April 17 – 19, 2015

I do not recall the Fellowship ever having a book booth in Vancouver and it seemed like a good time to go and see if we could get some books into the community.

When I asked Nathan Janzen if he would help me line up some volunteers, he was quick to take charge. Within two weeks he had an excellent group of volunteers lined up for the three days and places for my partner Aurora and me to stay.

We rolled in late Thursday afternoon and after a brief rest met with a group of local readers for a study/social that turned into a social & remembrance supper. We visited a while about the upcoming weekend and the Pacific Northwest Gathering coming up in September. Looks like several plan to attend the gathering in Hood River, Oregon.

The Expo went well with Saturday being the busiest day. I noticed a variety of ethnic groups, Asians being the largest. There were many First Nations visitors and I had to quickly get refreshed on what in the UB would be of interest to them. We all had memorable interactions. One I enjoyed was seeing an older man standing near our booth whom I asked if he had seen the Urantia Book. He said he was just waiting for his wife who was at a nearby booth. His statement usually interprets to “My wife drug me hear and I’m not interested in anything you weird people have”.  Instead of dropping the conversation I persisted by inviting him to take a look and he came closer and let me show it to him. At one point I could sense he was somewhat interested so when he said he had to go find his wife I did not take it as a brush off. Sure enough, he brought his wife over and showed her the book and we talked a bit. She went about the tables picking up one of every piece of literature we had, then they walked away again.  An hour or so later as I was talking to another visitor I glanced over to see him pointing to me and telling our volunteer they had spoken with me and wanted to get a book. He looked pretty excited. I was glad I kept up the conversation with him.

There were two deaf persons who stopped by the booth. The first had to use a walker to get around and had other issues than just deafness. I had seen her pass by the booth a couple times and said a prayer that she would come by. When she did we began our communication with her iPad. Then spirit took over. Her message was that she had read some of the Urantia Book online but found it difficult to understand. I gestured to the book and opened it to the history papers and as I would turn to an interesting section I would give her a thumbs up that she would not have any trouble with this section. As this progressed her face lit up in a most genuine and moving way. When I turned to the Jesus papers it was now two thumbs up. Even though she was deaf, my communication with her was far more genuine and deeply felt than any other communication I experienced all weekend. To her delight, I gave her a copy of the book.

The other deaf woman came to the booth with her daughter, who signed with her to communicate. That also was a touching experience to see the daughter signing my words to her mother. I could notice the signing was being positively embellished by the daughter as she herself was getting increasingly interested. I told them I was willing to give mom a book but the mother took out the money and paid me for it. These experiences touched me in many ways, especially when contrasted to the next day (Sunday) when I had a series of visitors who were reluctant to buy a book even after much discussion about it.

We wound up selling 28 books and gifting 6 for a total of 34 book distributed. There was much interest in study groups and the local readers are reaching out to those on our sign up list.

I have said this before, and it bears repeating, that the funds provided to bring the UB to people in all parts of the world is so appreciated by the Outreach workers, the readers we touch when we visit their community, and the recipients of the books we distribute as we pass through these communities. I trust one day there will be adequate funds to reach many more area’s than we can currently reach with our available funding. All who contribute to this work deserve a big THANK YOU!

Thomas Orjala

Outreach Committee