Friday, September 29, 2006

Yoruba at African store. Fri, Sep 29, 2006.

09/29/2006. 727. A little variety store near a corner has been there for years, but only today did I drive close enough to see the word "African" as part of the lettering on the front window. I decided to stop in. It was a small food, clothing, and variety stype store. A very nice lady from Nigeria was the clerk, and I assume the owner too. I shopped a little, and bought some stuff that I like.

She spoke Yoruba, and she helped me with some pronunciation of some words that I picked up from a multi-media language CD. I offered her the Sunday school manual (Gospel Fundamentals) in Yoruba and English, and she was enthusiastic about receiving it. I took my purchases out to the car, and brought back in the Yoruba and English Gospel Fundamentals.

She expressed interest in attending church, so I pointed out the Mission Office phone number, and also wrote down the sister missionaries' phone number.

This store is close to where the sister missionaries live. I'll give them this info for a follow-up, and give them a couple dollars to purchase something.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Diet cola withdrawal, part 2.

It's been a week since I started tapering off, and a couple days since I haven't had any caffeinated soda. The caffeine tablets seem to be an effective way to ward off the caffeine withdrawal headeaches and the low energy. And I can already see the need for less caffeine.

I now see that there was a psychological addiction of the physical act of drinking soda. Occasionally, I just plain miss having a can of bubbly liquid at the ready that I can sip from. There are times throughout the day when I'm not thirsty and not tired, but just plain "need to drink something." This is in addition to or separate from the physiological desire or "need" for the caffeine.

Perhaps this is the equivalent to a smoker who is psychologically accustomed to the condition of having a cigarette in hand that he regularly brings to his lips, and needs a lollipop/sucker as a pacifier, or just a pencil in his hand to be holding something.

So I'm keeping a glass of water handy, and that seems to be a somewhat substitute for the "need to be sipping on something" part of this.

I mentioned a pill cutter in a previous entry. I had already noticed that the 200 mg dose of a caffeine pill was too much compared to my 45 mg "hits" of Diet Coke, so I was taking 100 mg in half-pill form. Now, I'm seeing the relative excess of the 100 mg doses, and will cut the pills in quarter sections for 50 mg doses.

Even though the individual dosage will be about the same as a can of Diet Coke, the goal is still to take it less often, and eventually taper down to the point of not needing any at all.

I think the cola addiction is somewhat akin to smoking addiction. The physiological addiction of caffeine or nicotine is tied to an outward physical habit of sipping the cola, or smoking the cigarette. I don't know how to word it right, but there seems to be a reinforcement there between the outward physical act of drinking/smoking and the inner chemical dependency.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Dating while traveling, via Family History Centers.

This is for you single road-warriors, whether you fly or drive, who find yourselves spending weekends on the road with nothing do do.

While traveling, you have dutifully looked up the local chapels in the phone book, or online phone book, or online at, and have gone to church in the city which you are visiting, but then you found out that there was some cool singles event the previous Friday or Saturday night that you could have gone to had you known about it.

Or you met some drop-dead gorgeous single at church, who's unattached, and also was dateless that weekend.

Perhaps you've tried to plan ahead, but whenever you call the chapel's office or foyer phone numbers listed on the church's ward and stake web-sites, that you found via the meetinghouse locator, no one is there. Or you call on a busy Sunday, and your request to have the Singles Representative call you back gets lost, or there is no Singles Rep for that ward, and no one knows who the Stake Singles Reps are.

Here's one solution: Call one or more of the Family History Centers in the area you plan on visiting. Look it up at, and call during their scheduled hours throughout the week.

Generally, it will be staffed by faithful and active members, and they will usually have a stake directory handy to look up and see who the Stake Singles Representatives, or their ward singles contacts are. Or, they will know who to call to find out. Just tell them you'll be in town that weekend and want to visit any singles activities that might be going on. Let them know which singles group, 18 to 30 (YSA/Young Single Adult) or 31+ (SA/Single Adult) you are in.

It may take a few messages and phone calls, but you'll eventually be able to find someone.

And if you're on the cusp, age-wise, don't be afraid to visit the other younger/older group. The age groups are a guideline, not a hard-and-fast rule. But my experience is that the older singles have the better food at their events. The "senior sisters" are the best cooks!

I've done this twice, and it worked for me. One time, one of the Stake Singles Representatives was working at the Family History Center when I called.

You might also get restaurant and tourist information from one of the volunteers.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Amira's friends from Bishkek visit Indianapolis.

As commented on The Golden Road to Samarqand.

