Dr Kirk Johnson, a member of the Baha’i Faith’s Continental Board of Counsellors for Australasia, is in the country to learn about the capacity building and community development efforts of the Baha’is in Samoa.
He will visit Baha’i communities in Samoa and American Samoa, where he will see the members striving to be of service in their neighbourhoods and villages.
“Throughout the entire world, Baha’is are coming together in small groups in their neighbourhoods and villages in efforts to strengthen the devotional character of the community life,” he says “by providing classes that nurture the tender hearts and minds of children and facilitating groups that channel the surging energies of junior youth.”
Dr Johnson says Baha’is are working to create unity and peace in their neighbourhoods.
“Through programmes of study open to all, they help people of varied backgrounds learn together and apply spiritual teachings to their lives.”
Dr. Johnson says the Baha’is are particularly working to help children and youth develop strong moral characters, so that they grow up to contribute positively to our society.
“The Baha’i scriptures tell us “regard man as a mine, rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit there from.”
Dr Johnson points out that “the Baha’i Faith was established by Baha’u’llah whose name means the Glory of God in 1863 in Persia.
“It is founded on the principles of the oneness of God and the oneness of mankind. Baha’is believe that Baha’u’llah is the latest Messenger of God with a new revelation from God to guide humanity towards its Maker.”
Almost 160 years ago, Baha’u’llah wrote; “The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men. Suffer it not to become a source of dissension and discord, of hate and enmity.”
Dr. Johnson says “the Samoan people are indeed spiritually blessed to have within their midst the beautiful Baha’i House of Worship at Tiapapata. This temple and its peaceful gardens are open to people from all religious backgrounds to visit for prayer and meditation.”
Dr Johnson is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Guam. He spent most of his childhood in the mountains of India where he attended a Baha’i School with students from 34 different countries.
This sparked his love of the diversity of the human race and an understanding of the need for unity in diversity.
He is interested in the unique and noble culture of Samoa and notes that many of its fine traditional values match those of the Baha’i Faith.