Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Moment #508. Indonesian at Post Office. Tue, Jan 17, 2006

01/17/2006. I stopped at the Post Office on the way to the gym in order to check mail and mail out a package. In my PO Box were some copies of the February 2006 Liahona in several languages. I then got in line to mail out my package.

It's happened before, so I wondered "Will I meet someone who speaks one of these languages?"

There was an Asian-looking man at the counter in the inner lobby. The line was long, so I was standing in the outer lobby. After that man was finished at the counter, he walked by me and I politely got his attention and asked what languages he spoke? He was polite and humble. He said he spoke Indonesian. I said I thought he might have spoken Chinese, and said I was going to offer him a free magazine, and showed him the Chinese Liahona.

I forget how we finished our brief conversation, but we said goodbye and he continued on his way.

I forget at what point I remembered I had an Indonesian Book of Mormon in the car. I think it occurred to me while we were talking, but I wasn't fast or smooth enough to mentally shift gears from Chinese to Indonesian. I was expecting the Lord to make it too easy.

I turned around, and the man was still at a counter in the outer lobby. I came to my senses and realized I could still offer him the Indonesian book. Giving out a Book of Mormon is worth more than losing my place in line.

I got out of line, walked over to the man, and struck up a conversation again. I looked kind of scruffy in my sweats and uncombed hair. There were other people in the lobby noticing us but I didn't care.

I told the man I had a book in Indonesian in my car, that it was from my church, that it was free, and I wanted to give it to him. He seemed a little reluctant, but it was more from surprise that someone wanted to give him a free book. He was a very humble man, and not reluctant to converse, but I was just presenting him with a situation he was not familiar with.

I asked if I could just show it to him, and he indicated it was okay. I asked him to wait in the lobby, and would get it. I retrieved the Indonesian and an English Book of Mormon from my car. He was still at the same spot, and I presented it to him. He was genuinely interested, and probably wanted to chit-chat for longer than I was willing to. He said he's been in the United States for about 30 years, that he was retired, and hasn't read anything in Indonesian for a long time.

He was still surprised at the new situation I had presented him, but he was genuinely grateful, and looked at a couple passages in the Indonesian Book of Mormon almost wistfully. It was more than a merely flip through.

I also presented the English copy, and opened both books to 1 Nephi 1:1, to show him they are parallel, hoping that he would read them together, and hoping it would generate interest.

We shook hands and I then got back in line in the inner lobby.

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