Sunday, June 25, 2006

Moment #627. Amharic/Arabic/Somali. Sun, Jun 25, 2006.

06/26/2006. On the way to church, I saw a man standing on the side of the road at a bus stop. It was the Ethiopian man I met on June 17th. I had given him Amharic material, and given him a ride home from the store.

I turned the corner and pulled around through the shopping center parking lot to meet up with him. He was on his way to work, and was going to take a bus downtown, and then transfer to get to his destination.

I offered to take him directly to his destination, and he agreed. The place he needed to take care of business was more like an open air waiting area. It was not too far out of my way, and there was a direct line of travel from there back to church, so it was not much of a delay at all. I dropped him off and hurried off to church and made it in right before the opening hymn.

After church, I hung around the chapel for about an hour, and decided to check up on him and see if he needed a ride back home. I drove to the waiting area, parked, and took out some more Amharic Books of Mormon. He wasn't there. But, there were many African and middle eastern immigrants there. I asked for him, and most of them knew him. They asked what books I had in my hands. I replied, and they asked if I had any in Somali or Arabic. It started to rain, so we gathered near the shelter, and eventually went in. Many of them were excited about books, even religious books, in their native languages.

It got kind of confusing with many people asking questions and asking to see what I had, and asking for Bibles, etc.

I ended up going back to my car a few times and bringing back as much as I had in their languages. I knew I'd have to go home and get more. It also occurred to me to get the missionaries.

I headed to the chapel, but about 3/4ths of the way there, I called around to see where the missionaries were, and found them at one of their apartments, turned around, went home, got more books, and then picked up the missionaries. It was about 90 minutes before I got back, and some of the men there had to leave before I got back.

We gave out a few more books, but the "magic moment" was gone. One of the World Cup soccer matches came on the TV in the shelter house, so there was a lot of commotion, and no chance to discuss the gospel.

I lost track of what all we gave out. But it included a few Amharic, Arabic, English, and maybe French Books of Mormon. English Bibles. Amharic New Testaments. Somali and English Gospel Fundamentals. English Gospel Principles, and maybe Arabic Gospel Principles.

The missionaries were a bit disappointed we didn't get any solid referrals or appointments. But most of the men who received material should have my card, and the local info-flyer with the mission office phone number on it. And I do have a way of finding the man I originally gave a ride to.

The excitement generated when I first returned to that waiting area by myself after church (before I went there with the missionaries) was almost magical. It's not the same when you go back and try to re-create it or manage it. You just have to let the Spirit do his thing.

Anyway, I will follow up with the man I gave the ride to, my initial contact. And, on a nice day when everyone is outside, I might go back to the waiting area and try to give out more material, or get appointments or referrals for the missionaries.

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