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Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a mother, a wife and a bookworm but professionally she is a museologist and a library technician. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.

South-southwest of Pago-Pago: A Bible Lover’s Guide to the Baha’i Faith

Bill Hyman is a dedicated Baha’i who has been serving his community in American Samoa for decades. He has been tirelessly promoting the teachings of the Baha’i Faith in all avenues of the media and most recently this includes the release of a book that combines his profound love for the Bible and some personal anecdotes. The book is cleverly titled South-southwest of Pago-Pago: A Bible Lover’s Guide to the Baha’i Faith and Bill graciously agreed to tell us about it. Here’s our conversation:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in London, England in 1938, and left, at the age of 18, to work overseas for Cable and Wireless Ltd, a communications company, serving in Barbados, Brazil, Trinidad, Jamaica and Belize. I emigrated from Jamaica to Canada and first heard of the Baha’i Faith when serving in Hawaii for a Canadian communications company. I already believed in the Baha’i principles so I was not particularly impressed. My teacher was a converted Methodist minister. I had the view that if this prophet was as important as my teacher was trying to tell me He was, I would have heard about Him long ago. My first wedding was in Hawaii at the Honolulu Baha’i Center though neither my wife nor I were Baha’is at the time. We wanted a religious ceremony and considered ourselves more Baha’i than anything else. I took my bride back to Canada but the marriage did not last long and the resulting trauma made me look back at the Faith again. I needed a stable platform. After more firesides and study I decided to become a Baha’i, partially to check it out from the inside. Both my first wife and I became Baha’is after our divorce, and our second spouses were Baha’is.

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Zaynab and the Women of Zanjan [Audio Version]

Baha’i Blog is delighted to share an audio recording of one of our articles titled, “Zaynab and the Women of Zanjan,” in which we learn a little about Zaynab, a young peasant girl who became a fierce warrior, and other female followers of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith. In this recording you’ll hear the voice of the article’s author, Melanie. Continue reading

Little Champions of Justice – A Children’s Book Only Available for a Limited Time

There are few things I enjoy more than sharing an armchair with my children and reading a book together. Despite access to a great public library and its incredible wealth of resources, illustrated books for children that aim to inspire change in the world are rare treasures. I was over the moon when I heard about a team of collaborators who are working on a book called Little Champions of Justice. The team consists of Shirin, Alyssa, Yas, Anjali, and Neysan and their book tells the true stories of eight remarkable girls and boys from around the world whose courage, determination and sense of justice will inspire its readers. The eight stories feature diverse protagonists, challenge gender stereotypes and racial biases, and find role models anyone can identify with.

Unlike other books that are available through a variety of outlets and over a long period of time, the team has chosen to only print their books once, and to only make as many copies as are ordered before December 12th (you can purchase a copy here).

Caught up in the joy and excitement of this book’s creation, we got in touch with the team behind Little Champions of Justice, and here’s what they shared with us: Continue reading

9 Artistic Expressions for the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab (Part 1)

It is humbling to see such an incredible flourishing of creative expressions blossom in honour of the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, the Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith! You can feast your eyes and your ears on works of art, poetry, music, videos and dance from all corners of the planet on bicentenary.baha.org.

Savouring these artistic expressions makes me think of this call of the Universal House of Justice:

At the heart of these festivities must be a concerted effort to convey a sense of what it means for humanity that these two Luminaries rose successively above the horizon of the world. Of course, this will take different forms in different contexts, extending to a myriad artistic and cultural expressions, including songs, audio-visual presentations, publications and books. Such initiatives, coupled with widespread celebrations that are both uplifting and reverent, are also sure to spark the curiosity and wonder of many who may as yet be unfamiliar with the names of the Bab and Baha’u’llah.

Here we share 9 of the rich works of art found on bicentenary.bahai.org. Be sure to check out the site for a more! Continue reading