Moments #578-581. Booth at a Multi-cultural Festival. Sat, May 13, 2006.
05/13/2006. Today I exhibited my collection of 104 translations of the Book of Mormon at a multi-cultural festival at one of the local malls. The deal with the sponsoring organization was that I could exhibit and offer materials, but not actively proselyte.
I applied to be an exhibitor in my own name, and not as a representative of the church.
I believe that a book that has 104 world-language translations fits the concept of multi-cultural very well.
I didn't plan ahead very well, and didn't enlist anyone else with a truck or van to help transport the books. There was another person I could have contacted, but I procrastinated and didn't call him.
I ended up taking two complete sets of 104. Plus several more copies of the more popular translations for which I know there are speakers in town.
I haven't done anything like this since July 2004. It's hard to plan for because you don't know how many people will show up, or what languages will be represented among the attendees. I also took about 15 translations of the Bible. It's better to have extras than not enough, so I basically took almost everything I had in stock. It was about 30 boxes.
I got up early and rented a Uhaul truck, left my car at the Uhaul place, drove home, loaded up the 30 boxes and took them to the mall and set up on my two assigned tables. I had to make about 5 trips with the dolly. I left about 4 boxes in the truck since they were extras. I also enlisted the help of three "mall walkers" to carry a box or two each. I figured they were there to get exercise, and I was offering them a chance to be Good Samaritans while getting their exercise.
There were two basic groups of exhibitors. Public schools and non-school groups. The non-school groups included vendors, social organizations, authors, clubs, associations, fraternities, and some other non-profits.
One thing I needed but didn't have was signage on a tripod or easel to draw attention to the display. I was on the 3rd row of tables in from the mall's main traffic flow, so unless someone actually walked down my aisle, they couldn't tell what I had.
I did get several visitors to the tables, and was also able to strike up conversations with other exhibitors.
Moment #578. An English Book of Mormon to an English-only speaking person.
Moment #579. An Indonesian Book of Mormon, plus 3 multi-lingual DVD's.
Moment #580. Tagalog/English and Hiligaynon/English pairs of the Book of Mormon, plus a Tagalog New Testament, and a Samarenyo Bible.
Moment #581. Thai Book of Mormon, Thai Liahona, and Thai/English bilingual New Testament.
There were also some people who accepted just DVD's.
- 2 DVD's to an English-speaking person (Finding Faith in Christ, and To This End was I born).
- 1 Together Forever DVD to a lady who spoke English and Spanish.
- 3 DVD's to another English-speaking lady (Heavenly Father's Plan, Finding Faith in Christ, and Together Forever).
When the event was over, I packed up and loaded the boxes back in the truck. (I didn't have to unpack all the boxes at the exhibit, but had kept some hidden under the tables in case they were needed.) On my way out with the last trip, I met the Thai lady.
I drove home, unloaded the 30 boxes, drove to the Uhaul, checked out, got my car, and drove home. Took a shower, and went to church for a wedding reception for some friends.
I decided not to load all the "standard" books back into the car as I was tired. They were still separated as my "car boxes" as opposed to "home inventory boxes". But I figured it was just going to be for a few hours and I would risk it.
Then Murphy's law happened. I did need them after all. Twice. After the reception, I stopped at the gas station near the church, and recharged my pre-paid gas card (you get a 4% discount that way, almost 12 cents/gallon now). However, their gas was 10 cents a gallon more expensive than another station of the same brand on my way home. So I didn't buy gas there. But I did see two men who looked like African immigrants. There was an opportunity to say something to one of them outside the gas station, but I didn't take advantage of it. I had some pass-along cards in the car, but that was all, and I didn't think of them at the time.
So I drove home, and stopped at the other station on the way where the gas was 10 cents/gallon cheaper. As I was filling up, an African-looking man with an accent asked me for directions. Argh! I still didn't remember I had pass-along cards, but I gave him one of my business cards, and said I'd get him a New Testament and another book from my church in one of the languages he spoke.