Amira, I sent this to you in email, but I wanted to tell the rest of your readers about the small miracle in Indianapolis today.

We had church members from Kyrgyzstan visit our ward today. I told them about your blog, but didn't know your real name. When I told them you volunteered at the Bishkek Baby House, they immediately knew who you were.

I found out they will be seeing you later in the week, and will be getting their endowments and be sealed to each other.

They were in town visiting a hospitalized teenager from Kyrgyzstan, and wanted to find a Russian-speaking member of the church to visit him.

Because I'm a busy-body who asks about what languages people speak, I knew there was a young adult from one of the former Soviet republics in the YSA branch that meets in our building in the afternoon, and that he spoke Russian. I told the Kyrgyz couple about him, and they came back later to meet him. After the YSA branch's meetings, they got together and were speaking Russian a mile a minute, and exchanged information.

Our local Russian-speaking guy should be able to help comfort the Russian-speaking Kyrgyz guy in the hospital, too.

I told a counselor in the branch presidency what was going on, and he said he has a secretary from Russia, who is also a member of the church. So I introduced him to the visitors from Kyrgyzstan, and he gave her contact info to them.

Now I know someone who knows you, and was able to help them make the Russian contact that they wanted to make here.

Oh what fun connecting the dots.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

One way to give up caffeinated soda drinks.

09/21/2006. I'm addicted to Diet Coke and similar caffeinated diet colas. It's easy to quit, I've done it many times. The problem is going back to it.

Aside from caffeine addiction, another detrimental effect of soft drinks, caffeinated or not, is that they make you retain water. If you want to lose 2 to 3 pounds in 2 days, stop drinking sodas, and replace the same volume of beverages with water, and see what happens. The health advice that says "your body treats sodas as 'food' as opposed to 'water'" seems to be true. If you drink sodas, your body thinks it's not getting enough water, so it hoards it. If you drink sufficient water (real water, not sodas, etc.) your body says "I'm getting sufficient water on a regular basis, so I won't hoard water any more."

Anyway, I think I've found a new trick to quitting, that seems to be starting off well. Inexpensive caffeine tablets (200 mg) from the drug store. Popular brands, as many of us remember from our student days, are "No Doz" and "Vivarin," but the generics are less expensive.

My goal is to give up one addiction at a time. First, to give up the habit of always reaching for a soda. Second, only take enough caffeine tablets to ward off headaches and to maintain energy level. Then third, gradually cut down the caffeine tablets. That way I won't have to struggle with the soda-drinking habit and the caffeine habit at the same time.

The first benefit I see, even after just 2 days, is that the amount of caffeine I presently "need" via the tablets is much less than the amount I was drinking.

Depending on the flavor and brand, most caffeinated sodas generally have from 36 to 45 mg of caffeine per 12 ounce can. Mountain Dew has 55, and Jolt 71. There are web pages that list the caffeine content of various soft drinks, here, here, here, here. Or do a search on "amount caffeine in coke".

I used to quit colas cold turkey, and would get tremendous caffeine-withdrawal headaches, which would gradually reduce until they totally stopped after two weeks. My energy levels would drop too, because caffeine artificially increases blood-sugar levels. Drinking caffeine in large amounts over a short period of time has been shown to raise blood sugar, as described here, here, and here.

The last couple times I quit, I used the "taper off" method, rationing myself with 12 ounce cans (rather than the 24 ounce mason jar poured from a 2-liter). I'd ration myself, cutting down a little every day, but also allowing myself a "hit" whenever I started to get a headache. After a week, I was at the point where I only had a can of soda whenever I had a headache. After two weeks, I was down to zero.

Since a can of cola has only one-fourth the caffeine in a tablet, I use a pill cutter (just a couple dollars at the drug store) to divide the tablets up into smaller doses.

I think the soda-drinking habit will be overcome in one to two weeks. Besides, it wasn't the craving to drink something bubbly that made me fall off the wagon all those times. It was the lethargy, whether real or relative, due to not having caffeine in me all the time.

Even if I take only one 200 mg tablet of caffeine per day, that's less than 1/2 the amount of caffeine I was injesting via sodas. Plus it will save hundreds of dollars per year not buying all that soda. $2/day times 365 days/year = $730/year.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Now's the time to order Joy to the World pass-along cards.

Now's the time to order Joy to the World pass-along cards. $2.00 per package of 100 cards. The cards are also available in Spanish and French.

The "Joy to the World" DVD is a presentation by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

They are almost always well-received. You can give them out like candy to everyone you meet. Cashiers and clerks at stores, people standing next to you in line wherever you are.

