Family Gathering in the National Forest
July 15, 2001
The Rainbow Gathering really felt like a worthwhile trip for all of us who were there. For me the best thing about the rainbow gathering was enjoying being with my friends, and seeing that they enjoyed it so much.
After months of planning, on the 30th of June a group of us, six "young adult" readers made our way deep into the mountains of Idaho to establish a "Urantia camp" at the national rainbow gathering. The gathering was in a very remote, and beautiful, national forest location. Anna and I traveled to Kansas City to meet with Noah Wood, whom we car pooled with to the gathering. We had a really wonderful time stopping in Boulder and Jerome Idaho on the way visiting reader friends. In Jerome we also met with Ashley Pierce, Shane Coetner and Jacob Dix who spent the day traveling into the remote parts of Idaho's Sawtooth mountains. On the way back we were also blessed to be able to meet with great friends in Idaho, Utah and Colorado. (great times but another story)
Our first goal was to find Joe and Arrow, two other young adult readers who wanted to join us. We knew they were at the gathering, and that they had brought a tepee, though that they might not have been able to put up the tepee without our help. It's a long hike from the parking area to the gathering. We all hoped that we would find them quickly, knowing that it could take a few days or longer to find them among the 20-30,000 people spread over a nine square miles. There were other readers who were there, even ones who we planned to meet, but time and space seemed to limit us among the thousands.
By the time we got to the gathering it was almost dark so we hurried to find a place to camp while keeping an eye out for Joe and Arrow. We decided that "tepee circle" would be the best place to try to find them, and ended up setting up camp really close to tepee circle. Soon after we had set up our camp a man came from a nearby tepee to ask if we could move our tents farther from his campsite. I told him that we had camped so close to tepee circle because we thought we might find our friends there. He asked who our friends were. I said we were looking for Joe and Arrow, and he said, "that's their tepee right there" (very close to us), and told us that their son Marcus was asleep in his tepee as Joe and Arrow had driven to Boise for a supply run! He invited us to his tepee, and what a surprise it was for Joe and Arrow to find us there when they got back from Boise!
That was the beginning of a great time together, five days of bonding. We put our "Urantia Camp" on the rainbow gathering area map at information, and put up a signs about how to find us.
A few readers we had never met found our camp and told us how overjoyed they were to find other readers at the gathering. One of them told us how it was an answer to his prayers.
We spent some time together finding short, truth packed quotes, which we thought would be well received, and made small signs with these short UB quotes, acknowledging the source. We put about 30 of the little quote-signs up, spread out over the miles of wilderness trails, and we were amazed to see how well received they seemed to be. Each of us noticed how people would stop and read the quotes and sometimes mention things like, "Wow, another one of those Urantia Book quotes, RIGHT ON!"
We had nightly study groups in Joe and Arrow's tepee, which always turned out to be introductions to the book for the new people who would show up. We would pick some good sections to read and discuss together, and all the people who came once seemed to come back to our camp again to visit with us.
There were so many beautiful, idealistic, and friendly people there and the environment was so warm and welcoming that we all wished we had planned to stay longer. I will wrap this up as others who were there have said they will write something about it, and I don't want to say it all. (I could go on and on!)
I thought of the whole thing as an experiment, to see if the Rainbow gathering would be as good a place to have a meeting of young UB readers and do tactful outreach. The experiment was a success, as it seems to me, I put my feet in the water, and the water was just the right temperature. So now that I know this, next year (hopefully) or the next time I'll plan to have more time to spend there, I'll plan to get there and set up a camp much earlier, and "take a swim".
Mike M. (& Anna and whoever else who were along but won't get the chance to write about it)
P.2047 - §5 Devote your life to proving that love is the greatest thing in the world.
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