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Mark Bloomfield in South Africa

Report #1
Report #2
Report #3
Report #4
Report #5
Report #6
Report #7
Report #8
Report #9
Report #10
Report #11
Report #12
The Day the Reports Stopped Coming

Reports 13-16+ [posted by
Rick Warren on UBRON, the UAI Forum and Truthbook Chat Room]

Here and Now
A Letter of Gratitude

Merindi Swadling  merindi@hotmail.com

Tamara Wood


Goal = $15,000
Raised =

Thanks to:
Peter Hayman
Michael Strauss
George Thornbury
Hollis Williams
Ron Zebal
Dennis Nicomede
Nancy Pearson
Richard Morgan
Jacques Lecouturier
Kim Terry
Judy Nyland
Vernon & Charlene Morrow
Barry Norby
Dylan Roberts
Flor Robles
Fred Beckner
Bill & Kaye Cooper
John Creger
Rod Holland
Dick Johnson
Michael Bertola
Midwayer Enterprises
Douglas Parker
Jeannie Scott
Dean White
Avi & Lila Dogim
Joy Brandt
MaryJo Garascia
Rhonda Richardson
Larry & Donna Whelan
Richard Voss
Dan Amyx
Shiela Hansen
Dylan Roberts
Correcting Time sales
MBS Matching Funds ($1,500)


By January 2008 a total of $16,825.00 was raised, which includes $8,806.46 via Urantia Foundation/UAI, and $8,018.54 via Mind, Body, and Spirit, Inc.!
Those who have given via MBS are listed in the column on the left ---
THANKS to you all!

* * *

INTRODUCTION by Merindi Swadling:
Mark Bloomfield, as many of you already know, has dedicated his life to Urantia Book seeding and is particularly passionate about the subject. He is highly skilled at placing Urantia Books in public libraries, seminaries, universities and other places of learning, and has done so on just about every continent. Currently Mark is seeding books in South Africa. [Please read Mark's reports below for up-to-the-minute information.

Merindi, a second-generation Urantia Book reader from Australia, and Tamara Wood, also a devoted reader who works at Urantia Foundation in Chicago, have been overseeing the fundraising and book shipment for Mark’s South African project.

Saskia Raevouri adds, "Having spent several weeks traveling with Mark (and Sue Tennant) last year in connection with FreeSchools, I can vouch for his devotion to the book-seeding mission as well as his frugality. Not one cent will be wasted as he travels cheaply from place to place with a small backpack (never flying if he can take a bus!), staying in rock-bottom accommodations, and eating the simplest local food, with only one goal in mind: to see that the Urantia Book is placed in every center of learning in every country of the world."

“Ghosts in the Machine” by Mark Bloomfield

July 18, 2007
"It's the blood of the Druids that never shall rest..."  Stan Rogers
Books, Bucks, Bloomfield: the three 'B's.' Wherever, whenever and however these three ingredients come together, results always have and always shall quickly follow.

In this instance, the third 'B' was the shipment of 480 large hardcover Urantia Books from 533 courtesy of an anonymous donor that eventually came into my possession, 380 of which were delivered to my small boarding house room in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on Thursday June 7, 2007, whilst the remaining 100 were kept for me at the shipping agent's warehouse in Durban where they arrived by sea.

Just five weeks later on Wednesday 11th July, 310 books had been seeded across the nation the story of which is the subject of this special report. By the 16th, another 40 copies had arrived in Windhoek, Namibia, with me by bus for the Namibian seeding and the remaining 130 were left at my lodgings in Port Elizabeth to be seeded upon my return to South Africa, both of which will be described in subsequent reports in the coming weeks.

A second shipment of 500 books has been urgently requested in order to do southern Africa any kind of justice, the case for support for which has been included beneath this report (see below).

From the outset I knew I was going to need more books. Five minutes after entering Port Elizabeth (P.E.) Public Library, my first South African seeding target, the lady librarian had put the library's internal distribution network to their other 21 metro branches at my disposal and asked how many copies I could spare. My reply of "22" caused her face to light up. That very same day, visits to the local college and the Greek Orthodox community among others confirmed the trend: first world infrastructure, third world openness and approachability.

Perhaps back in the apartheid era things may have been different but as matters stood, the whites have had to embrace change whether they liked it or not whilst the blacks and coloureds have started to create their own middle class with time on their hands to do more than just try to survive the day.

Living out of cheap boarding houses and backpacker hostels and eating simply as has always been my way when in the field, all the remaining books were stored under the stair well of my boarding house before taking the day bus from P.E. to Durban that weekend to pick up the 100 books waiting for me at the shipping agent's warehouse.

Though South Africa's mostly first world infrastructure helps in terms of a good road system and internal public library distribution networks, life is relatively expensive which increases the need to work quickly. But as this nation's gun crime statistics show it's three major cities as the world's most dangerous after Baghdad, whilst taxis are too expensive and city mini-buses usually more hassle than they're worth, seeding cities on a shoestring must therefore be done nearly entirely on foot despite the inherent risks.

Durban was the first major urban hit with 85 books seeded across the greater metro area, once again balancing the block seeding of public library systems with the individual hand seeding of both secular and religious centres of learning. Like the 8000 plus seedings of previous years,  a record is being faithfully kept of each and every centre where the revelation has been given, such a record in and of itself occasionally making interesting reading.
An hour from Durban, the town of Pietermaritzburg, capital of the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal was hand-seeded in a single morning. A visit to both city and provincial library system headquarters there proved that between the two,  I could, had I have so desired, block seed the entire shipment of books there even without leaving the province.

After returning to P.E. to finish seeding there, a hundred books went with me on the overnight bus back to Cape Town where I had arrived in the country from my previous assignment in the Far East.

Each morning with a backpack of books on my shoulders, your fieldworker walked through both well to do and slum neighbourhoods to reach the day's targets armed only with a telescopic steel baton in his back pocket to fend off murderous armed street thugs.

In addition to the usual secular seeding targets, the usual religious ones: bishops and archbishops, bible colleges and seminaries, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Bahai centres of learning. On the 26th of June, even the Cape Town Church of Scientology accepted the revelation for it's library after a long and friendly presentation.
After returning once again to P.E., a morning was spent seeding historic Grahamstown nearby before another overnight bus with another hundred books inland this time to Bloemfontain, capital city of the Orange Free State. Arriving with only a thin sweater and rain mac over my shirt at 3.30 in the morning into exactly minus 6 celsius, I was shivering almost uncontrollably as I tried to guard the books from both predatory fake taxi drivers and the street thugs who had clocked me, all the while carrying every cent I had in the whole world in cash around my waist.

A few days later with 60 books in place I loaded the remaining 40 on to the long haul bus to Windhoek, Namibia that I could seed before returning to S.A. on a new three month visa to enable me to finish seeding the last of the remaining books still stored in P.E.

As the books were being loaded on to the bus, the burly driver in broken Afrikaans-English asked me if I was going to Namibia. Upon my confirmation he said the books would most likely be confiscated by Namibian customs and not to blame him if that happened. I told him I'd take my chances. Having been in a string of similar situations before, Michael was once again petitioned to the effect that I can't help him if he doesn't help me.

Knowing something was going to have to give as I waited in transit from Bloemfontain in the small town of Upington near the border for a scheduled 6.30pm departure for Windhoek, it occurred to me that for some reason the bus had not re-emerged for boarding yet. Six hours later, it finally re-appeared which meant that instead of arriving at the Namibian border in mid-evening, we got there at two in the morning, only to be waved through the customs section by bleary-eyed customs officials who wanted only to go back to sleep.

