Monday, April 10, 2006

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.


At 4/17/2006 06:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a Chinese lab partner in college, and I tried to offer her a Book of Mormon, but she explained that she only read the Bible. I saw some religious paraphrenalia in her notebook containing a lot of "Bible only" information. I wonder if that's common with a lot of Chinese churches.

Interestingly enough, I was at Circle Centre Mall with my husband a few years back, and there were Chinese or Korean missionaries who barely spoke a lick of English proselyting for an "Eternal Families" program being held at a church out on German Church Rd. I'm thinking they were Korean since there are a lot of Korean churches on the east side of Indianapolis.

Speaking of Korean, have you been to Bando? It's a Korean restaurant on the east side of Indy. I know an RM who served in Korea said the food is really good. You can also get some really good Korean food at the food court at Saraga International Grocery. I've never seen so much kim chi in my life--I was in heaven!

At 4/17/2006 11:14:00 PM, Blogger Bookslinger said...

I think a lot of the reluctance for Chinese Christians comes from seeing the title of the Book of Mormon coming across as "Mormon Bible" in Chinese.

What I'm going to do is always take a Chinese/English bilingual New Testament from now on, to illustrate that we believe in both.

It's kind of hard to get across that the Book of Mormon does not replace "The Bible" when the symbol on the front is the same Chinese symbol used to translate "Bible".

Though the church is strong in Taiwan, I believe the church translation department (or whatever they call it) is aware of some translation issues with the Chinese Book of Mormon, at least according to what one Chinese member told me.


Thanks for the reminder of Bando. I've been there. I've been to Saraga to shop, but haven't eaten there yet.

Just up Pendleton Pike from Bando's is "Mama's House" on the same side of the street. It's about 1 block before you get to Post Road.


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