Friday, November 19, 2004

Moment #103. Fijian/Afrikaans to law school dean. Nov 19, 2004.

11/19/2004. Today, I read the following in the Indianapolis star:
"_______, dean of the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis, for just over two years, is resigning to become vice chancellor of the University of South ______ in ____. The announcement is being made on the campus of Indianapolis University-Purdue University Indianapolis today, although it was reported days ago in the Pacific Magazine. A South African-born attorney, ____ came to IUPUI in July 2002 after 23 years in Australia and New Zealand."

I had an extra Book of Mormon in Fijian that I was saving for a Chinese family that I thought may have been from Fiji. The son spoke Chinese and English, but kept saying they were from "Fuji". I thought he may have meant "Fiji" because there are ethnic Chinese in Fiji, and "Fuji" is a mountain in Japan.

Anyway, I've had Fiji on my mind, and then I read the above. If I were a cartoon character, there would have been a light bulb over my head.

Generally, my book-slinging has been of the drive-by variety; usually taking no more than 30 seconds wherever the normal course of errands and travels take me. There have been a couple occasions where I've gone out of my way when the desire struck. The desire to go out of my way hit me. I couldn't distinguish what the source was, whether external or my own desire. But because I believe it to be "a good thing" I got excited about it.

I went to and looked him up and found his residence. Then I went to Google and found his IU School of Law web page.

I called his office and was told he wouldn't be in until Monday. For some reason I wanted to get the books to him before the weekend, so I gambled on delivering them to his home.

Because he's from South Africa, I included an Afrikaans edition of the Book of Mormon.

On the Fijian book's wrapper I wrote something like
Dean/Professor ____,
I hope this book finds a home with you in Fiji.
fellow book-lover
(my email)

And I included my business card.

So I drove over to his house, and rang the door bell. A college-age man answered the door, and I asked if it was ____ ____'s residence. He said yes, and I handed him the three books and my card, and said I'd like to give the Dean a book in Fijian, the Book of Mormon. I asked if Dean ____ spoke Afrikaans, and he said vaguely. I said one of the books was Afrikaans, and also pointed to my card and said that was me. I said it was sort of a going away present, and took my leave.

The moment was a bit awkward. The young man may have been a little confused, and I was not totally smooth in my presentation. But even if they throw the books out, I'm sure the incident will generate conversation about the church at some point in the future. "Some bloomin' idiot read in the newspaper about me going to Fiji, and so he dropped off a Fijian Book of Mormon! Can you imagine that!"

There's a temple in Suva, Fiji, so the church must have a noticeable presence there.

The Dean sent a very nice thank-you note in email, and mentioned the temple in Suva.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Moment #101. Japanese at Shell. Nov 17, 2004.

11/17/2004. I dropped off some stuff at the Elder's apartment. I received a "hurry up" prompting from the Spirit, so I did not linger and chit-chat with the Elders. On the way home, I approached a certain Shell gas station, and the memory of Rose telling me about Africans working at Shell stations came to me. Then I felt "the tug." It felt like I was being pulled or pushed to turn into the station, so I did. The feeling was not obvious beyond doubt, it was not the same as being constrained, but it was a feeling.

As I pulled in I could see through the window that the clerk was a Caucasian lady, so I started to doubt. I needed a newspaper anyway, so I went in to buy one. The man in line in front of me was obviously Asian, and spoke English to the clerk with a broken accent. Bingo. He was the one to whom I was to speak. I started getting that antsy feeling of having to choose the right moment without being intrusive.

He paid for his purchases, and while he was gathering his things from the counter, I paid for the paper, and followed him closely out the door. Once outside I asked him what foreign languages he spoke. He had trouble understanding, and in my excitement I forgot to slow down my speech.

He eventually said "Japanese." I'm sure my heart-rate soared at that point. I said I had a book in Japanese, the Book of Mormon, and asked if he'd like to see it. He didn't seem to understand. We were standing just few feet from the rear of my car, so I went to the trunk and got out Japanese and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and gave them to him. I pointed out my business card in one. I thanked him, and we said good evening, and departed.

Meeting someone at a propitious moment like that has happened too often to be just coincidence. I stand amazed at how Heavenly Father arranged circumstances of both my evening and that gentleman's in order to put us both at the same place at the same time. 10 seconds either way and we would have missed each other.

I drove home in awe, taking deep breaths. I was almost to the point of trembling.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Moment #91. Chinese. Nov 10, 2004.

11/10/2004. After delivering the Portuguese Bible and Books of Mormon to the Sisters, Brother Smith and I went to lunch at the Chinese restaurant that I had in mind. I put the two flavors of Chinese Books of Mormon on the table. Our waiter, a Mandarin-speaking Chinese young adult, said that he already had that book, and was a member of the Church but had not attended for two years since he moved. Then he asked where the nearest church was.

I pointed out the "info flyer" in the Book of Mormon and indicated which chapel was his ward. Brother Smith, our ward's mission leader, got his name and number and will have the missionaries get in touch with him. We gave him extra copies of the Book of Mormon for his wife and co-workers, and we also gave him a bilingual parallel Chinese/English New Testament.

I started on my won-ton soup, and told Jerry that I was not humble enough for all these coincidences. Then he said "Speaking of humble, let's pray before eating."

Moment #90. Portuguese, Nov, 10, 2004.

11/10/2004. I picked up Brother Smith to have lunch at a Chinese restaurant that I had in mind. The sister missionaries called my cell phone while we were driving, and they asked for Portuguese Books of Mormon, which I had back home, so I went back and got some.

That morning I had received an order from the International Bible Society ( and had put the box in my car thinking I might need it.

I checked the box, and indeed I had ordered a Portuguese Bible. When we got to where the sisters lived, I gave the Bible to the sisters along with the Portuguese Books of Mormon. The sisters live basically on the way to the restaurant we were going to, so they got their books special delivery within 30 minutes of calling, and the Portuguese investigators got a bonus testimony that we do believe in the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon.