Urantia Foundation's Representatives
An all day meeting of URANTIA Foundation's Representatives and Foundation personnel took place in New York on August 2, 2000, prior to the International URANTIA Association conference. Fifteen representatives attended as well as many of the Branch Office Managers. Information was exchanged, many questions were answered, and social interaction enabled new friendships to be made and old ones strengthened.
More and more of URANTIA Foundation's global work is being done by the volunteer corps of URANTIA Foundation Representatives. These men and women work tirelessly, on their own time, to seed the URANTIA revelation in their respective countries and regions. Many readers live in countries where it is difficult to obtain The URANTIA Book. Either it is not yet available in the language spoken, or the book shops do not yet stock the book. These readers know about the hardships involved in establishing availability of the book in their countries.
Experience, in the United States and other countries, has shown that the fostering of study groups and reader activities is an essential part of the early dissemination of the teachings of The URANTIA Book. Awareness of the book is spread at first by word of mouth. Then as more people start to make inquiries and requests for it, the bookshops become aware of the existence of The URANTIA Book. The objective is to create a supply and demand factor in the bookshops so that booksellers take notice and agree to carry the book. Therefore an important aspect of the work of the Foundation Representatives is to foster the socialization of readers so that groups become active in helping with the initial process. In addition, Representatives often assist with library placement programs and establish contacts in the book trade.
Following are some highlights from one of this year's quarterly Foundation Representative reports.
Chile — The Representative in Chile has been busy visiting with readers in Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador and establishing the Spanish-speaking Internet School project, el Foro-Escuela, (http://www.librodeurantia.org/). He also led the team that prepared a reader conference in Santiago in June.
Colombia — The Representative in Colombia reports that he has responded to many telephone calls and received many letters this quarter. He has been communicating with bookshops encouraging them to carry the book. He is assisted by a reader who travels around the country placing the books in the consenting bookshops. He helped those participating bookshops at the book fair in Colombia during April and May.
Estonia — The Estonian Representative reported that during the first quarter of this year he has received many telephone calls and letters and has been placing English and Russian books in bookshops. He has translated the "Guidelines for Study Groups," "Selected Excerpts," and "Description" brochures into Estonian and has been distributing them. He has recently given two introductory talks on The URANTIA Book to interested groups in Estonia.
Indonesia — The new Indonesian Representative reports that he is maintaining a Web site in the Indonesian language, where he displays information on The URANTIA Book. During a six-month period the site received 550 visitors. (The Web site address is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/urantia-indonesia/ ) He has also established an e-mail discussion list with eleven participants at the present time.
Lithuania — The Lithuanian Representative has been giving talks to various audiences: 200 persons in Vilnius; 50 persons in Panevezys; and 200 persons in Kaunas.
Field Representative — Our Field Representative, who has placed over 1200 books in Indian libraries, reported from India about the cruel reality of the living conditions there. He described the drastic over-population, the associated social problems, and the deadly pollution levels. He considers the introduction of The URANTIA Book and its teachings into this country to be the only sure way to treat the causes of the social problems there. He states: "India still has a great number of utterly good, forward-looking people who could each make spectacularly good use of The URANTIA Book."
By October our Field Representative will have placed 1500 books in libraries throughout India and 200 in the United Kingdom. He has also placed a total of 40 into Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Cambodia.
Senegal — The Senegalese Representative reports that he has been responding to many telephone calls from readers of Le Livre d'URANTIA; has donated many French books; has fostered a study group of seven which meets twice a week and includes teachers and school staff; has fostered a five-member women's study group which meets every day; has fostered a study group of twelve long-time readers who meet twice a week; and has facilitated a study group of seven new readers meeting twice a week. Apart from these groups, there are seven more small groups of one or two participants to whom the Representative offers assistance. One additional study group of 17 participants was recently formed. This group meets daily to discuss sub ects chosen by its members.
The Foundation's Senegalese Representative was part of URANTIA Foundation's delegation that attended the Parliament of World Religions in Cape Town, South Africa. He concluded his report with these remarks: "In Africa the book distribution is facing a problem that people cannot afford to buy the book because of their low living standard. The stock of books donated is depleting. Our association is increasingly face to face with the need to cooperate on an interfaith basis, not only in Senegal but in other countries as well. The dissemination of the teachings (or of the book itself) in an Islamic cultural setting, and in a country where 80 per cent of the population confess Islam, requires ingenuity."
Uruguay — Twin brothers are serving as the Foundation's Representatives in Uruguay and report that they have formed a study group for new readers. They are seeking permission from the Minister of Interior to visit prisons and give lectures on The URANTIA Book. Their main concern is the high price and poor availability of the book in Uruguay. The Foundation will be working with them to establish distribution channels to make the book more affordable and more widely available.
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