My conversation starter is usually: "Would you like a free DVD of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas presentation?"

A really cool thing, that is not mentioned on the pass-along card, is that it's available in a variety of formats including a multi-lingual DVD that has audio tracks in German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean.

The multi-lingual DVD also has sub-titles in Danish, English, Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish.

You can also get the English DVD, the English/Spanish DVD, the English videocassette, French videocassette, and Spanish videocassette.

If your ward wants to go "whole hog" on it, and give out the DVD's instead of just pass-along cards, you can buy a case of 50 DVD's, or a case of 50 videocassettes for $144. That's $2.88 each. If you buy less than a case, the DVD's are $6.20, and the videocassettes are $5.70.

There is some teaching/proselyting material on the DVD. It's not entirely music.

Sisters place Vietnamese books at nail salon.

Recorded 09/20/2006. Sunday September 10th, I asked the two sister missionaries in our ward if they still had the two Vietnamese Books of Mormon and the $30 in an envelope that I had given previous sister missionaries. They said it was still in their apartment. I then encouraged them to get their nails done (manicure) at a nail salon ($15/each) and strike up a conversation about the Book of Mormon being in Vietnamese. They thought that since it was a personal service, it should be done on Preparation Day. I said that my opinion was that it was proselyting work, and could be done any day, and that they might ask the mission president what his thoughts were.

Sunday the 17th, the two sister missionaries told me that they had gone to a Vietnamese-owned nail salon to have their nails done, and it turned out just like I had suggested. The two nail-operators (is that what they're called?) eagerly received the Vietnamese Book of Mormon. I had suggested leaving the books in their car, and retrieving them afterward, so as not to be too pushy about it, to wait until the person accepts the offer, and they said that that approach was cool.

One of the operators received the English edition to go along with it, and the other declined the English. I suggested to the sisters that if someone accepts the foreign language edition, but turns down the English, then it's okay to be a little bold about pushing the English, because not everyone is quick to pick up on the bilingual aspect of using both editions to learn or improve on their English reading skills. I told the sisters about how I sometimes open up both books to 1 Nephi 1:1 and read the English while pointing to the verse in both editions at the same time.

Monday, September 18, 2006

French, missed op, Japanese declined. Mon, Sep 18, 2006.

09/18/2006. 725. I stopped at a dollar store (didn't they used to be "dime" stores?) for some office supply stuff, and ended up giving French and English copies of the New Testament, French and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and a multi-lingual "Finding Faith in Christ" DVD to the clerk who was from western Africa.

09/18/2006. Missed opportunity. I had supper at a Chinese restaurant. I had given out material here before, and was hoping to do a follow-up. Two female seasoned-citizens were eating at the booth next to mine. They were kind of cool, wise-cracking, and spoke with a slight Jewish accent. I struck up a conversation about the restaurant. It occurred to me to invite them to our singles Family Home Evening at church, because we have several widowed ladies in their age range, but I chickened out. I forgot to approach the employees.

09/18/2006. 726. I stopped at another discount store on the way home. I met a Japanese lady in the parking lot. She had parked near me and was getting out of her car just as I was getting out of mine. I started the conversation with "Hi. Where are you from?" and "Do you like to read in Japanese?" She said she didn't have time, and turned down the offer of a Japanese Book of Mormon.

Labels: , , ,

Wonderful partnership of learning. Mon, Sep 18, 2006.

Miscellaneous updates.

09/17/2006. Laundry night. I met an American lady at the laundromat who's a world traveller. She's a trainer for an airline, and not afraid to talk to strangers. We talked about international travel, and about the many countries represented by immigrants in the US. I told her of the annual International Festival in Indianapolis, and gave her the web site. We also talked about some ethnic restaurants and grocery stores in Indianapolis, and she's a fan of ethnic food too. I told her about how I give out foreign language Bibles and copies of the Book of Mormon to immigrants. But I didn't offer her one.

09/18/2006. The investigator came to church for the 2nd time. He's planning on visiting a YSA activity mid-week. I was also able to get the name and ward of a local elder who's currently serving a mission in this investigator's home country, and will be back in the middle of next year.

09/18/2006. I looked up the family of the elder serving in that other country in the online phone book (, called, confirmed it was the right one, told them of the investigator, expressed a desire to make contact when he returns, and left them my name and phone number. I got the mission address from and will write the elder a letter. is also great for looking up ethnic restaurants and stores in any city. If I forget to write down the address of where I give out copies of the Book of Mormon, I sometimes look them up here when I get home. and are also good for trying to figure out exactly where I was.

