The Urantia Book in Fiji

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David Linthicum

Early last year I received a referral from a gentleman in Fiji who was requesting information on becoming a distributor of The Urantia Book for Fiji and the surrounding Pacific islands. Over the course of the year Luke Ratuvuki and I established a good working...


By David Linthicum, UAI Dissemination Committee Chair, Oklahoma, United States

Editor’s Note: In another example of interorganizational collaboration, David, the chair of the Dissemination Committee of Urantia Association International (UAI), tells how Urantia Foundation and UAI partnered to get books to Fiji.

Early last year I received a referral from a gentleman in Fiji who was requesting information on becoming a distributor of The Urantia Book for Fiji and the surrounding Pacific islands. Over the course of the year Luke Ratuvuki and I established a good working relationship that resulted in a shipment of books to the isle. The books were shipped on February 21, 2017, and arrived on April 6.

International shipping comes with special challenges and is quite expensive. Luke had originally requested one hundred books, but after consulting with Urantia Foundation’s Tamara Strumfeld, it was decided to “test the waters” with a shipment of twenty books. The Foundation would supply the books, and UAI would pay for the shipping. Unfortunately, only one box containing ten books arrived in Fiji safely. Seven months later, the missing second box was returned to the Foundation damaged.

To my surprise, Luke reported back that he distributed the first ten books on the same day they were received. Four pastors/clergy, the CEO of a major corporation, a local college administrator, the Director of Ministry of Youth and Sports, as well as the Director of Tourism, were among the first recipients. Obviously, we had found fertile soil in Fiji and had identified a wonderful contact in the region.

Luke Ratuvuki is now retired, having served forty years in the government of Fiji. He is the former CEO of Agriculture, Fishery, and Forests and the former Fiji Ambassador to Beijing, China. Luke is sixty-eight and married with three grown children and two lovely granddaughters. He lives in Momi Bay at Nadi Town.

According to Wikipedia, the Republic of Fiji is an island country in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean, about 1,100 nautical miles northeast of New Zealand’s North Island. Fiji is an archipelago of more than 330 islands—of which 110 are permanently inhabited--and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of 18,300 square kilometers. The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu comprise 87 percent of the total population of close to nine hundred thousand. Fiji is one of the most developed economies in the Pacific due to an abundance of forest, mineral, and fish resources; their chief export is sugar. Fiji is 70 percent Christian.

Due to the success of our first shipment of books, it was decided to send another fifty books to Fiji, using a different carrier this time around. Thankfully, that shipment was a complete success—all books arrived safely and in good condition.

There were some minor paperwork challenges with getting the books through Fiji’s customs, but fortunately, Luke was able to work with the customs personnel to smooth things over. As a result, two of the customs workers Luke had been working with decided they wanted a copy of the book for themselves, and they ended up being the first to receive a book from the second shipment. The books arrived just before Christmas on December 20, 2017.

It is very gratifying to see the enthusiasm of people from all over the globe who desire to have a personal copy of The Urantia Book. It is even more comforting to find people “in country” who are willing to do the necessary field work and get books to hungry souls in their country. We look forward to a long and lasting relationship with our newfound friend in Fiji.

Fiji
Fiji

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