Moment #515. Yoruba at laundromat. Fri, Jan 20, 2006.
01/20/2006. (Actually starting late Thursday night the 19th). I was doing a late-nighter at the all-night laundromat. There were several Hispanic individuals and couples, but nobody obviously stood out. There was one couple at the next folding table over from mine that was real lovey-dovey, with lots of PDA. The thought of offering them a "Together Forever" DVD crossed my mind, but I didn't think I had any in the car. They reminded me of a young married couple that a companion and I taught in my mission 20 years ago. That couple investigated the church because they were attracted to the idea of being together forever.
There was one African-looking young man, but his dress was rather Americanized. The main clue that he might have been African was his shoulder bag, something I've rarely if ever seen young African-American men carry. He was by himself at first, but was sitting with an African-American young lady when I was using the dryers. I decided not to contact him.
I had a lot of laundry, so it took several trips to the car to take everything out. On my last trip out, he was using a dryer near the door, and I got that antsy feeling that indicated a contact was in order, but I chickened out thinking it was too late. As I grabbed my last group of clothes on hangers and approached the exit, the automatic door didn't open, and I couldn't leave. Hmmmm, coincidence? Is God trying to tell me something? I thought it possible that I had approached the door from the wrong angle, and the detector device that opens the door just didn't see me.
Whether just a random malfunction, or approaching at the wrong angle, or divine intervention, the pause at the closed door was enough to allow me to repent of my "chickening out" and decide to approach the man.
So with clothes-on-hangers in one hand, I walked the four steps back to speak to the gentleman. There was a folding table between us, so it was a respectful distance, and I was not invading his space. I asked him if he spoke French. He said no. I asked if he spoke any other languages, and he said yes, and that he was from Africa, from Nigeria. I asked if he spoke Igbo, and he said no, that he spoke Yoruba.
I said I had a Yoruba Sunday School manual from my church in my car, and offered to show it to him, and he enthusiastically said yes.
I took my clothes out to the car, and retrieved Yoruba and English copies of Gospel Fundamentals, Yoruba and English copies of the Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet, an English Book of Mormon, and an English Bible.
I presented the Yoruba Gospel Fundamentals to him, and he eagerly started flipping through the pages. He said he could just barely read Yoruba. I said that I knew that only English is taught in Nigerian schools, and he nodded his head. Then he said that his parents would really like it though. I offered him the English version, and he accepted that too. I still had the plastic zip lock bag of an English Bible and English Book of Mormon. I asked if he needed a Bible, and he indicated he already had one. I offered the Book of Mormon to go with his Bible. He asked what it was, and I said that we use it in conjunction with the Bible, and he accepted it.
I practiced a few words in Yoruba with him, and he could understand me. He seemed pleased at my attempts. I said I learned it from a CD. I suggested that if he knew anyone else who wanted Yoruba material to please contact me, and I took my leave.