Sunday, April 30, 2006

Quick chili recipe using canned beans.

A basic chili recipe for quickly putting together a batch, when you don't want to soak beans and such. Stolen Borrowed from:


* 2 pounds ground beef (I use 5% fat ground beef, but you can also use ground turkey)
* 1 teaspoon butter
* 2 large white onions, chopped
* 2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
* 1 habanero pepper, chopped
* 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
* 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
* 3 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
* 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
* 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (optional, for the garlic lover)
* 1 drop super-hot hot pepper sauce (or a few drops of Tobasco)


1. In a large pot, cook the ground beef over medium heat until evenly browned. Drain off grease, and set aside.
2. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions, green pepper and habanero pepper until onions are translucent. Remove from heat. Transfer the onion mixture to the pot with the ground beef, and set the heat to medium.
3. Add the beans and tomato sauce and diced tomatoes to the beef mixture, and season with chili powder, salt, garlic salt, garlic, and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a simmer, and adjust seasonings to taste if necessary. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Recontact with guy I met in Oct '04. Fri, Apr 28, 2006.

04/28/2006. On my way back from visiting someone in the next town over, I stopped at a gas station to get some pop. The cashier appeared middle-eastern. I asked what languages he spoke. He said Indian and African. I asked which ones, and he said Hindi and Swahili. He was the same guy I met at the Post Office back in October 2004. He was in his 20's, and now seemed more Americanized than before. He didn't indicate he had any interest in the material, but I neglected to specifically ask. It was a friendly cool encounter. I'll have to remember to visit there again when I travel in that direction.

Moment #563. Chinese declined. Fri, Apr 28, 2006.

04/28/2006. On my way to visit someone, I ate at a very nice Chinese buffet in the next town over. I laid out the two kinds of Chinese Books of Mormon and a bilingual Chinese/English New Testament, on the table as I ate. When my waitress brought a refill of my softdrink, I asked where she was from. Like many other Chinese restaurant employees, her English language skills seemed concentrated on restaurant vocabulary. She said she was from China. I handed the Simplified Chinese Book of Mormon to her and said it was free and that I would like to give it to her. She pronounced the name of the title in Chinese, but then pointed to the subtitle and shook her head. I was confused if she meant she was non-Christian, as in Buddhist, or whether she was Christian and didn't want another "Bible." I assumed she was Buddhist. She was extremely polite, but made it clear she wasn't interested, so whatever her motivations were in declining, I decided not to press.

If the other person shows confusion about what the book is, or what it is that I'm offering, then I continue to try to explain, but this was a clear no-thanks, and I take that as my signal to shut down.

The host/cashier was an Asian man, but he might not have been Chinese. I thought I heard him say a phrase to someone in Tagalog, and later I heard him speaking Chinese. When I left, he was busy with customers coming in, so there was no convenient opening to approach him.

Out-of-print LDS books on eBay.

Seller fmturner on ebay has a lot of out-of-print LDS books for sale. Good prices. Stuff by Hartshorn, Dill, Dunn, McConkie, Yorgason, etc. Also has lots of audio books, and non-church books.

Moment #562. Amharic declined. Fri, Apr 28, 2006.

04/28/2006. After working out at the gym I bought a soft drink and walked down to the end of the shopping center and back. I met a man who looked Ethiopian, and I asked him if he was from Ethiopia. He was Eritrean, which was part of Ethiopia for a while, and his main language is Tigrinya, but spoke and read Amharic. I said my church had free books in Amharic, and offered him one, but he said he already went to a church. I repeated that it was free, but I forgot to mention the bilingual aspect of it being in English and Amharic. He was very polite in declining. The encounter lasted only about 10 seconds.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Has anyone else done this?

I've received a lot of positive comments over the last year or so that I've been posting these encounters online.

I know of a taxi-driver in the Boston area who has given out over 6,000 copies of the Book of Mormon to his customers over the years.

Have any readers of this blog given it a try? Please let me know. I'd like to think that the reports of these encounters have inspired others to do likewise.

I have comment moderation in effect. If you want to communicate, but don't want your comment posted, just indicate so, and I won't "publish" the comment. If you're a Ward Mission Leader or Ward Missionary, and are interested in this, leave me your email in a private comment, and I'll try to help you get started. You could also read this post to help get started.

I use to find Chinese and Thai restaurants.

I'm even willing to put my money where my mouth is. If any WML's or ward missionaries want to try this, I'll drop-ship you a couple Chinese or Thai copies of the Book of Mormon, if you promise to take them to a Chinese or Thai restaurant, along with English copies, and attempt to place them in pairs. You obtain the English copies on your own, and you pay the lunch/dinner tab, but I'll pay for the Chinese or Thai copies. Leave me your email or phone # in a comment, and just remind me to leave the comment unpublished.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

"New York Doll" now on DVD.