I sometimes use to plan an itinerary of ethnic restaurants in my destination cities when I travel. I try to follow the pattern of what Oliver Cowdery was taught in Section 9 verse 8, to study things out, to do my home-work. That puts us in a position where the Lord can confirm it or not. But also as a result of doing and exploring what we can, the consequence or blessing seems to be further directions that take us beyond what we could have discovered on our own. It's a wonderful partnership of learning. In consequence of trying to do some small things on my own, the Lord seems to give me opportunities to do more. I seek out some restaurants and book-placement opportunties on my own, and then the Lord seems to say "Great, now go do that again over at this other place" and the Spirit leads me to or points out another store or restaurant.

The important point being: If I hadn't studied a little and taken action on my own, I wouldn't have been in position (mentally or geographically) to receive revelation for further steps. And the humbling point being: even the initial desire to study and do something was implanted in me by the Lord in the first place. The Lord Christ is the source of all good. It's all about Him.

For every little thing I try to learn on my own, the Lord teaches me more. I took both styles of the Chinese Book of Mormon to restaurants, and a very kind man taught me the history and the difference between the Traditional Chinese script and the Simplified Chinese script. I took Amharic Books of Mormon to the laundromats, and people taught me the differences and similarities between Amharic, Tigrinya, and Ge'ez. I encountered Africans who taught me the relationship between Shona, Zulu, and N'debele. I encountered Nigerians who taught me about Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, and Isoko. Then I can take that knowledge and go to the Internet and learn more, and the cycle of learning repeats and increases.

09/18/2006. Emailed with the sister with whom I had dinner in Illinois. The information for the three follow-ups from my road-trip has been passed along to the missionaries. None of the 3 contacts formally requested missionaries, but one said she was looking for a new church, so that one at least merits a follow-up. The other two were the restaurant placements.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

An investigator! Thu, Sep 14, 2006.

09/14/2006. The man who visited church on Sunday had the missionaries over for an official lesson today, and I got to tag along.

As far as I know, he's only the third person from all my contacts to have received the missionaries. But I hope that there have been others that I don't know about.

Earlier this week, I received a report from the other set of missionaries that another of my contacts called them and left a phone message. But the phone number that he left apparently belonged to someone else.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Oops. Adjustment needed. Wed, Sep 13, 2006.

09/13/2006. I had an awkward moment today with someone I had met before, but I didn't recognize them. My conversation starters don't work well with people who remember me, but I don't remember them. Unless someone really stands out, I don't remember them out of the hundreds of people whom I've approached.

This might be one reason why missionaries are rotated to different areas.

Another reason for altering my conversation starters is what if I run into someone who received a book from someone else? Or what if someone else starts doing this, and runs into someone to whom I've already given a book?

If all Mormons were to give out books at the drop of a hat, people would eventually say "Yeah, yeah, I got your book. Now leave me alone."

I've been mulling over a few things. Anyone have any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Swahili at grocery. Tues, Sep 12, 2006

09/12/2006. Journal entry. (No material given, just phone number.) I dropped off a flat tire at a tire store for repair and while waiting decided to walk around the shopping center. At the other end of the shopping center I entered a grocery store to use their public restroom. When I came out and passed the checkout lanes, I noticed a man speaking a foreign language on his cell phone.

After I got outside I thought it might be worthwhile waiting for a few seconds to see if he came out that doorway, and he did.

I thought I might have talked with him before, so I started by asking if we spoke before. He said no. He spoke perfect English and he said he spoke Swahili. I thought it would have been too awkward to ask him to wait while I ran across the big parking lot to my car or to ask him to drive over while I walked back to where my car was, so I could have given him a Book of Mormon in Swahili from my car. So I just gave him my business card, and asked him to call me for an 800 number where he could get free copies of the Book of Mormon in Swahili and English. I didn't have any pass-along cards on me!

It didn't occur until later that I could have just given him the Book of Mormon 800 number from memory (888-537-2200) and he could have programmed it into his cell phone to call later. And I didn't have a pen on me to write it down on the back of my business card.

But I asked him to call me, and that I'd give him the 800 number over the phone, and he could call the church to obtain one by mail, or that we could arrange for me to deliver the book to him.

The pass-along cards are too large to comfortably fit in a wallet. Maybe they could make business-card sized ones. Or maybe I could just put the church's Book of Mormon 800 # on my personal card the next time I have them printed up. But I don't want to have anything pre-printed with my name/number and the church's number on it because that would give the impression that I was an employee.

