Monday, July 03, 2006

Moment #636. Swahili at ATM. Mon, Jul 3, 2006.

07/03/2006. This is where the "timing factor" instructions from Moment #634 come into play. This illustrates that in some things the Lord can influence us (or "maneuver us into position") without our knowing it, but sometimes he wants us to follow promptings and impressions to get us to certain places.

After lunch, I came back via the Interstate to the exit near the Post Office, checked mail, and picked up a package at the counter. Before leaving I decided to give one of the postal clerks my card to give to some acquaintances of hers from Ghana. I wrote on the card that I had Sunday school manuals and hymns in her friends' language.

I then needed to deposit a check I received in the mail. Now that I was at the Post office, I would be going to the ATM nearest the Post Office. However, if I had picked up my mail first before eating (and had followed my personal preference to get off the Interstate and buy gas near the Post Office), I would have ended up using my bank's ATM that was only one block from the Chinese restaurant, as that would have been less driving. But I had followed the Spirit's prompting or "tug" to stay on the Interstate and check mail after eating.

So after getting my mail and package at the Post Office, I headed to the bank with the ATM that was four blocks away (away from the Interstate) to deposit the check.

As I pulled into the bank's parking lot, I noticed an African-looking man walking from the bank to the parking lot. He set off my immigrant radar. I noticed which car he got in, and fortunately I would be able to walk right past him and his car when heading for the ATM.

I walked right past his car and turned my head around to look and make sure, and yes, I felt a sense of urgency about contacting him. Approaching him, even after he was in his car felt right. He had rolled down his window, so it would not be too awkward.

Yes, it is normally awkward approaching someone after they've already gotten into their car, but the confluence of events leading up to it, and the obvious feeling that I should contact him made it right.

I asked if he spoke any foreign languages. He said yes. I asked where he was from. He said Tanzania. I asked if he spoke Swahili, and he broke into a smile and said yes.

I asked if he wanted some free books in Swahili from my church and he enthusiastically said yes. He said he was Muslim, but he still would like to see them. I asked him to wait while I got them from my car, and brought back a Swahili and an English Book of Mormon.

He was thrilled with them. I said the address of the church was inside, and he could call me or the other numbers in there if he wanted more copies for friends. After I got back in my car, I looked and could tell he was still reading it.

I don't know how to sufficiently or properly express thanks to the Lord for the privilege of being his delivery-boy. Had I done only what I had planned, and stopped at only the gas station I wanted to, I would have missed the Cambodian woman. Had I done my errands in the sequence I wanted to, in what I thought would have been the safest and most efficient manner, I would have totally missed the man from Tanzania.

I stand all amazed. The Lord knew exactly where those two people were, and he arranged those encounters. They must have been ready to receive the Book of Mormon.

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