Having broken down in the middle of the Kalahari Desert later that same morning, we finally limped onwards with only two forward gears arriving in Windhoek some nine hours behind schedule from where this report is now being written.

Tomorrow morning seeding in earnest will begin here but that will be covered in the next special report in the near future.

The "ghost" of revealed truth continues to quietly filter into the machine that is both the religious and secular establishment and all that, on a worldwide scale. The World Seeding Mission ensures that such a benign apparition just keeps appearing and ever more frequently to the end that whereas previously stumbling across fifth epochal truth would have been close to impossible, the time will come when it becomes almost impossible not to.

Epochal revelations markedly change a planet's history and the fifth shall be no exception so long as it's followers do what needs to be done to continue it's worldwide dissemination and right now that means among other things another 500 books to your fieldworker at the earliest possible convenience.

In search of the Father's will,
Mark Philip Bloomfield

Second UB Shipment to Southern Africa: The Case for Support by Mark Bloomfield

June 29, 2007
A twenty-minute barrage of searching, probing questions from the residing reverend of the Lutheran Theological Institute in Pietermaritzburg before gratefully and graciously accepting the Urantia Book into his institute's library collection.
Free breakfast plus a one-hundred-Rand donation (about $15) towards my seeding mission on behalf of the Durban Catholic Diocesan Chancery in appreciation of their free copy.

A personal audience with the Archbishop of Cape Town who after accepting his free copy wanted to chat about Mother Teresa whom we had both known.
The Durban Theosophical Society offering me their premises as a free base of operations after receiving their copy.

The retired Methodist Bishop of Port Elizabeth, having founded what is called the Centre for Spirituality, Wholeness and Reconciliation in neighbouring Humewood, after a long question-and-answer-session about the book assuring me he will read it carefully then show it around all his closest colleagues in the area.

The Port Elizabeth Bible Society freely conceding that the book they had received could in certain circumstances easily become more use to them than the Bible.
Each municipal and provincial library system in turn invariably and enthusiastically offering use of their internal distribution networks to reliably get as many donated Urantia Books out to as many of their numerous branch libraries as we'll care to donate to.

* * *
These typical examples of recent experiences of hand seeding the Urantia Book into various learning centres of South Africa are only a few among many others that could be mentioned thus far. In fact, with over a quarter of the first shipment of 480 books already seeded, I have yet to experience even a single negative encounter whilst presenting the revelation.

It is this somewhat pleasantly surprising “third-world” openness towards new truth, combined with a first-world infrastructure and degree of reliability to get books where they are needed with the added advantage of English being near universally spoken and understood, that makes South Africa one of the world's most desirable seeding targets. That South Africa is both the economic and civilizational powerhouse of the continent, together with her population centres being such diverse melting pots, only adds to the case for hand seeding this and surrounding countries carefully, systematically and thoroughly.

In order for that to happen, however, we need at the very least another shipment of 500 Urantia books to Durban in the coming weeks where they will be relayed overland to Johannesburg where I will await them. Without such, the public library systems cannot be fully utilized to bring higher truth to earnest truth seekers, and many learning centres like the ones alluded to earlier will remain sadly unministered to which, in my view, would be both a tragedy and a travesty.

A second shipment would fill all the gaps in South Africa and also enable neigbouring Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique to be similarly hand-seeded. And with the seeding of all such countries complete, enough books will be set aside for the hand seeding of basket-case Zimbabwe with its 8000% inflation and 80% unemployment. (As an ultra-high risk mission it will naturally be left to last.)

Your fieldworker, as should by now be well known, is able and willing to remain in the field on an indefinite basis and as always is daily adapting to the environment in which he finds himself. The cost and means of shipping and seeding books here is a known quantity, and enough UB quotes exist that point to the calm, careful, free and loving presentation of the fifth epochal revelation to the potential and actual leader/teacher strata of all races, nations and religions of the world as being Michael's plan and the Father's will as to make a small book of.

In this light, I therefore ask you my brethren to please help offset the cost of donation books and/or to towards the small trickle of funds needed for my daily living expenses as to allow this all to happen over the coming months.
In search of the Father's will,
Mark Philip Bloomfield

Nocturne: A Special Report from Namibia
by Mark Bloomfield

July 15, 2007
If you're one of those far-seeing visionary types who in their slowly growing numbers are either graciously supporting or thinking of supporting the Fifth Epochal World Seeding Mission, you might perhaps gain a new perspective on the dynamics of these transition occurrences between dispensations by putting yourself into the shoes of the following person:

You are the rector of Namibia's largest Protestant theological seminary situated in the quiet southern outer suburbs of the nation's capital, Windhoek. As if from nowhere, a tall European figure whom you'd probably remember even if he'd only come to fix your air conditioner is ushered into your office whereupon he greets you politely by your name (however he found that, introduces himself, and explains the reason for his unexpected visit.

He's courteous but confident and calm, focused but friendly and articulate enough but in an unrehearsed and spontaneous way. As a man of the cloth, between the person before you and what he has brought you, your sixth sense quickly kicks in and you send word to all your colleagues to immediately meet in the conference room to which you gently lead your unexpected though not unwelcome guest.
Ten minutes have elapsed.  You and all your lecturer colleagues are studying several open Urantia Books whilst seated around a large rectangular conference table, of which from the centre of its length your guest explains in animated detail both the gift he has brought together with what effect such has had upon his own life.

In all that he says, Christian teachings that you are all too familiar with keep shining through. In expressing how his experience with the book increased his love for God and His Son as well as his desire to serve his fellows, touching upon his subsequent humanitarian background, he correctly alludes to this as the acid test of the book's validity: that a bad tree cannot bring good fruit and vice versa, and for his own part, "by their fruits you shall know them."

Fair enough also that mention is made how truth sometimes appears in unorthodox raiment and at any hour not merely from a passing stranger but that even the highest such might be uttered by a small child. But whereas non-Christian religionists and atheists alike might never pick up a Bible, no such defensive shields are raised against the Urantia Book as a book of truth which by nonetheless validating all truth that the Bible contains, thus becomes a potentially powerful untapped resource for all truth-sensitive Christian denominations.
Questioned as to the book's origins just as tea and sandwiches were being served, he answered with a flurry of questions of his own:

"Did God stop loving us 2,000 years ago? And would He not wish to continue to reveal His love for us as and when we evolve new capacities to receive such? Would He not want to fill such new found capacities even to overflowing?"
"God desires all His children to grow in grace and spiritual maturity."
Holding the milk pot to all present after topping up his tea, "We cannot keep just taking the milk of spiritual infancy after growing to the point of needing to part take of solid food," as he gestured with his eyes to the sandwiches.

"Besides, show me a Bible reader who doesn't believe in both miracles and revelation! This book only continues what pattern was first established in the scriptures themselves millenia ago."

It was not so much the immediacy of each forthcoming answer as though he'd been asked the same questions a thousand times over as much as each being not 'an' answer but rather 'the' answer . . . the only one he could have given and the one that went straight through us.

Even quizzed as to his own background, motivations, how he had arrived here and where his home was, his answers were revealing:

A simple layman who, having found something he believes to be true, beautiful and good, and thanks to a benevolent publisher and a small clutch of generous supporters, simply enjoys freely and voluntarily sharing such with his brethren the world over. Without so much as a tent for a homebase and no vested financial interest in any ultimate result, a simple pleasure is taken in laying the book before all nations, races and religions of the world that they might have their own experience with it.

And when the time eventually came for mutual parting blessings having left two copies of the book for the seminary, he departs as he arrived, walking with his day pack on his shoulders, a good hour's walk back to the city, never to be seen or heard of again.

