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.
Labels: Shona, store, Zulu