Thursday, October 14, 2004

Moment #73. Hindi/Swahili at Post Office. Oct 14, 2004.

10/14/2004. Interesting coincidence with a friend of a previous contact.

I got my PO box mail, and tore up the junk mail at the counter near the front door.

A young adult man came to the counter and put a box in the waste basket. He looked Indian (from India). We made eye contact, so I asked "Do you speak any foreign languages?" He said Hindi. I said I had a book in Hindi, called the Book of Mormon, in my car, and would like to give it to him. I asked if he'd like to see it, and he said yes. He followed me to the parking lot, and I retrieved a Hindi Book of Mormon from my trunk.

As I removed it from the plastic bag, he saw my other box marked "African." He asked if I had African languages too. I said sure, what are you interested in? He said Swahili. I handed the Hindi book to him, and took out the Swahili Book of Mormon. He said he grew up in East Africa.

A light bulb went off over my head, and I told him that just last week I gave a Swahili Book of Mormon to another Indian man from East Africa (Moment #61 on Oct 4th). I described the previous man to him, and said he drove a white Cadillac, and I asked if he knew him. This man said "I know him as my uncle."

Small world. Both encounters were on Indy's West side, just a few miles and 10 days apart. But, is this really a coincidence?

I also gave him an English copy. I mentioned that my phone number and other information was in the books in case he wanted to learn more. We shook hands and departed.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Moment #71. Shona/Zulu. Oct 13, 2004.

10/13/2004. I was headed home from the chapel after Institute class at about 9:30pm. I could take either Michigan Street or 10th Street. I received a slight prompting, a hint, just a feeling, to take Michigan Street. I didn't know if it was my own feelings but I followed it. I had to make a dicey left turn into the liquor store's parking lot because a direct left onto Michigan is prohibited.

As I approached the Village Pantry at the corner of ____ I got a feeling to buy a newspaper.

Just a few feet before ____ the feeling turned into a strong prompting that crossed the line between doubt and near certainty; I had to go there. At the last possible moment I moved into the left turn lane, turned South onto ____, then into the VP parking lot.

As I got out of my car, a lady was leaving the store and I wondered if she was the one I was supposed to approach. I couldn't tell if she appeared more African than African-American. I remembered that oftentimes the Spirit gives us instructions that must be acted upon instantaneously or else the moment is lost, and I only had a couple seconds to rush over and say something. However, I did not get a sense of urgency about her, and during my indecision, fearing I'd appear threatening if I approached quickly, she entered her vehicle and drove off.

I went in the store and got a newspaper and a 2-liter of pop. The cashier spoke with a slight accent. I paid, and asked if he spoke any foreign languages. He said yes, Shona, from South Africa. Bingo! I smiled, got excited, and told him I had something in my car that I wanted to show him. He started to follow me to the door, but I said I'd bring it in. I retrieved a Shona and an English Book of Mormon from my trunk. I showed him the Shona and he started beaming and got excited too. He'd never seen a book in Shona since leaving South Africa. He was amazed. I showed him the English version too, and the info-flyer and my business card. I asked him to read and translate 1 Nephi 1:1, and he got it perfect. I invited him to church and he said he'd come Sunday.

We chit-chatted some more. I found out he's been here two years. He spoke English very well, so he won't need the combo for ESL learning, but he was going to have a fun time reading something in his native language. He said he almost graduated from college in South Africa, was just 2 credits shy, but had to leave because of turmoil.

I found out he also speaks Zulu, so I retrieved a Zulu edition from my car. We chit-chatted some more. In one of the books I marked Moroni 10:3-5, and then to read from 3 Nephi chapter 11 onward.

He started to ask questions about the church in Africa. I ended up giving him the phone numbers of our two sets of missionaries which he programmed into his cell phone right there.

I offered the other clerk an English Book of Mormon, but she declined. She said something about her church. I should have offered her an English Bible, but I didn't.

This was an extremely positive encounter. I left the V.P. on cloud nine. I don't know how this will turn out, but I stand all amazed.

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Monday, October 04, 2004

Moment #61. Swahili at oil change store. Oct. 4, 2004.

10/4/2004. I took the Books of Mormon out of my car trunk, leaving just a few English and Spanish in the back seat. I was planning on taking the car in for tire repair, and needed to have the spare tire well in the trunk accessible to the mechanic.

I didn't have time for the tire repair, but was able to stop at a place next door to where I live for a needed oil change.

There was another man in the waiting room, who sounded like he was from India.

I asked him what languages he spoke. He said Swahili, and an Indian dialect that I hadn't heard of. He said he was from East Africa, but was Indian. He also spoke Hindi.

He asked why I asked, and asked if I were a linguist. I said that I liked to collect the Book of Mormon in foreign languages. By this time I had brain fade and forgot I had removed the Books of Mormon from my trunk. I told him I had a copy of Book of Mormon in Swahili in my car, and offered to show it to him. He said sure.

I walked over to my car while they were changing the oil, and discovered I had removed the books. I came back and admitted my error, and said I could walk over to my apartment and get him one, and I gave him my business card. I also offered to deliver one to him if he wanted to call me with his address.

Anyway, we made small talk, and it seemed my car was going to be ready before his, so I offered to retrieve a copy from home, and bring it back if he would wait in the parking lot. He agreed. I drove home, retrieved Swahili, English, and Hindi copies, and came back. Just as I got out of my car, he was driving off, but just went to the gas station next door.

I walked over to the gas station, and offered him the three books. He declined the Hindi copy, but accepted the Swahili and English copies.

This encounter links to Moment #73 on October 14th.

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