* * *
Whilst any seeding target is only rarely given two books, the above is otherwise in no way untypical of what happens on a near daily basis whilst seeding any given country. Of only 42 copies brought into Namibia (reflective of its tiny population to land ratio), a whole string of parallel experiences could have been narrated.

From Windhoek, the four-hour journey across the Namib Desert to seed the final half dozen books in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, (hitchhiking to and from the latter to save on a taxi fare) both on the Atlantic coast, where this report is now being written. Then, the 35-hour overland haul this Sunday back to Port Elizabeth via Cape Town to pick up the last batch of books for the further 20-hour haul to Kimberley in the Northern Cape, then on to Uppington and Springbok to finish this the first phase of the southern Africa drop of 480 books.

Immediately thereafter I will have need of a further 500 books into Durban port for this most essential of all missions to be able to continue without delay but that can happen only with your full support so ask your Heavenly Father in the meantime what He would have you do.

Additionally, with separate funds set aside in Australia to replicate the free schools model for impoverished and illiterate children successfully employed in northern India and to a lesser extent on the Thai-Burma border, I've decided to hold off for a while until I reach some of Africa's most hopelessly failed states to which Namibia cannot rightfully claim to belong.

As for a revelation's seeding, you can see by the earlier example that once bestowed, things can never be the same again for any learning centre visited:  the revelation, once found cannot be 'un-found', in as much as you can't change history.

See here the 'crossover' nature of these inter-dispensational days as two tectonic plates of world history uneasily abut one another. As each learning centre is presented with the revealed truth of a new epoch, one dispensational clock within each centre stops simultaneous to the clock of the next immediately starting . . . and quite indifferent to any human inertial lingerings to the contrary.

A fish. A loaf. Half a bottle of blood-red wine:  the fish supper of common labourers in communion with their Master and semi-recurrent theme of these the Gardener's Chronicles.

But whereas labourers of the fourth epoch take their supper as the closing culmination of their work day, the labourers of the fifth epoch, being the nocturnal labourers of the day yet to come, part take of such sustenance not that they might sleep but instead, that they might work.

Their 'day' has not yet dawned but they labour to the end that to the Glory of God, the dawn of their day eventually might come.

In search of the Father's will,
Mark Philip Bloomfield

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A Near Fatal Blow by Mark Bloomfield

August 2, 2007
In a bizarre and somewhat surreal turn of events I find myself unexpectedly torn away from my mission temporarily in order to stay out of a South African jail cell!

It all started a few days ago on the return overnight bus journey from Windhoek, Namibia, to Cape Town, South Africa. At the South African immigration post, instead of giving me another 90-day visa as was up till now standard procedure, they said they didn't do that any more and that I need to go to the Department of Home Affairs in Cape Town to apply for an extension to my current visa which expires just a few days from now on the 5th of August.

On arriving at the aforementioned office the following morning, I was told that they no longer renew visas and that I have to be out of the country before my visa expires on the 5th. It wasn't that they were unsympathetic, but only that the law is the law.

Obviously, the first question I asked was whether I could hop across a border, say into neighbouring Botswana and come back in again, to which they responded that I cannot now re-enter from any nation on the African continent!


With only days to get myself off the continent or face deportation and/or imprisonment, I rushed to the travel agent with the last of my emergency funds that I had stashed in a hollow belt and explained my situation.

Three destinations were about equal in price for a return ticket: Buenos Aires, London or Bangkok, but knowing I could live cheaper in northern rural Thailand as well as re-visit the freeschools I had set up there along the Burmese border last year, I choose the Bangkok flight and paid the equivilent of $1270 (US) which all but cleaned me out, having no other funds in the whole wide world as a reserve after so many years as an unpaid volunteer.

Having resigned myself to the fact that I have just lost my emergency fund (for which incidentally I don't wish to be compensated for from money donated to the African seeding project), the next issue was to decide how long to stay before returning to South Africa to resume the seeding mission.

As many will know, we are still waiting for a new batch of Urantia Books to be printed, and that having been so, will need around a month to arrive by ship to Durban where the first batch arrived.
Knowing that visas cannot be renewed and that there will be a delay in receiving the next batch, I chose to book my return flight after slightly less than one month hence in order to avoid using up precious South African visa time waiting for books to arrive.

In the meantime, the 120 or so remaining books still stored at my old boarding house in Port Elizabeth are quite safe and the landlady has been notified of this rather infuriating but utterly unavoidable delay.

As for all those supporting the Africa seeding mission, your patience and understanding during this awkward interlude will be deeply appreciated.

ll things considered, I did the one thing I had to do in order to stay in the game, albeit at the crucial loss of my last financial safety net.

In search of the Father's will,
Mark Philip Bloomfield

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The Thing About Paul by Mark Bloomfield

August 30, 2007
YOUR surest guarantee that these chronicles have, over the long years, constituted a perfectly true and accurate record of events is the mere fact that half the time they're simply too bizarre to be fiction. Were it not to have actually happened, you simply couldn't dream it all up.

Briefly to summarize:
Upon my overland re-entry to South Africa from the eminently successful Namibian seeding run, Immigration refused me a second 90-day visa due to a recent change in the law, instead allowing me to re-enter only on the five or so remaining days my original 90-day visa had left to run.

On applying for a visa extension at the Immigration Office in Cape Town the following day, I was informed they no longer extend visas and that if I wanted a new 90-day visa I had to leave the entire African continent and re-enter South Africa from a non-African nation.

Between Buenos Aires, London and Bangkok, the latter was the slightly cheaper option but by far the smarter one as it meant the freeschools project from whence I came could be re-visited and more time spent with Ben Bowler, an Australian UB reader with a growing interest in the fifth epochal world seeding mission, who currently runs the freeschools project with his fiancée on the Thai-Burma border.

The $1200 (U.S.) equivalent for the round-trip ticket to Bangkok took nearly all the last of my own emergency reserve funds to buy but it meant that no donated funds for the Africa mission were touched. Additionally, the 3 weeks away would buy time for the next batch of seed books to South Africa to get on their way without my using up valuable visa time to wait for them to arrive. Upon my arrival in Bangkok, however, word was received from a group of generous salt-of-the- Earth types in the southern United States, who were previously unknown to me (and who prefer to remain anonymous), who had heard of my plight and promptly reimbursed me the air ticket price, thus enabling me to retain, after my Thailand expenses are met, a small but possibly life-saving emergency contingency fund upon my return to Africa.

* * *
"Slightly calamitous but charged and highly creative" might be how one or two of my relationships with my brethren might be described, but in Ben's case especially, such also bodes well for the future of any kingdom-related cooperative effort we might attempt together.

In such a light, the fact that during our visit, a minor scooter accident together broke my left shoulder, snapping the clavicle bone clean in half, as well as inflicting minor cuts and bruises on each of us, need not necessarily raise any eyebrows but instead be as easily half expected and passed off with a dismissive shrug of the shoulders (broken or unbroken as the case may be).

Adding still further to this already heady equation, a few days ago word was passed to me that 1000 English Urantia Books from Delhi (that I had spent 6 months in India overseeing the printing of some years ago), together with 1000 French books, are to be freely donated to the Africa Seeding Mission.

You therefore have a lone fieldworker with a few crumpled hundred-dollar bills between him and the abyss and a broken left shoulder back in the number two gun crime nation of Earth after Iraq, seeding the remaining 120 books of the first book shipment. Beyond that, another 2000 books are coming his way to finish seeding South Africa as well as all of Africa's remaining fifty plus nations from Cape Town to Cairo, thence back to old Jerusalem if all goes well, that intended future headquarters of the Fifth Epochal World Seeding Mission.

