Santa Paula Times

Fire and Dirt!

March 26, 2004
By Mark Eaton The stories coming out of Israel these days are often of unpleasant actions, killing of innocent people by terrorists, military struggles over disputed territories, constant bickering between political parties, etc. But occasionally good news seeps out, and even though it’s reporting something that happened over ten years ago, it’s worth sharing at this time.Whereas its been a couple of years since the Opening of the Terraces in Sept 2001. It marked the completion of a long time dream for the International Center of the Baha’i Faith. For two decades a monumental building project has been going on in Haifa, Israel on Mt. Carmel with the erection of several new buildings to complete the Ark envisioned over 100 years ago by the Baha’is of the World.Mt. Carmel is known as God’s Holy Mountain. It’s the site of Elijah’s Cave and also the Home for the German Templar Colony whose arrival in Haifa coincided with the arrival of Baha’u’llah and His family to begin their long exile from their home in Persia. Since 1863 it has become the World Center of the Baha’i Commonwealth.Construction of the Ark involved building five structures, to house the World Center. During the early stages of the construction there were many setbacks, problems and situations that undoubtedly caused many headaches for the builders. Being who they were prayers were probably often said for devine assistance. Here is an interesting story of one of those occasions. Taken from the Jan-Feb 1995 issue of Brilliant Star (copyright permission obtained) this is a true story as told by the Chief of Security at the Baha’i World Centre.The Scene: The Mt. Carmel Project OfficeThe boss is not going to be happy about this delay, thought one of the crew. The big problem was a huge pile of dirt. The mounds of dirt were ready for moving.The hauling contractors refused to haul it away. They wanted more money. No one else could work. The dirt was in their way. The problem needed a fast solution. What can we do? Everyone wondered. The contractors argued over whose costs were greater. The Project Manager worried about the delay of the building work. And to make matters worse, there was an awful smell filling the air. Smoke darkened the sky.Meanwhile: At the city dump. Sometime on Friday, October 22, 1993, during a Hamsin (hot desert winds) a fire broke out in a large garbage pit near Haifa. It covered the city with stinking smoke. The fire was burning deep in the garbage and plastic rubbish. The water from the fire hoses couldn’t reach it. Three days later there was no relief from the fire, the smoke, or the smell. The city officials of Haifa became desperate.
The Scene: Security Office at the Baha’i World Centre. The telephone rang, ‘Dirt?’. You need dirt to put out a fire?...I’ll check!: answered the Chief of Security.The Scene: Mt. Carmel-God’s Holy Mountain. Of course they had dirt!, The had lots of dirt! The city could have all the dirt it needed. The Project Managers worries were over. The city workers moved the dirt with great speed. Every available city worker and every piece of equipment that could move dirt went to God’s Holy Mountain. Over fifty truckloads of dirt were hauled to the dump that day. The city hauled the dirt away at no cost to the Baha’is. The fire was smothered out. The city’s problem with the fire was solved.The Next Day: The Hebrew newspaper headlines read. : BAHA’IS SAVE THE DAY.:The newspaper article thanked the Baha’is for coming to the rescue of the city of Haifa.The Lesson Learned: This is another example of Baha’u’llah ensuring that NOTHING will stand in the way of this Arc being built. Not even dirt!Sometimes prayers are answered even before they are uttered.