I think I may place a custom-order to have some separate business-sized cards made up with basic pass-along card info on them. Basic cards with standard layout are $17 (or less) per 1,000 at office supply stores. I'll get with the ward mission leader on that.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Aunt made her give books back, at buffet. Mon, Sep 11, 2006.

09/11/2006. 724. I was at a nice buffet on the East side of town. They had lots of wait staff to take your used plate away as soon as you were done. I didn't put out the Chinese Books of Mormon until after I brought my first plate of food back. The waiter was sneaking peaks, but didn't want to be caught looking at the books, so I started the conversation. I asked if he liked to read Chinese, and where he was from.

I opened the books and asked which one he preferred, and he pointed out the Simplified script (LDS catalog suffix -266). Then two waitresses came over and they wanted to see too. They exhibited the gregariousness of excited young adults. I only brought in two Simplified copies, two Traditional copies, and two English. I probably could have given more out had I brought more in, but when I offered to get more from the car, they didn't respond, so they probably didn't understand.

Anyway, the waiter, and one of the waitresses each took a pair of Simplified Chinese and English. The waitress at first declined the English because she didn't read English, but the other waitress, who spoke better English, helped explain that reading them together would help her learn.

All three of them started browsing the books back at their wait-station, chatting back and forth in Chinese about it. And that attracted the attention of the cashier/supervisor. Eventually the waitress brought back both her books, and very apologetically returned them to me. If I understood her correctly, her aunt didn't want her to have them. There was no explanation, and her English wasn't good enough to communicate non-restaurant vocabulary. So I was left to wonder if it was because the Book of Mormon is Christian and they are Buddhist, or whether they are Christian and consider the Book of Mormon to be a counterfeit Bible.

Again, the strange choice of the Chinese word that the translators used to translate the word "Book" in the title "The Book of Mormon" may have come into play. It comes out "Mormon Bible" when you translate it back into English. So the problem is that Chinese who are already Christian misunderstand what it is and jump to the wrong conclusion.

Anyway, the waiter kept his pair of books.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Man came to visit church. Sun, Sep 10, 2006.

09/10/2006. It had to happen sooner or later. A man to whom I had given a pair of copies of the Book of Mormon showed up at church for the afternoon meetings. I stayed around and attended the meetings with him. He made an appointment with the missionaries for them to go visit him.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Twi at market. Sat, Sep 9, 2006.

09/09/2006. 723. I was heading home from the beauty supply store mentioned in the previous entry. I was going to go past one of my favorite Asian stores, so I stopped in. I was very thirsty, so I got a cold can of soda to drink outside before going back in to do more shopping.

A young adult couple were ahead of me in line. I couldn't tell where the lady was from, but the man wore a T-shirt depicting Africa, and he spoke with an accent.

We exited together, so I asked him where he was from, and what languages he spoke. He spoke English, French, Twi, and some others. I offered him a Twi Book of Mormon, and he eagerly accepted, so I went to my car and retrieved them. I forgot I had a Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet in my car in one of the other languages he mentioned.

He eagerly accepted the material. I thought I had more stuff at home in some of his languages, so I suggested he call me and I'd arrange to get him the other material. I forgot to offer him French material.

His lady friend was on her cell phone when I was talking to him. Her body English didn't seem friendly towards me so I didn't offer her anything when she got off the phone.

He did say that he was looking for a church, but didn't have a car, so I gave him the elder missionaries' phone number, and also suggested to call them or me, and we'd arrange for someone to pick him up if he wanted to visit.

Labels: ,

Mongolian at Library. Sat, Sep 9, 2006.

09/09/2006. 722. Good things often happen on the way home from the chapel. It's our ward's month to clean the chapel, and the Elders Quorum's weekend.

I did my part, and headed home. There's a public library on my way home, and right before I passed it I had the idea of stopping in there. I dismissed the idea, but after I passed it, a voice in my head said something like "Aren't you going to go to the libary?"

So I turned around and went back to the library. There were some other people who went in at the same time as I but they didn't seem like they were my intended contacts. I figured I could check email, so I signed up for a public Internet workstation, and waited and browsed.

When my turn came up, I logged in, checked my email and messed around a little bit on the Internet. Then I signed off, and headed for the front door.

Right before I got to the front desk, I saw an Asian man there, and our eyes met. An alarm went off in my head, and I knew he was my intended contact.

I continued on towards the door, went about a step past him, then turned around and asked "Sir, what languages do you speak?" He said "Mongolian."