* * *
Hollywood throws hundreds of millions of bucks at its fictitious fairy tales of how the world is saved by its swaggering heroes when the way it will likely be actually saved in real life and eventually won back for Michael will likely as not be on a pocketful of loose change and by another rag-tag bunch of dead losses who couldn't boil an egg between them without setting fire to the kitchen.
The thing about Paul two thousand years ago is that, like him or loathe him, he just never quit. Knowing he was onto something indescribably big, he just kept going till the bitter end.

And even though he carried with him only a distorted, adulterated and incomplete fragment of what we are carrying, the world is a markedly different place as a result of his efforts.

You just couldn't script all this any better could you?

What other name could there be for this mission than 'this game of ghosts?'

In search of the Father's will,
Mark Philip Bloomfield

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A Mission to Die For by Mark Bloomfield

September 18, 2007
"Hmm....tricky," your lad of all chores thought to himself as he gave calm, clinical consideration to his increasingly precarious situation.

A hundred large hardcover Urantia Books plus personal luggage, deposited by the big Afrikaans bus driver on to the pavement of downtown Kimberley, on a bright Sunday morning after two back-to-back sleepless overnight bus trips from Cape Town via Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontain. Left shoulder still out of action, unarmed with all his cash on him as always, with the local street life already around him and not believing their luck.

To the complete astonishment of the biggest, baddest-looking thug amongst them, I walked straight up to him, looked him right in the eye and, pointing to the boxes, told him to watch my luggage and make sure no one takes anything before I headed off up the road without even waiting for his response or bothering to look back.

Not far along the road I came to a petrol station where a young black guy was pumping gas. Putting a twenty-Rand note (about $3) into his empty hand I asked him to call me a cab and, pointing to where I had left the books, started back for them, again not waiting for a response.

Ten minutes later, both the taxi driver and the gas station guy who had followed me back after a few minutes had loaded all the books into the taxi whilst my reformed hoodlum friend faithfully kept watch with the same look of bewilderment on his face and I was on my way to my next set of four walls and a bed, staring out of the vehicle's window indifferently and wondering what to do about lunch.

A good week or so ensued during which time, in addition to the usual mix of hand-seeded academic and religious institutions together with the block seeding of the public library system by trying to say the right things to the right people, my recently invented adrenaline sport of black-township-transiting was further indulged in. Trudging through such squalid, broken-down slums to get to where I needed to be, as a lone white man loaded down with books, always seems to make the heart race and the mouth so dry you can't swallow, but to emerge unscathed again is to feel blissfully alive.

Another cramped overnight bus journey put me back in Port Elizabeth and that same old rundown boarding house, under the stairwell of which the revelation has been freely and safely stored all this time -- a humble little Victorian townhouse that has over the months taken on something of a shrine to the spirit of it all.

Monica, the kindly old landlady of Irish ancestry who lives there, is one of this world's true characters. Doomed to a life of incessant turmoil, upheaval and family tragedy, her staunch Catholic faith always holds her as, doting over me like a mother hen, she gleans me at every opportunity for all my experiences with Mother Teresa back in the nineties. Her husband, Rayhart, as kindly as she but an Alzheimer's sufferer, forgets me if I'm even away for a few hours and must, upon my return, be re-convinced he knows me.

Vulnerability....humanity. That is the story the human response to this revelation will have to tell on High and across a vast universe. At first glance somewhat pitiful and pathetic but with a subtle undertone of gentle grace and dignity just beneath the surface that no modern-day Herod or Caiaphas could ever sensitize to. Just plain, ordinary folk like Monica and Rayhart together with all those good people on the homefront that support this mission faithfully playing their roles in helping a divine revelation on its way.

And so before dawn the next morning, fond hugs of farewell and on with the last 26 of the first shipment of 480 Urantia Books to dour, cosmetically-challenged East London four hours up the coast. A few good seeding days culminating in a wonderful visit with the lady pastor of the city's Presbyterian Church after her sermon and that was the end of the first shipment.

Another overnight bus this time to Johannesburg where thanks to Tamara and the folks at Urantia Foundation, 200 more books are soon due to arrive by air from New Delhi where they were printed some time ago. This batch should keep me busy until a further 300 arrive some weeks from now by sea to Durban, putting the running total for Southern Africa at just under the thousand.

That ought to be enough to give the whole of Southern Africa including sick puppy Zimbabwe a light dusting of first-phase fifth epochal seed.

So vital, so critically important to the spiritual economy of this planet is it that the potential and actual leaders and teachers of all nations, races and religions discover the very highest revelatory truths out there to be found, that no price -- personal or financial -- can be too high a one to pay to ensure the success of the Fifth Epochal World Seeding Mission.

And whatever final price any genuine fieldworker will end up paying to stay in this "game of ghosts," the continuing financial support from the homefront remains crucial to the mission's success.

We are a team of equal partners in this most essential service to humanity.

In search of the Father's will,
Mark Philip Bloomfield.

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African Seeding Mission: Brief Update by Mark Bloomfield

September 30, 2007
Yesterday afternoon (1st October) 200 Urantia Books arrived at the residence of South African reader and cherished sister Simone Cox where I am currently staying in a guest room under Simone's generous invitation, 30 minutes east of Johannesburg.

The books arrived from new Delhi where they were printed and stored for some time and are the first 200 of 1000 English books from the same source allocated to the African Seeding Mission along with 1000 French from a different source.

Today, Simone drove me around Jo'burg in her car on this the first seeding day of the new shipment which culminated in the first 15 books being hand seeded which would otherwise have been seeded on foot. Needless to say, being chauffeur-driven around seeding targets is something I would not have much difficulty in getting used to but alas, will not last forever!

The publisher who air-freighted us the 200 as a stop-gap estimate that it would take another 70 days for the next shipment of 300 books to arrive in South Africa by sea: far too long to give me any visa time to seed them while air-freighting again, though much quicker, is prohibitively expensive.

Obviously a change in plans was called for, so I notified New Delhi to ask them to send by sea the 300 to Mombasa, Kenya, instead of to South Africa which will give me ample visa time to seed what books I have here across all those difficult and time-consuming targets in southern Africa, then journey to East Africa to collect the 300 arriving there by sea. If I time the second 300 book shipment correctly, I should be able to return from the East African seeding leg back to South Africa to immediately finish the southern African leg. The remaining 200 English of the 1000 allocated will be used to fill in across West and North Africa a little further down the road.

Visa constraints periodically come in the way of my preferred plans but with the continued support from the home front will never alter the final result. All Africa stands to be seeded so whichever order it is seeded in hardly matters.

What does matter in my view is how this whole episode demonstrates to one and all just how effective a team effort this entire mission is becoming. As a fieldworker, it's all too easy to rave and enthuse about all the positive and memorable experiences that take up my days, most of all the human interaction between myself and those I present the revelation to, but none of this will ever happen if those loyal "homesteaders" from across the full width of this movement's spectrum ever once failed to "believe without seeing" which at the end of the day calls for a more profound form of faith than my own.

In search of the Father's will,
Mark Philip Bloomfield. 

Under the Greenwood Tree by Mark Bloomfield

October 21, 2007
"It is advisable and highly recommended to always have your 'panic button remote' and 'pepper spray device' in your hands upon leaving the lodge."
--an exact quote from the info sheet issued by the backpacker lodge in Johannesburg where I'm currently staying.

