria), you have been our moral support and pillar of encouragement and we know from the other parts of the concourse, you will do the same.
    Liz,what have you done?
    With much Love and deep admiration,
    Silan Nadarajah and family”

    N.S.S. Silan
    Australia

  8. Thanks and Well done Mani. The late Mrs. Elizabeth Gibson is indeed a wonderful inspiration for all us.

    I never knew her while I was in Malaysia. I only accepted the Faith in Penang in July 1974 although I had been reading books and investigating the Faith for over 2 years since I joined the University Sains Malaysia in Penang in the early 1972. By the time I accepted the Faith Mrs. Gibson’s family had left the Malaysian shores.

    However, I had the bounty to work with her and serving the Faith in Northern Nigeria from early 1977. Her home in Kaduna was my second home although I lived some 300 kilometers away in Jos. I got to know the whole family – the brilliant Dr Douglas, Mrs Gibson, and their daughters Debbie and Angela.

    Because I had an Afro hairstyle then, Mrs. Gibson would refer to me as Angela’s brother. Angela was an adopted child from Vietnam and her biological dad was an Afro-American service man.

    It was too unfortunate that Douglas and Liz separated due to Debbie’s (who is a special child) marriage to a Nigerian Boy. The whole family left their pioneering post in the early 1980’s. Liz was an Auxiliary Board Member for the whole of Northern Nigeria.

    When she left I was appointed as her replacement as Auxiliary Board Member for Propagation for the North Nigeria. When I was appointed as Board Member, I was serving on the National Spiritual Assembly of Nigeria, aloong with our retired Member of the Universal House of Justice – Mr Kiser Barnes who now lives in Northern Carolina, USA. I had to make a choice when the appointment came. I resigned from the national assembly to take up the appointment as Board member. Even then I discovered that Mrs., Gibson’s footsteps was indeed a hard act to follow as she had set a great example as a Board Member.

    She will always remain as one of my beloved Bahá’í mentors who was a great influence on my Bahá’í life and service. The late Mrs. Shantha Sundaram who is my spiritual mother is also on that list.

    Thanks again.
    Sathia Narayan
    Malaysia

  9. Dear Mani
    What a tribute you have written of Mrs. Gibson. I met here briefly in Kuala Lumpur. She is indeed a great teacher and a fine example in many ways. I was sorry to learn that she had lamented deeply for her sorrows and sadness in her own family life.
    She is still remembered and much loved by friends in Malaysia. She must be smiling down from above, to be still remembered and so dearly loved for her devotion and service to the communities in Malaysia and abroad.
    Such souls who have decorated the history of the Faith through their exemplary services deserve to be remembered.

    Leong Ho San
    Sydney
    Australia

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