He was just concluding his transaction at the front desk and getting ready to leave, so it was a smooth encounter. I offered him the Book of Mormon in Mongolian, and he was very positive in his response that he'd like to see it. So we went outside together, and he waited while I retrieved it and an English copy from my car.

He was a very humble and reserved man, so he did not show a lot of emotion, but I could tell he was amazed and grateful when he saw it. And he wanted the English copy too.

I then asked him if he knew the Mongolian lady who worked at a beauty supply store on such-and-such road. He said no, that he didn't know her. This man and that lady at the beauty supply store are the only two Mongolians I know, and they didn't know each other, so I figured I should put them in contact with each other.

We both had some time free, so I suggested he follow me in his car. So I drove from the library to the beauty supply store, and he followed. When we got there, he reiterated he didn't know anyone who worked there, and we went in together. Unfortunately, she wasn't there. But the owner said she was just off that day, and would be in tomorrow.

The young man I was with didn't have a phone, so he couldn't leave his number for her, but he wrote a note in Mongolian, and the owner said he'd give it to her.

At least the young man knows where she works, and can go back to try to meet up with her. I also found out this man's parents are also in Indianapolis.

I don't want to rejoice too much, because it might be that they already know each other, and he just didn't know where she worked, and in that case, I'm making too big a deal of this.

But, if they don't know each other, then this was a really cool thing to get two Mongolian families in town together. Imagine living in a big foreign city, thinking you're the only Mongolians in town, and you meet fellow country-men.

Plus, this young man received a book containing the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ in his native language, Mongolian!

Oh, and he did express interest in going to church sometime. So I showed him the list of chapels, where our chapel was, and drew a crude map on it. I also explained a little about the family ward and the singles branch that meets there.

I would probably have asked for his phone number to arrange for a ride, but he didn't have a phone. I didn't feel confident enough to ask for his address.

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 07, 2006

French at Chinese buffet. Thu, Sep 7, 2006.

09/07/2006. 721. Who'd have thunk? Two men were sitting near me speaking French. When one went back to the buffet tables, I struck up a conversation with the one still at their table. He was very enthusiastic to receive a French Book of Mormon, and I also gave him Heavenly Father's Plan and "Introduction to the Church" multilingual DVD's. Both have French audio tracks on them. I had to go out to the car and retrieve them because I had only taken in Chinese material.

I've already been to this restaurant at least once, and the employees were rather lukewarm when I offered them material. But I had a strong impression I had to eat lunch at this place today. Wow.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Vietnamese declined at grocery. Wed, Sep 6, 2006.

09/06/2006. 720. I struck up a conversation with a young adult Asian man at the grocery store. It was awkward at first, but he was very pleasant and polite. He declined to receive the Book of Mormon. I forgot that I had several issues of the Vietnamese Liahona in my car, one of which arrived today. Those are sometimes accepted when the Book of Mormon is declined.

Shona bedtime story: Sons of Helaman. Wed, Sep 6, 2006.

09/06/2006. 719. I was at a store when a man with two small children came in. He spoke with an accent, but his small children, perhaps 2 and 4 years old did not have any discernible accent.

When the moment was right, I asked where he was from, and he said Zimbabwe. I asked if he spoke Shona, and he said yes, and he asked me how I knew about it. I said I've met other Zimbabweans, and asked if he had met a couple of my other contacts. He knew one, but not the other.

I offered the Book of Mormon in Shona, and he enthusiastically accepted. I retrieved Shona and English copies from my car, and presented them.

I pointed out the index entry for "Helaman, Sons of" and suggested that would be good reading for his children, in order to teach them Shona. The story of the sons of Helaman is in the book of Alma, chapters 53, 56, 57 and 58.

We also exchanged business cards.

Labels: ,

Declined at grocery. Wed, Sep 6, 2006.

09/06/2006. 718. Early AM. I don't know how to properly describe this, so I won't. I'm not sure which aspect was the key point. I'm not sure of the overall purpose of the encounter. A very strong lesson in this encounter was that even when someone turns down your offer of a free Book of Mormon, it was the making of the offer that the Lord wants done. The offer is the testimony. The offer is the message. The contact itself is some kind of message to that person. The message or the purpose of the message or the purpose of the contact probably varies from person to person. Only the Lord knows the big picture.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Stopped to help Taiwanese pedestian. Tue, Sep 5, 2006.