* * * 

"Give me your money. I won't ask again!" threatened the street thug, having pestered me for money for several minutes without success, whilst one of his friends, taking an interest, started approaching from the opposite direction.
Gesturing with my left hand to calm down, I held in the other my steel retractable baton in my rear right pocket which was poised for immediate use at the first sight of a weapon. The resident of the Quaker house of worship came out and opened the gate just in the nick of time to spirit me through into a room and a welcome cup of tea. It was the morning the Quaker "Society of Friends" truly earned their name.

An hour earlier, the secretary of the District Grand Lodge of South Africa, a fellow of the most genteel and splendid sort, had given me the full tour of the lavish Freemason's Hall as part of one of the most rewarding visits I had so far enjoyed in Johannesburg. As a result, two Urantia Books were left with him for the Lyceum Lodge of Research, the research arm of the Masonic movement that will likely as not publish a research paper on the book's contents, as well as additional papers on the text potentially being written by prospective Masonic candidates as part of their initiation process.

All in all, no trifling matter when one pauses to consider that the current worldwide membership of the Masonic movement stands in excess of 36 million.

These last two weeks had been spent seeding greater Johannesburg entirely on foot from a small backpacker lodge in an inner suburb called Yeoville that in recent years had experienced a demographic shift as to render mine virtually the only white face in the neighbourhood. My memory of it will be Jacaranda trees in radiant, full-violet bloom lining streets of discarded rubbish, broken glass and cold, icy stares. (The very day this report was written the cleaning lady at my lodge was robbed nearby at knifepoint by two thugs.)

Each day's twenty- to twenty-five kilometer hike through what is statistically the world's second most violent city has been to tread the uneasy line between that polarization of humanity on either sides of razor wire, electric fences and "armed response" security warning signs. But it seems that the worse a state-of-siege human beings are forced to live and suffer under, the more touched they are when a benign and well-meaning stranger suddenly drops by to leave with them a potentially life-changing gift before departing just as abruptly. As a fifth epochal fieldworker in this kind of environment, one gets to enjoy witnessing this heartwarming sort of response each and every day:

. . . standing in the drizzle one morning at the gate of an Orthodox Jewish academy with an Orthodox Chief Rabbi (complete with long beard and black hat) as we related so well together in reciprocal tones of fraternal brotherhood as to not want to part each other's company;

. . . a long visit at the Jesuit Institute to be received with much interest and many thought-provoking questions;

. . . a bewildered but grateful librarian at Hillbrow Public Library (Jo'burg's most dangerous inner suburb of all) asking how I really made it to his library, reluctant to believe that as a white man I had actually risked walking there on foot.

Another full week should break the back of Johannesburg, then another week or so to take nearby Pretoria before hauling overland to neighbouring Botswana the remaining books of the recent shipment of 200. Any overspill from Botswana will be used to start seeding Zambia on my way overland through the 'heart of darkness' to Mombasa, Kenya, where another 300 Urantia Books will by then have hopefully arrived by sea.

In addition to the bare facts and statistics of the fifth epochal World Seeding Mission, there perhaps might be seen here something of a story to tell, but it's ever a fieldworker's dilemma as to how much or little of it to attempt to communicate to the Urantia community. To offer too little might be taken as being incommunicative and unsociable whilst to offer too much might appear boastful and self-congratulatory. Striking a sensible balance between the two has over the years always been my aim.

Either way, be assured that the accomplishment of the mission itself, for me at least, takes overwhelming priority to merely writing about it. To that end, the wise and far-seeing souls out there who constitute this mission's support base should be comforted by the fact that their hard-earned funds firstly reach me safely, secondly are profoundly appreciated, and thirdly are slowly but surely causing a tectonic shift for the better in the entire planetary status quo. That, dear reader, is no idle boast. It's happening. Nothing else can happen when the systematic person-to-person bestowal of the highest revealed truths mortal ears can ever hear takes place in the multitudinous learning centres of whole nations and across whole continents.

But regular light-hearted banter with the Australians -- the heaven-sent humourists of this movement -- affords light and refreshing relief from the enormity and immensity of the issues at hand. How I'd manage without them I really have no clue. That and any good book I can find for an hour's escapism each evening:
"One of Thomas Hardy's most greatly loved and gentlest books, Under The Greenwood Tree is an unashamed idyll and picturesque portrait of the long-vanished pastoral society of early Victorian England," -- so it says on the rear cover of my latest find.

Ah, yes. That'll do. That'll do nicely!
In search of the Father's will,
Mark Philip Bloomfield.

It's a Laugh by Mark Bloomfield

November 15, 2007
With 680 Urantia Books now in place across South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, 300 more arriving by sea in Mombasa, Kenya any day now and a further 300 arriving in Durban, South Africa, a month or two from now, the 1280 books when seeded across all of southern and eastern Africa will represent roughly the halfway mark of the entire African Seeding Mission.

Another year beyond that should be enough to clear up northern and western Africa, then 8 months to seed 1000 Portuguese across Brazil and 6 months for 1000 Italian across Italy but all that only so long as the steady support from the home front continues.

Johannesburg with its stratospheric violent crime rate was always going to be either the city that would get clobbered or that would clobber me. As things turned out, when the dust finally settled, a thumping 129 books had been individually hand-seeded within its city limits. Whilst the vast majority of targets were seeded on foot, the last outlying targets remaining on the very last day Simone Cox, our South African reader friend, kindly chauffeured me to in her car.

A few days in Pretoria covering some of the more important bases in conjunction with the block seeding of the city's public library system then by bus with the remaining books to Gaborone, Botswana's diminutive capital city. With a total nationwide population of just 1.6 million, all important targets centered in Gaborone plus the fact that Botswana makes even South Africa seem cheap to live in, I needed to quickly do my business and get out of there, which is exactly what happened.

Gaborone was accordingly trounced in two days dead. After Jo'burg, taking the city was like kicking over a bucket-sized sandcastle on the beach with a steel toe-capped boot. Tea and biscuits with Brother Brendan at the Passionist's Meditation Centre and a wonderful visit at the library of the madrasa adjoining the city's central mosque helped make my short sojourn in the country all the more enjoyable.

It's the evening of the third day and we've got to get out of this place. It's really expensive. On to the overnight train to Francistown near the Zimbabwe border then, bleary-eyed, straight on to a bus for the all-day journey to Kasane, the small northern-border village with Zambia on the banks of the Zambezi River. No rooms available anywhere and getting dark, but finally, finding an empty tent for the night right on the riverbank, I collapsed in a heap to the sound of the gruntings and oinkings of disgruntled hippos and the full accompanying extra-terrestrial symphony of the African wild.

Up at dawn, unshaven and looking rather pathetic, I walked, bag on shoulder, past the quizzical stares of the emerging khaki-clad safari-goers with their myriad safari accessories and gizmos and on to the road, to slowly disappear in the direction of the border. A couple of miles down the road an African guy stopped to give me a lift the rest of the way.

Over the Zambezi on the free ferry and into Zambia after paying $70 for the visa, then into the back of a share taxi to Livingstone some 50 miles up the road with a beautiful young African woman called Monica for company and who I ended up spending an enchanting evening with later that day.

Booked on to the bus to Lusaka, Zambia's scruffy little capital two days hence and with a few hours to kill that following day, I took advantage of a cheap seat in a share-taxi for the 5-mile trip to the Victoria Falls just for the heck of it. Walking alone just a few feet from the vertical precipice into the Vic Falls, two vicious looking thugs suddenly sprang up from the bushes and tried to block my escape away from the cliff face to my immediate right. With all my cash on me I had to make an immediate decision. With a flash vision of disappearing into the Victoria Falls with a headlocked thug under each arm in my mind's eye, what is known in military doublespeak as an "expedited tactical withdrawal" was conducted. A few minutes later the retaliation came in my leading two machine-gun-toting police officers jogging behind me by which time, of course, my would-be attackers had made good a tactical withdrawal of their own.

