11/04/2005. I stopped at the International Festival at the State Fairgrounds tonight. Boy, did I have a great time. Good food, met lots of cool people, gave out books. I don't know if I can remember everything in order, but here's what happened.
I didn't take books in with me at first. I struck up conversations with people, and got their permission to bring them material. It was totally kosher. The ticket taker at the front started to catch on to me the third time I re-entered, but she didn't say anything. I distributed what I brought in, then met more people who wanted stuff, then made another trip out to the car to bring those books in.
#460. Spanish. First booth I stopped at looked like an Otavalenan Indian from Ecuador. I asked and he was. He's a member too; from Utah. He asked about the chapels in town, so I gave him a list, and pointed out the Spanish branch, but he'll be working at his booth all day Sunday. I ended up giving him Spanish and English copies of the Book of Mormon to give out, and he did. There were at least 3 booths staffed by Ecuadorians.
#461. Turkish. I had my first plate of supper at the Turkish booth. It was staffed by volunteers from the Turkish Association in town, and the food was from the Bosphorus Cafe. Good stuff. I had taboulie salad, vegetarian "meat-balls" and humous. They agreed to look at a Turkish Book of Mormon, so I brought one back in for them. They declined the English. But one of them started reading it right there.
#462. Fon, didn't work out. Where I had my second plate, the lady was from Benin, and spoke English, French, and Fon. I forgot about offering a French Book of Mormon; totally spaced it. She agreed to see the Fon book, but when I showed it (Gospel Fundamentals) to her, she said it wasn't Fon. That could be possible. Sometimes the printing division puts the wrong covers on the books during binding. But she probably just spoke it, and didn't actually read Fon.
#463. Fulani and Wolof. The next booth I stopped at were two guys selling carvings and small artsy stuff. They were from Senegal and spoke English, French, Fulani, and Wolof. I have been studying a little Wolof from my Transparent Languages CD set, so I practiced with them, and they could understand me. That made their day! They were tickled to see me say even a few words like "Yes," "Thank-you," "you're welcome," and "I speak a little Wolof." They agreed to see what I had in their languages. I brought in English, Fulani, and Wolof copies of Gospel Fundamentals. I asked "These are Christian, is that okay?" and they had no problem with it at all. They were very comfortable with it. They started reading them right there, and they wanted the English to go along with it. I only brought in one of each language for them to share, but they both wanted Fulani and Wolof each for themselves, so I'll take more copies to them tomorrow. Again, I totally spaced offering a French Book of Mormon.
#464. Tagalog. My only declined moment tonight. I had an egg roll at a Filipino booth, and practiced a little Tagalog that I learned from the CD, "Do you speak Tagalog?", "I'm very glad to meet you," "Thank-you". And when the the other ladies at the booth heard me, they came over to the lady who was serving me. This CD set, from www.transparent.com uses native language speakers, and is kind of cool. I think I flubbed this one.
#465. Yoruba. I then saw Victor O. at his booth. I met him in July of 2004 at the African Unity Festival. He had a store at Lafayette Square Mall, Afri-Mart, but closed it earlier this year. He remembered me. I found out he speaks both Igbo and Yoruba. I had given him an Ibgo Book of Mormon last year. So I brought in a Yoruba Bible, and Yoruba and English Gospel Fundamentals for him. He was very impressed, and very grateful.
#466. Igbo. On the way out to get books for Victor, I met a Nigerian lady who spoke Igbo. So I brought back in Igbo and English copies of the Book of Mormon for her. When I got back her husband and children were there, so I presented them to him. He was impressed and very grateful to receive the books. I had an Igbo Bible with me, but they already had one.
Other contacts I made but will give them material tomorrow:
- A lady from Burma who agreed to see our Burmese pamphlet.
- A lady from Togo who speaks Ewe, who agreed to see our Ewe pamphlet.
In every case I made sure they were aware it was church material, and in most
cases, even after they agreed to see it, I asked if it was okay for me to bring it to them while they were working their booth. Nobody had any problems with it. Nobody acted as if they were put upon. Everyone was very positive about talking about where they were from, and what languages they spoke.
I didn't stop at these booths yet, but we have translations of the Book of Mormon in their language: German, Swedish, Latvian, Ukrainian, Slovenian, Czech, Chinese, Japanese, Indian (India), Russia, Hmong.
I stopped at the Polish booth, but didn't offer a Book of Mormon in Polish. I talked to them about suggestions on doing family history work for my grandfather who was born there.
I stopped at a booth whose owner was from Tanzania, and spoke Swahili, but will offer a book tomorrow.