Moment #551. Chinese declined. Mon, Apr 10, 2006.
04/10/2006. I went to a hole-in-the-wall type Chinese restaurant in a strip mall in another part of town. It had the standard backlit pictures of food, and the stack of menus printed by the same printer as almost every other Chinese restaurant.
I orderd at the counter, and sat down, and put out the two kinds of Chinese and an English Book of Mormon.
I had brought in an inexpensive ($3.50) bilingual Chinese/English New Testament, but I had left it in my bag, and did not place it on the table. I probably should have put it out on my table.
They called out my order for me to pick it up at the counter when it was ready. I was thinking I'd have to go back to the counter when I was done to make a book offer, but one of the employees came by to clean up tables, and I engaged her in conversation.
I asked if she was from Taiwan or China, and she said China. I showed her the Simplified Chinese Book of Mormon, and explained it was free and that I would like to give it to her, but she clearly turned it down. I don't think I even got around to showing her there was a parallel English translation. I don't know if that would have made a difference.
When she got back behind the counter, she told one of the other employees about it, because I could make out the words "mo mon gia" a couple of times.
The Chinese word that the LDS translators used for "book" in "Book of Mormon", gia, is the same word used for "Bible". If you look at the covers, you can see that the symbol is the same. This almost always confuses Chinese Christians into thinking that we use the Book of Mormon to replace the Holy Bible. So her clear avoidance of my offer could have meant she was a member of one of the local Chinese churches.
I didn't think it proper to approach any of the other employees. There was an Hispanic employee who was on break, and I probably could have approached him, but I would have had to go out to the car for a Spanish copy. I had taken in my small bag, with just Chinese and English copies. My larger bag that I use for larger Asian restaurants has Chinese, English, Indonesian, Korean, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Spanish.
I'm going to vary my approach next time and put out the inexpensive paperback Chinese/English New Testament. Unfortunately, it only comes in Traditional (Taiwan-style) Chinese, and not Simplified Chinese. International Bible Society has a bilingual Chinese/English Bible in Simplfied style, but it's a $20 hardback, a little too expensive for me to give away. Though I don't mind giving out the $3.50 Tradtional Chinese/English paperback New Testament.