Give the devil his due, backing me up to the edge of the Victoria Falls no less was a nice touch and could have made for a rather colourful exit from the world stage. Sometimes in this peculiar line of work you can almost sense the heat signature of the enemy's nearness but always at such times you become faintly aware of the hare-like alertness of the seraphic presences. Consciously aspire to become the one human being that Caligastia would want to kill and you never need worry about life ever becoming dull again.

Back to Livingstone, a couple of petty extortion attempts at my doorstep by the local crime gang then off to Lusaka only to break down 10 miles down the road. A replacement bus an hour later finally got me into Lusaka at dusk from where this report is being written.ecovering well from a couple of days of poor health as a result of drinking vile, rusty tap water for too long, a poor diet and a lack of sleep, but thankfully the temperature I was running and the aching joints don't look like developing into malaria which concerned me as I had started my malaria tablets a tad late.

Booked on to the slow train to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania two days from now and waiting to receive the visa from the Tanzanian Embassy which meant another $50. Once in Dar Es Salaam I'll be back on home turf as such was my home base during my bush pilot years. From there, the relatively short bus trip to Mombasa, Kenya to hopefully pick up the 300 books from the port there for the East African leg of the mission, and doubtless another string of ensuing reasons to be cheerful and laugh my way through life on this sacred plot, this sceptered isle called Urantia -- sentimental favourite world across a vast universe.

In search of the Father's will,
Mark Philip Bloomfield. 

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Space Meets African Time by Mark Bloomfield

December 18, 2007
One bright sunny day, Africa will doubtless be awash with locally-printed native-language Urantia Books and abuzz with thriving study groups too numerous to ever bother trying to count.

To reach that day from this, however, is going to take time, effort, money and the stoic, gritty determination of both fieldworkers and the homefront alike. Just like the early pioneer settlers trudging west across North America, the World Seeding Mission, as relatively quick and cheap as it is, doesn't have as its reason for being the breaking of any speed or cost efficiency records. That kind of task would fall more to those who follow in as much that before maps can be read from they must first be written.

Having seeded the last books of the current shipment into Botswana, the long overland haul to Mombasa, Kenya, on the east coast where 300 more books were soon due to arrive from India by sea. The previous update having been written in Lusaka, Zambia, a rickety old chicken bus whisked me four hours north to a tiny outpost village called Kapiri Mposhi that enjoyed that singular redeeming quality of being at the beginning of that useable portion of railway track that extends from Lusaka to Dar Es Salaam on the coast of Tanzania.

"Snails move faster" was the exact phrase used by one travel guide in dismissing the oily old locomotive that met my gaze on the track as it quietly burbled to itself with cheerfully demented indifference. To their credit however, both proud boasts of the rail authority ultimately proved perfectly true. . . .

Departure time: as per schedule almost to the second.
Arrival time: some time next week.

Oh God I love this job!

The symmetry of it is perfect. A mission of planetary and in a certain sense even super-planetary significance, a model of functional unity and teamwork in loving and unselfish social service, the exotic backdrops and occasional high thrills of an action movie interspersed with a semi-regular supply of rollicking good laughs!
True to form, exactly 53 hours later the iron snail crawled to a halt at Dar Es Salaam train station and your fieldworker quietly vanished into the Arab quarter of the city he once long ago used to call home. A fifty-dollar Kenyan visa the next day, then off on a smoky old bus northwards to the town of Tanga for the night. Next morning, another cramped chicken bus across the Tanzania/Kenya border and finally into Mombasa later that day.

* * *
(Mombasa. Ah yes. Another colourful memory from way back in my pre-UB seeding days of aimless travel. Only dropping in there for nothing more than a gin, a few days later saw me perched on the bowsprit of a 14,000 ton Russian 'Jadroplov Lines' cargo ship on a two week passage to the mouth of the Suez Canal in Egypt. As we exited the port one evening around dusk, the huge foghorn behind me started bellowing in that intermittant way you'd honk your car horn at an old friend. In reciprocation, all the, er, less than savoury bars shall we say along the headland that sailors tend to frequent to indulge in their respective vices started flashing their bar lights on and off which made me glance back at the ship's bridge with a worldly grin. A quaint nautical custom around these parts I later learned and far too jolly an anecdote to not find a brief mention in these chronicles.)

* * *
Linking up with the agent whose details appeared on the shipment's bill of lading, it was explained that although the books had already arrived in port, the consignment had not been sent from the sender in India as a "door-to-door" shipment as I had specifically requested but as a normal shipment instead. When simple instructions like this don't get followed in a third-world environment, the space-time continuum abruptly ceases, "Indian time" or "African time" immediately kicks in and a bureaucratic nightmare usually ensues. Sure enough, only now am I expecting the final essential original document to arrive from India by courier that should theoretically make the books' final clearance a mere formality -- though that said, we're now getting uncomfortably close to the Christmas holidays.

All that can be done right now is being done, and as and when the books finally clear no time at all will be lost in hand-seeding them first to the west as far as blood-spattered little Rwanda then southwards down East Africa to put me back into South Africa so as to collect another shipment of 300 books currently in transit. When those are seeded across what remains of southern Africa that is yet to be covered, that should bring us roughly to the half way stage of the entire African mission and mean around two metric tons of Urantia Books are in place.
A smallish though significant enough portion of a fifth epochal fieldworker's year is usually taken up either in transit or in coaxing books through customs or waiting for someone else to. It comes with the territory at this still early stage of the revelation's evolution. But keep in mind here that all the while such a fieldworker is living out of cheap guest houses and backpacker lodges, feeding himself at cheap eating houses and going straight to bed shortly after it gets dark so no extravagant hotel or travel bills ever get run up.

And as it looks like the holiday season will be weathered here in the bowels of Mombasa, it is from his small room in a little guest house down a relatively quiet backstreet of the inner city that your cheerful co-worker in this big, beautiful and world-uplifting mission of ours sends his warmest and heartiest seasonal greetings to one and all for the holiday season.

My heartfelt thanks as always for your big-hearted support, peace be upon you and God bless you all.

In search of the Father's will,
Mark Philip Bloomfield.

The Last Mzungu by Mark Bloomfield

January 20, 2008
Beautiful things are sometimes hijacked by not-so-beautiful people and for still less beautiful reasons. In Kenya's case a small clutch of individuals who constitute the sum and circumference of their own respective private universes fall victim to their own lifelong tendencies of only internalizing what truth feeds their own conceited notions whilst spinning the rest into a tangled knot of self-deceit. Either no longer knowing the truth from the lie or else knowing but simply preferring the spin, the nation's political arena becomes their next intended vehicle of self-perpetuation and subsequently close in for the kill, utterly indifferent to final consequences upon others and devoid of even the slightest flicker of human compassion. If a million people died in post-election turmoil their self-deceit would immediately rationalize such as the necessary price of the nation's "liberation."

A few weeks prior to the turmoil in Kenya following the bungled December 27th election, 300 Urantia Books quietly slipped into Mombasa port unnoticed by all except another small clutch of individuals who, trust me, strive to live by a very different set of motives. A problem early arose however when contrary to specific instructions, the consignment was dispatched from India as a normal shipment as distinct from a "door-to-door" shipment which necessitated the production of several original documents from the sender in India in order to clear customs and which took their time to arrive. By the time they did, the Christmas holiday period was upon us and shortly thereafter, that infamous election which precipitated near anarchy for the last three weeks and is as yet unresolved, blocking roads and causing gridlock at Mombasa port.