09/05/2006. 717. I was driving on a road that crosses over the Interstate, and on the other side of the road, walking in the other direction was a lady pulling a suitcase on wheels. It was very out of place as there was no sidewalk. This road just connected a few apartment complexes and it was not someplace you normally saw pedestrians. And especially not a fragile-looking person in their late 50's or early 60's, wearing shoes that were totally inappropriate for the terrain, and dragging a suitcase on wheels.

I wanted to offer her a ride to wherever she was going, but first I had to move some boxes out of the front seat. When I got to a place where there was room, I pulled over on my side of the road, cleared the front seat, then did a U-turn to get back to her.

She was almost at the next apartment complex. I pulled over, rolled down the window and offered her a ride. It turned out she was going to that apartment complex anyway, so she was almost at her destination. She politely declined my offer of a ride.

She appeared Asian, so I asked where she was from. She said Taiwan. I asked if she liked to read Chinese, and she said something like she was too lazy. I offered her a Chinese Bible and Chinese Book of Mormon, and she gratefully accepted them. I also gave her an English Book of Mormon.

Yes, I realize it can be dangerous to offer rides to strangers, and it can be dangerous to accept rides from strangers. But she was so out of place on that road, it seemed likely that she needed assistance. The boy scout in me more or less demanded that I at least make the offer of assistance. And then since we were already talking anyway, the pragmatist in me demanded I offer her some free books. So off she trundled with 3 books in one hand, and pulling her suitcase with the other. At that point at least, the streets at that apartment complex were smooth.

After a while, I figured that the likely explanation was that a taxi-driver had dropped her off at the wrong apartment complex, and she had to walk over the bridge to get to the right one.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Road Trip, Sat-Sun, Sep 2-3, 2006.

09/02/2006. I took a weekend trip to a town in Illinois.

09/02/2006. 700. On the road, at a gas station to get some pop, I met a Korean lady. She declined to receive a Korean Book of Mormon.

09/02/2006. 701. First stop for gas. I gave one of the owners Hindi and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and Punjabi and English copies of Gospel Fundamentals. He was mildly pleased, not overly enthusiastic, but definitely on the positive side of the scale.

09/02/2006. 702. At the next gas station where I stopped for pop, the cashier declined to receive an Urdu Book of Mormon.

09/02/2006. 703. At another gas stop, some young Koreans declined the Korean Book of Mormon. But the young man cut me off when he misunderstood what my intention was. That station was out of gas. So when I went to the next nearest gas station, and they were also there, but I blew an opportunity to approach them again. I was afraid of trying to correct his misunderstanding. The guilty feeling for not approaching the second time let me know that it was worse to let the misunderstanding continue than try to repair it.

09/02/2006. Missed oppotunity: I stopped in one city in Illinois to shop, and saw a lady with children in the store. She was obviously from India, but I failed to seek an opportunity to speak.

09/02/2006. 704. At another gas station, for soda this time, the cashier enthusiastically accepted Hindi and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and Punjabi and English copies of Gospel Fundamentals. He was very pleased to received them. This was an inspired visit, and felt prompted to take that exit.

09/02/2006. 705. When I got to my destination, and got off the interstate, I felt prompted to stop at one of the gas stations along the main crossroad. Ahead of me in line was a woman who spoke Urdu and she accepted Urdu and English copies of the Book of Mormon. I retrieved them from my car, and met up with her outside before she got on her bus to continue on her trip.

09/02/2006. Missed Opportunity: I stopped at another gas station for something on the way to lunch. A woman came in and pre-paid for gasoline. She spoke with an accent, but I blew my chance to start a conversation. It was doable, but I wasn't quick enough.

09/02/2006. 706. I had lunch at a Thai restaurant, and they accepted copies of the Book of Mormon in Thai and English, and a couple copies of the Thai Liahona. I had looked up this place on the Internet before the trip.

09/02/2006. 707. I gave a Gujerati Bible from the International Bible Society to the owners of the motel I stayed at.

09/02/2006. 708. On the way to my dinner date, I felt prompted to go exploring in a shopping center as I passed by. I found a Filipino market there, and went in to buy some snacks. The owner and three customers accepted copies of the Book of Mormon in various languages that they spoke. A) The owner accepted English, Tagalog, and Hiligaynon copies of the Book of Mormon, and the "To This End Was I Born" DVD. B) A male customer accepted Tagalog and English copies of the Book of Mormon. C) A female customer accepted Tagalog, Cebuano, and English copies of the Book of Mormon. D) Another female customer accepted Tagalog and English copies of the Book of Mormon.

