Thursday, October 19, 2006

Chinese x3 at restaurant. Thu, Oct 19, 2006.

10/19/2006. 736. There's a Chinese sit-down/carry-out restaurant on the West side that I've been to before, and where I've given out at least one Chinese/English pair of Books of Mormon. Perhaps a year or so ago, the Ward Mission Leader also gave out a Chinese or Chinese/English pair. This place has only 4 tables, but it's very popular for carry-out.

I was driving past it a little before supper-time on my way home from a missionary lesson that I sat in on. It was with the investigator who's scheduled for baptism next month. I thought of stopping there, but wanted to go home to eat, and remembering that they already had received two presentations of books, that the ground had already been planted. However, the impression of eating there persisted, so I stopped to eat there. Who knows, maybe they had some employee turnover, which is common, or I might meet a fellow customer who would be interested.

After ordering, but before my food was ready, I showed a Chinese/English pair of Books of Mormon to the cashier. I think I had given him the books before, but I asked him if I had just to make sure. He confirmed that he did already have them. However, as I held them up, they caught the eye of the other workers in the area behind the counter. I offered him more copies for his friends, and nodded to the others. The others in the kitchen area were definitely interested, so the cashier said sure, with no reluctance at all.

I ended up giving them two Simplified Script Chinese copies, and one Traditional Script Chinese copy. The cashier declined the English on behalf of the others, saying they didn't read English. Had I been able to talk to the others directly, I might have been able to sell them on the idea of reading them together to pick up some English, but they were very busy. There were six workers in the kitchen area in addition to the cashier.

However, they did show very positive interest, and they had enough time that at least three of them quickly flipped through the books before going back to work.

This was a case where I really wish there were a bilingual parallel-column edition of a Chinese/English Book of Mormon. That way, they would be guaranteed of having a copy of the English when accepting the Chinese. One cannot always quickly convey the concept of using two separate books as bilingual material. Sometimes, that picture doesn't sink in until later. But when the bilingual nature finally dawns on them, I believe they would be more likely to read it.

Does anyone have a contact in the Curriculum Department or Missionary Department at Church headquarters to whom I could pitch this bilingual idea, and illustrate how it might lead to the placement of thousands of more copies of the Book of Mormon across the country, and perhaps even more world-wide?

I would be willing to buy 1,000 copies of a Simplified Chinese/English bilingual parallel-column edition of the Book of Mormon. Both the English and the Simplified Chinese text of the BofM are in electronic format, as they are printed on the Church's computerized presses. So it would merely be a formatting effort to get the verses lined up in parallel columns. I would donate 10 copies each to 100 stateside missions with a cover letter to the mission president suggesting he assign compansionships to eat at Chinese restaurants and give out the books as bilingual material.

Granted, among Chinese who are already members, there are many more Traditional Script reading people, as the concentration of Chinese members are in Taiwan and Hong Kong. However, among the Chinese-speaking people in the US who are not already members, the vast majority are from mainland China, and would read Simplified Script. So that is where the greatest missionary opportunity lies.

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