During this frustrating period, your fieldworker could do little more than dig in and continue to live cheap whilst maintaining a gentle and friendly pressure upon our cargo clearing agent in Mombasa (who for the record were fabulous throughout and emerged as my personal heroes.

As the post-election rioting intensified across the country and mob rule started taking over from the rule of law, the mzungus (white foreigners) became noticeably fewer on the ground with every passing day as the usual daily taunts and ridicule at street level started being replaced with open personal threats. As the local thugs of each neighbourhood got to know where I stayed, I'd move on to the next guest house in the next neighbourhood. During one riot, the mob tried to burn down the shop immediately adjoining my place of residence.

The 300 books finally cleared on Friday 18th of January amid a firefight just a few blocks from the shipping agent's office in the bowels of Mombasa that sounded like the typical Hollywood style wild west shootout.

By prior arrangement 15 boxes (180 books) were stored at the agent's office whilst 10 boxes (120 books) we drove through the chaos to the bus company that sporadically plies from Mombasa to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania ten hours south down the coast. If the bus was running (as recently it wasn't) the plan would be to seed Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi in an anti-clockwise loop with the 120 so as to return for the rest in Mombasa after affording such time as to hopefully see an end to the turmoil. Luckily the bus was still running and I dropped off the books and bought the ticket for the next morning's bus out before returning to the agent to bid them a fond temporary adieu, all the while feeling like the last remaining white man in Kenya. Upon doing so, three staff members asked to borrow copies of the book to read whilst I was away, to which I of course happily consented.

It was with much relief that all on board the bus arrived next morning at the Tanzanian border but once across, no fewer than five unofficial police checkpoints stood between us and Tanga, the first major town along the coast towards Dar Es Salaam. At one such roadblock, assault rifle wielding police out of uniform were busy pummeling one man for no known reason as we arrived. At each roadblock, the buses' luggage compartments were searched where the police each time came across the 10 boxes of Urantia Books that could have so easily landed me in a world of trouble but as things turned out, never once did.

At 5pm on Saturday 19th January my bus arrived in Dar Es Salaam (fittingly Arabic for 'haven of peace' or at least in relative terms) from where this update is now being dispatched. The hand seeding of Tanzania and elsewhere will commence in earnest bright and early tomorrow morning with a view to making up as much lost time as possible and will hopefully see my return to what's left of Kenya in about a month's time. Upon such a return, the remaining 180 books will be quickly seeded across Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda before returning to Johannesburg to finish seeding all of southern Africa.  

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Quadraphenia by Mark Bloomfield

February 17, 2008
You're strapped into the pilot's seat of a self-assembled experimental aircraft in the near darkness of the pre-dawn in a remote corner of Dar Es Salaam International Airport, Tanzania one morning in 1992. Your eyes are closed in deep concentration as you ponder the singularly simple question: "Do I feel lucky?"

The tiny dirt strip in the vast Selous Game Reserve (pronounced Se-loo) that is your destination is out of range. Way out of range. If you ran the fuel tank bone dry you'd not make it much more than two thirds the way there.You've stowed extra fuel on board but that won't help you as there's nowhere to land, being unbroken semi-jungle the whole way. Without a map or navigational aids beyond a simple compass and a magnetic heading scrawled in chinagraph on your flight suit knee pad, even if you did have the range but were only a couple of degrees off track you'd never find it. The lions and leopards would dine first followed by the hyenas and vultures with the maggots and dung-beetles cleaning up what little's left. To help protect the last 60,000 elephants of the original 120,000 that the ivory poachers haven't shot and chainsawed up yet is what's keeping you from climbing out of that cramped cockpit and going back to bed. The next two minutes of silent meditation are definitive and crucially relevant to the rest of your life however short or long a period of time that might turn out to be.

With opened eyes and the sound of a single 'click' you pull the pin out of the scary looking red handle just in front of your seat that any modern era fighter pilot would assume to be the ejector seat handle thus in reality to arm the rocket motor of the B.R.S. mounted just inches behind the small of your back. Giving each strap of your already tight four point harness another tug, you commence your pre-start checks in a kind of dazed serenity.

You've done it. You've beaten the system. You've given up the mortal struggle to cling to life and given it back to your Creator, but therein through that low doorway lies your true liberty and life-everlasting as nothing can now hurt you in as much that you can't kill what's already dead.

And as eerily indifferent as to what might happen next to whoever, or more appropriately, whatever piloted that little machine up to it's cruising altitude on that peculiar morning, strange to record that what actually did happen next continues to spook me to this very day.


That was then. This is now. And from his little room in the back streets of Dar Es Salaam, your fieldworker ponders problems of a different kind. Three batches of Urantia Books in three seperate locations and all of them in trouble. 180 books stored at the offices of the shipping agent in Mombasa, Kenya awaiting my return whilst the political situation there spins out of control. 120 books with me for seeding across Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi, to be draggged in the usual manner on and off clapped out buses and trains amid the normal array of touts and thugs, and 300 more stuck in South African customs in temporary limbo over another bureaucratic snag.

Well, between the relatively small number of books to hand seed, a deal struck with the chief librarian at the National Library and several books mailed out to remote, non cost-effective targets, Tanzania got lightly seeded in little more than a week.

Next up, another encounter with the 'Iron Snail', the return fifty plus hour train journey from 'Dar' back to Kapiri Mposhi, Zambia where the track becomes impassable a few hours north of Lusaka the capital. The struggle to get the remaining 70 books on to the train from my room in the city turned out to be a Hellish encounter with money grabbing taxi drivers, railway porters and corrupt police officers that I'd prefer to forget but that nevertheless warrant's a mention.

Refusing to pay the porter's jacked up prices I manhandled the boxes of books in small stages through the hordes of people to the upstairs departure hall. The most troublesome porter who I guessed to be in collusion with the police took the policeman aside at the hall's entrance and whispered something in his ear which prompted him to put me through something of an interrogation before allowing me to proceed. One look at this guy and you could see he was trouble although as if by cue, a genteel railway official by the name of John came to my assistance, helped smooth things over and even found me a trolley to push my burden to the waiting train.

That evening and several hours into the train journey, guess what? The same problem policeman that had earlier given me all the grief steps into my train berth in his vest and re-commences his questioning even though off-duty.

"Beam me up Scotty" I think I remember quietly muttering to myself. A quiet word in the conductor's ear, a little cash transaction and a berth in first class was made available to me which I didn't seriously think would get this guy out of my face but surprisingly did. Having hauled all the luggage there after checking it for planted drugs as part of a set up for an arrest, I collapsed on to the upper berth and switched to 'pleasant memory mode' to escape the grimness of my situation....


.....My eyes narrowed as they focused in upon the largest grain of rice I could find which in actuality was one of a clutch of Nile crocodiles lazing on the mud banks of the Rufiji River some 500 feet below me in the Selous Game Reserve. Time to indulge in what was then my favourite (and probably also the crocodiles' favourite) pastime. Power down, a wide descending turn then lining up with the river at full level speed just inches above the water and heading straight for the largest croc of the pack. Steady...steady....full power, yank the control column back like you hate it and pitch up into the vertical like a homesick angel. Glancing beneath me as the 'g' forces distorted my face to see the gaping reptilian jaws snap shut just a few feet from my undercarriage inducing as it always did a fit of guilty, evil  laughter. All rather silly but no harm done as the crocs have a chance to hone their killer instincts as I do mine.

"Can't kill what's already dead"...floating in upon the mind as slumber rolled itself around your smiling fieldworker amid the clunkings and joltings of the Iron Snail's night passage.