09/02/2006. 709. A single lady who is one of the church singles representatives in that stake, and one of her friends, met me for supper at a Chinese restaurant. She picked out the restaurant, but it was on my list that I compiled from

We gave Chinese and English copies of the Book of Mormon to our waitress. She also accepted a Chinese copy of the Liahona, and a bilingual Chinese/English New Testament from the International Bible Society. Another waitress who spoke Korean and Chinese and English accepted copies of the Book of Mormon in Korean, Chinese, and English, and a Korean Liahona. We also gave our waitress a bilingual Korean/English Bible to give to the Korean lady. I gave one of the sisters who ate dinner with me a Japanese Book of Mormon to take to work.

I've had so much success meeting immigrants at laundromats, I took some laundry with me on the trip. My dinner date told me where a nearby laundromat was, in a section of town that had a lot of immigrants.

09/02/2006. 710. On my way there, I stopped at a Chinese market, bought some more snacks. The cashier there accepted Chinese and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and a couple DVD's.

09/02/2006. 711. At the laundromat I met a couple from India and they accepted Telugu and English copies of the Book of Mormon. I was out of Hindi Books of Mormon by then, otherwise I would have offered him Hindi too.

09/02/2006. 712. While at the laundromat, I left my English Ensign on a table while I put my clothes in a dryer. A man was looking through it when I got back. I asked if he'd like a free copy in Spanish, and he said yes. So I went out to the car and gave him a Spanish Liahona magazine just before he left. He politely declined my offer of a Spanish Book of Mormon.

09/02/2006. 713. Right after I handed him the Spanish Liahona and walked back in to the laundromat, I met another couple from India and they accepted Kannada and English copies of the Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet.

09/02/2006. 714. After doing laundry, I went next door to the Kroger grocery store to buy some fruit to eat Sunday. While in the check-out lane, two African-looking couples came in, speaking French. I retrieved French and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and a DVD from my car, and went back in. They were getting ready to check out, and I talked with them a bit. Among their group, they also spoke Lingala, Swahili, and Tshiluba, so I went back out and got another French, and some Lingala copies of the Book of Mormon, and a Swahili copy, plus a Tshiluba copy of the Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet. They ended up accepting 2 French, an English, and I think at least one Lingala copy, and one Swahili copy.


09/03/2006. Sunday. I visited one of the local wards in that town. I mentioned a couple book placements to their Bishop before the meetings, and he said to write them down on slips of paper to be taped up on a drawing of a temple that was on display in the foyer. So I grabbed some slips and wrote down summaries before the meeting, and finished them up after sacrament was over.

It was Fast and Testimony meeting. There was a time when no one got up to say anything for at about a minute, and I felt prompted by the Spirit to get up. On my way to the lecturn I asked the Bishop if it was okay for a visitor to speak, and he said yes. I gave very brief descriptions of the above encounters. There were 15 in total. The congregation chuckled when I mentioned I brought my laundry. My encounters were also discussed a bit in the combined Elders Quorum and HP group meeting. And after the meetings, one of the brothers bought a Simplified Chinese Book of Mormon from me.

I also visited the afternoon ward in that building, and gave a couple of the above addresses to the elders (missionaries) asking them to follow-up at the Philippines store and the Chinese restaurant, but to do so as customers, as the people didn't request missionaries. I suggested they shop at the store, and eat lunch at the restaurant, and just ask if they were the ones who received a Book of Mormon and see if they had any questions.

09/03/2005. 715. German declined. After church I stopped at a park before getting on the Interstate for the trip back home. I took a walk on the path around the park. Going the other way were three 20-something ladies speaking a foreign language. I asked what language they were speaking, and one said German. I offered them the German Book of Mormon. The speaker politely declined. I took her answer as being for the group, but afterwards it occurred to me that I should have asked the other two also.

09/03/2006. Journal entry. This was weird, but it resulted in a follow-up. On the road home, I took an exit that I thought was inspired, and bought some bottled water and something else at the nearest gas station. Nothing happened at the gas station. Leaving the gas station, I thought I was prompted to turn away from the Interstate and go the other way. At the next intersection, I thought I was prompted to turn right and take a road that paralleled the Interestate. I thought my imagination was running away with me, but the worst case scenario would be that was going to "go exploring." The road took me to the next little town, and then there was a sign pointing to the Interstate, so I turned there. And when I got to the Interstate, I realized I was at the gas station I visited in # 704. So I bought some pop for the road, and greeted the man I had met yesterday. I'm not sure what to make of it.

09/03/2006. 716. On the road home, I stopped at a place and offered an Hispanic lady a Spanish Bible and Spanish Book of Mormon which she accepted. Another lady with her declined.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,