State of the Union / When Michel met Sophie

Michel and Sophie

An African Baha'i meets an American faithful who was always drawn by the call of faraway lands.

First sighting

Michel Nkouaga’s father, an engineer from the Cameroonian village Ebolowa, always liked detective novels. One day, in the library, he spotted a title that looked promising: “Thief in the Night.” He took it home, not realizing it was about the principles of the Baha’i faith, one of the world’s youngest major religions.

And, well, as his son, sitting at the Baha’i World Headquarters in Haifa several decades later, puts it, “That turned out to be a good read.”

Michel, 33, along with his four brothers and one sister, grew up following the teachings of the Bahá'u'lláh, considered by the faithful to be God’s latest messenger and the one who founded the religion in 1863 in Iran. Michel first came to Israel –where both Bahá'u'lláh and the Bab, the accepted forerunner of the faith, are buried – for a month-long visit in 2005.

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