As the teachings of the Baha’i Faith encourage everyone to serve others, many Baha’is choose to dedicate a year or more of their lives to full-time volunteering, whether it be by assisting with community-building efforts in a specific neighbourhood or village, or helping at a school, Baha’i temple, or even at the Baha’i World Centre in the Holy Land. This period of time is often referred to as a “year of service”.
My dear friend Nasim, a young Baha’i in Australia, decided to take a year off and spend it serving at the Baha’i World Centre in Haifa, Israel. When she returned to her home in Sydney, she decided to put a book together about her experiences. The book is called A Year of Blessings, and I caught up with Nasim to find out more about it:
Baha’i Blog: Hi Nasim! Can you tell us a little bit about the book and what it’s about?
This book is about my reflections on the spiritual blessings and transformative lessons I experienced during my year of service in the Holy Land (Haifa, Israel) back in 2018-2019. It shares glimpses of the beautiful, sacrificial and rewarding experience of devoting a full year serving at the Baha’i World Centre, and how it strengthened my love, certitude, and devotion to our Beloved Cause. In the book, I share stories about how tests (a.k.a. blessings in disguise) helped me grow and strengthen many spiritual qualities such as patience, resilience, love, wisdom, and steadfastness, to name a few. The book features full-page photographs of Baha’i Holy Places that I had the chance to photograph in the cities of Haifa, Akka, and in Bahji, as well as a compilation of quotations from the Baha’i Writings that inspired me. I hope these will also inspire the readers and encourage them to ponder their meaning as they continue serving in their respective fields.
Baha’i Blog: Why did you decide to write the book and why was it important for you on a personal level to do this?
As a creative soul, I always look for ways to express myself through art. But paintings and music were not enough to encapsulate the life-changing experience I had serving in the Holy Land. Therefore, since the start of the pandemic and with the help of a journal I kept during my service, I started writing my reflections on the impact my year of service had on my life. The words came naturally to me as I remained open, honest, and transparent about my experiences. It was important for me to express myself through words in this way in order for those time-sensitive memories in my mind to never fade and live on forever in something I can physically hold. Putting my emotions into words allowed me to gain a deeper appreciation and gratitude for the friendships I made and for being entrusted with that blessed service opportunity. Since the beginning, I knew that I wanted to write a book not just for my benefit but most importantly for the benefit of all, particularly youth, and to inspire them through my experience.
Baha’i Blog: How do you hope people who read the book will be affected?
I hope that sharing my learnings, experiences and spiritual journey serving in the Holy Land can encourage, motivate and inspire the youth of the world to undertake a period of service in any field, place or time in their life. My dearest wish is that the reflections and experiences shared in this book can uplift the friends to arise and continue persevering through the path of service, so that they may accompany and inspire each other, and together reflect the light of unity upon the world of humanity.
Baha’i Blog: Congratulations on your book Nasim, and thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview!
You can find copies of Nasim Pourahmary D’s book at your local Baha’i bookstore, and you can also find it online here: A Year of Blessings