Forty hours of dust and diesal smoke later saw the first of the Kapiri Mposhi street thugs cum railway porters leap aboard the still moving train as it neared it's final resting place. A succession of heated, physical scuffles to barge through them with the books and into the nearby stationmaster's office for assistance. Thirty seconds later and the stationmaster himself was guarding the books on the platform and ordering his deputy to carry them into the station's luggage room for free storage. Into a local flop house for the night though not before another quick brawl with another local thug who wanted to rob me as I sat eating at a roadside eating house. Next morning and two hours after loading the books into the Lusaka chicken bus we finally finished filling up and moved off only to have a tyre blow out ten miles down the road.  Into Lusaka finally that afternoon and straight into preparations for seeding.

As it may by now be appreciated, in comparison to the logistics of dragging hundreds of books across Africa by road and rail, the task of actually seeding such is actually fairly straightforward and pleasant. As things once again ran their normal course, a particularly enjoyable visit with 'Brother Benjamin' at the Catholic Major Seminary and with his counterparts at the Islamic Centre of Zambia.

Away with the last remaining 27 books a week or two later by bus down the 'Great Eastern Road' which soon enough deteriorated into the Great Eastern Mudtrack towards Lilongwe, capital of Malawi. Over the tout infested border and into Lilongwe late that night then by taxi into a nearby budget lodge.

As hand seeding got underway, I had my first personal encounter with an African UAI member by meeting up with Grevet Moyo, President of the Malawian branch of such, an all round nice guy who invited me back to his family home in one of the city's suburbs. A more than pleasant evening with him and his family re-enforced my belief that whilst in my view a few conceited, power-hungry types seemingly seek only to hijack and exploit the revelation for their own selfish ends (and usually under the pretence of 'liberating' it), the vast majority of readers are good-natured types like Grevet who only wish to protect, nurture and serve it.
And having now moved on south to Blantyre (from where this report is coming to you) so as to seed the last remaining 7 books before the long return overland haul back to war-torn Kenya, regardless of what happens out here in the field, my central concern ever remains the overall welfare of the revelation and of the Urantia movement as a collectivity.

In search of the Father's will,
Mark Philip Bloomfield

Reports 13-16+ [posted by Rick Warren on UBRON, the UAI Forum and Truthbook Chat Room

[Editor's note: We at SquareCircles.com have never shied away from controversy, and it is in that spirit that we are publishing Mark's unedited remarks below.]

The Day the Reports Stopped Coming by Mark Bloomfield

My apologies to those gracious souls who have generously supported my African Seeding Mission through Saskia for my choosing to discontinue sending my ongoing field reports to Squarecircles. This stems mainly though not entirely from my discovering on her website the report promoting a biblicized, idolatrous (in the eyes of Islam), rival, competing brand of the Urantia Book in the world's third most populous Muslim country, India.

My world seeding mission and the aforementioned initiative are utterly incompatible, stand to achieve exact opposite end results and don't belong on the same website.

As some may know, India was my home for nearly four years of my life from way back to my Calcutta days as Mother Teresa's undertaker, then during my free mass cataract operations (called 'eye camps') for rural blind destitutes. After that came the free schools for impoverished children run by the nuns of northern India that Saskia can tell you about. Then, the best part of two and a half thousand hand seedings of the large hardcover original Urantia Book the length and breadth of the land. And if the ten thousand or so seeded books the world over has perhaps made me the most prolific hand seeder of the revelation in the movement's history, then such I suppose might not entirely disqualify me from offering you these few observations:

The fifth epochal revelation constitutes the greatest single threat to the world's organized religion's hold over their adherents, beating even secular materialism into second place and therefore must be treated in a manner reflective of such.
Let's put that in a way that the North American readership can most easily relate to:

9/11 was triggered by a way less serious threat to Islam than what we are custodians of.

Meditate upon that. It'll do you good.

It is not the fault of young Muslim children the world over that they are early taught to shun as idolatrous images of Islam's prophets such as the Jesus image on the cover of the Fellowship book. You don't have to agree with it. But just try to respect it. It's their way. It's also not their fault that large swathes of Islamic youth are taught to look upon the U.S.A. as 'The Great Satan' often due to the perceived blundering, bungling arrogance of American foreign policy.

But the same people who are behind what a hundred million young online Muslims will see as 'The Great Satan' promoting what will become the gravest threat to their belief system (and in visiual, idolatrous form) on the internet, now take the same book straight into the world's third most populous Muslim nation!

Westerners seek a life. Radicalized Islam seeks a death. Why close the door on all possibility of our being able to successfully try to offer them a more constructive alternative?

Your suggested alternative here is the slow, steady evolutionary plod of the non-American taking the original plain cover book to these people face to face, drinking their tea, laughing and joking with them whilst addressing their concerns in respectful, conciliatory tones.

The last time I promoted the original Urantia Book at the same Delhi Book Fair I got surrounded when alone one afternoon by either the Taliban or Indian equivalent at my booth. They demanded my address as they were going to 'pay me a visit.' As an Englishman with a plain cover book and lots of experience with Muslims I was able to put their minds at rest and end on a handshake. For an American to promote the idolatrous equivalent at the same book fair, find themselves in a similar predicament and not get lynched would be a minor miracle.

But now here's another dimension to all this: the Indian Hindu far right generically referred to as the 'Safron Brigade' who can be as vicious as any, are now going to get hold of a Urantia Book with the Jesus image and biblical split page format. With it, they are far more likely to assume such to be a Christian ploy to convert Hindus, something they will provenly kill to prevent. These kinds of people don't tend to ask many questions and will simply hit the nearest soft Christian target. The last Catholic priest I heard they set upon got immoliated. The last nun, gang-raped. Gang-rape in India can run into a 2- or 3-day affair and usually culminates in the victim's suicide shortly thereafter.

Any persecution Christianity suffers as a result of the biblicized Urantia Book will turn much of Christianity worldwide against us and the revelation in an instant. Already deeply wary of how the original book stands in relation to the bible, (and having hand seeded perhaps 5,000 Christian institutions worldwide I know whereof I speak) the biblicized version will, especially outside North America, be far more quickly seen as a direct and level threat to their sacred book.

And then, with all three major religions vying for our blood, and with hundreds of stationary soft targets among us to choose from, it's inevitable that blood will be spilt and in some very shocking ways.

Then it'll be a national security issue. Then it'll be the FBI and CIA. Then it'll be the media circus making us out to be some weird, Waco, Texas style cult and that of course will turn the rest of humanity, the secularists against us and what we are custodians of.

All this brings us to the following culminative statement:
Bloomfield offers that the Brotherhood split of '89, the carving up of the Urantia movement into rival, competing fiefdoms with rival, competing and offensively modified versions of the Urantia Book have didli squat, repeat, DIDLI SQUAT....to do with Michael's Plan and the Father's will and have everything to do with over-sized egos and under-sized souls.*
Now, if anyone out there in readerland who is in complete, 100% agreement with the above statement and would still like to support my seeding missions, they are more than welcome to do so and should contact Tamara Wood on tamara@urantia.org

If however, anyone out there has any issue with such a statement and who has previously been kind enough to support me, then with the utmost respect to you, it's probably better if hereinafter you find someone else to invest your hard-earned funds in for as of now, I'll be trying to supplement what I can manage to earn myself for my missions with a slightly different kind of capital.

Thank you.

In search of the Father's will,
Mark Philip Bloomfield.
*EDITOR'S NOTE: For an alternative viewpoint, please read "The Split: a Blessing in Disguise" by Saskia Raevouri