When I was in Arabia filming four years ago, I had a dream, which was connected to the Arabian research I had been doing that had resulted in my novel, The One Gift.
In this dream I saw the captains of three small caravans merge them into one. That caravan was headed to a city I thought was Bethlehem. When I had this dream, I thought, “Well, my goodness; how fun it would be to create a reenactment of the Three Magi taking gifts to the Christ child for Christmas in 2012.”
I shared my dream with my wife, and she said, “Yeah, Gary, get real; like you’ve got time for that.” So I put it on the back burner and never gave it much thought.
Then when we went back and were filming 3½ years ago, I had the dream again; and the dream took on a little more size, shape, and form. So I shared it with Mary again, and she said, “Oh come on, Gary; when are you going to do that?”
And I said, “Yeah, you’re right, honey.” So I put it on the back burner again.
Last June 1, I had just gotten off the phone talking to my friends Dr. Mahmoud Suhail in Oman and Dr. HK Lin in Oklahoma about our frankincense project and how they were both coming to our convention. I said, “After convention I’ll take you salmon fishing.” They were very excited.
I went to bed and dreamed about salmon fishing, even to the point where I’d hooked this big Chinook in the Salmon River, and it was taking line down the rapids. I was standing in the boat fighting this big salmon. The sun came out from behind a cloud and blinded me, and everything went absolutely white. I put up my hand trying to shade the sun out of my eyes, hang on to this salmon, and fight the line at the same time. All of a sudden the sun went behind a cloud, the light came out of my eyes, and I was able to see again. However, when I looked back to see where my line was, the river was gone, the line was gone, and there was a trail where the line used to be—and coming up the trail was a caravan.
The Caravan Dream Expands
Well, that dream lasted for 2½ hours, and it wasn’t about a reenactment of the three magi. I saw six caravans merge, and later through the dream realized they were six of the religions of the world: Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Islam. They all merged into one caravan to forge a better future for the world’s children.
As I was watching this, all of a sudden I was on my horse and was leading the caravan. You know how dreams are; they always change. We camped at night, and the children played and ran through the tents and around the fires, yelling and playing and having a grand time. They all spoke the same language of friendship. People from every walk of life were sitting around the fires talking, and we had entertainment and special speakers from different religious groups, sharing, educating, and teaching.
The caravan entered Jerusalem at daylight as the sun was coming up, and the last person in the caravan entered Jerusalem as the sun went down. My dream had somehow switched from coming into Bethlehem to coming into Jerusalem. The caravan was over 5 miles long, with over 5,000 people in it. The next day, there was a three-day peace conference held in Jerusalem at the International Convention Center.
That dream is now going to become a reality; the event is going to take place in April of next year. We have an office, an 800 number, an advisory committee, and a director of the project, Jay Anderton.
I’ll tell you a little bit about how that happened. Before I went to Jerusalem, Mary asked, “What are you going to do in Jerusalem?”
I said, “I’ve got to find somebody to help me with the caravan.”
She then asked, “How are you going to do that?”
I replied, “Well, when I get there, I’ll figure it out.”
Finding Help in Jordan
While driving from Israel into Petra, I was thinking that I had to find somebody to help me in Jordan, so I decided to go to the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Having stayed there many times, I know a lot of people and thought maybe they would be able to direct me to someone who could help. However, when I arrived at the Crowne Plaza, it was closed for renovation.
So I drove back downtown. I hadn’t eaten so I pulled into another hotel and thought that it would probably have a restaurant, maybe a buffet, and sure enough there was a buffet. A gentleman greeted me and showed me to a seat. As he handed me the menu, he said, “How may I help you?”
I looked up at him and said, “As a matter of fact, you can help me. I need a man who knows the King of Jordan, a man who knows the Minister of Tourism, a man who speaks English, a man who knows camels, and a man who knows the history of frankincense—and I need a man who can help me with the Jordanian national television station.”
He blinked his eyes and stepped back and said, “Well, could I have a minute to make a couple of phone calls?”
I said, “Sure.”
I filled my plate at the buffet, sat down, and started eating. A man walked up to my table and said, “I understand you want to talk to somebody who knows about camels. I work in the Aqaba office, and my boss’s name is Omar. Omar has been a tour operator for 27 years, he speaks 5 languages, and he was an ambassador to the United States. He’s related to the king, and his sister works for the Jordanian national television station.”
Omar is now on our advisory committee.