The acclaimed independent movie "New York Doll" is available on DVD from Amazon, for $13.99 $12.99. (Eligible for free shipping on orders over $25.) Or buy it from Deseret Book for $15.98 plus shipping. (Note that the covers are different, possibly for the different markets.)

It's ranked among the top-sellers on Amazon.

It's about Arthur "Killer" Kane, formerly of the glam rock band "New York Dolls", who after battling alcoholism and drug-addiction joined the LDS church. The filmmaker and Kane organized a band reunion in 2004. Kane died of leukemia in 2004.

Wilfried Decoo gave the movie his "must see" recommendation.

Directed by Greg Whiteley. Producers, Ed Cunningham and Seth Gordon.

Moment #561. Tagalog at Post Office. Sat, Apr 22, 2006.

04/22/2006. I was blessed to meet a cool Filipino man at the Post Office. The impressions I had leading up to it, and his connections to others whom I've met, indicate this was not a chance encounter.

This story starts out Saturday morning. I had three things to do: 1) check my PO Box, as a shipment of DVDs from the Distribution Center is overdue because it didn't arrive with the other box in the order, 2) shop at a dollar store (didn't they used to be "dime stores" at one time?), and 3) work out at the gym next door to the dollar store.

Working out was going to be last as it would leave me smelly and sweaty. To be efficient, I planned to go to the Post Office first, because I could easily walk from the store back to my car to put away purchases, and then walk to the gym. I'd save a few pennies of gas by not having to start the car an extra time.

But that's not how I was being "tugged." While driving there, I felt a spiritual pull to go to the dollar store first. It was far enough in advance that I could ponder it for a few more seconds while driving. Trying to think of turning left farther ahead at the light to go to the Post Office gave me a stupor of thought. Thinking of turning right into the shopping center did not produce a "burning in the bosom" but it felt good. The instruction to alter my itinerary did not rise to the level of plain and obvious. But, based on how past situations have worked out when I had similar feelings, this certainly fit the pattern, and was worth obeying.

I purchased my planned items at the dollar store. I didn't see any obvious possibilities. I probably could have made one, as an hispanic man asked my cashier a question as I was checking out. I could have waited for him outside.

As I left the dollar store I thought "Okay, so something is going to happen at the Post Office." I drove the few minutes to the Post Office, and parked, but before I got out of the car, I realized I didn't have the key to my PO Box. It was on my other key ring. I don't usually take that second key ring when I go work out.

So I headed back home, and would be passing right by the gym. I was frustrated at my forgetfulness, and I debated whether to get my other keys, or just blow it off and work out. I decided that because the impression to alter my itinerary came after I had left the keys at home, and I was not reminded to get the keys first, this all could still be part of a grander plan of meeting someone. Besides, the earlier impression was to alter sequence, not to avoid the Post Office entirely.

I retrieved my other key ring and went back to the Post Office. A CD that I had bought from someone on eBay, and a yellow "You have a package" card were in my box. Coolness. It was going to be a case of "To This End Was I Born" multi-lingual DVDs. They're $4.50 each, but if you buy a case of 50, they're only $1.50 each. Such a deal! (I'm officially of the tribe of Judah, what can I say? And maybe I inherited my mother's shopping gene, too.)

I picked up my packages at the counter. It was the case of DVDs from the Church Distribution Center, and a book order from Amazon. Then an Asian-looking man walked in. I went to the outer-lobby and put my box on a counter. I looked towards the inner lobby, and the Asian man was being served at the counter. I opened the box up, took out a DVD and removed the cellophane wrapper.

Just then the Asian-looking man walked by heading towards the outer door. I figured he was probably my "intended contact." So I asked him what languages he spoke. He spoke English and Tagalog. So I showed him the DVD I was holding, and I said something like: "This DVD from my church has a Tagalog audio track on it. Would you like it?" I forgot to say up front that it's free, so at first he thought I was trying to sell it, but when I explained it was free, he politely accepted it.

The cover of the DVD case shows a painting of the Savior, which makes the content obvious, so I didn't think it needed explanation.

His happiness at receiving the DVD caused me to think he'd like a Tagalog Book of Mormon, so I offered one, and he agreed to accept it. I said it was in my car, and asked him to wait outside while I got it. We went out together, and he waited while I retrieved the Tagalog Book of Mormon from the trunk of my car. I thought I had a Tagalog New Testament but I didn't.

We chit-chatted for about 15 minutes in front of the Post Office. He helped me with some Tagalog vocabulary. We talked about the local Filipino society/club, and a couple of Filipino owned stores in town. When I mentioned a store that I go to in another part of town, he said they were his relatives. He gave me one of their business cards, and it was indeed them. I had given Tagalog copies of the Book of Mormon, and DVDs with Tagalog audio tracks to a couple people who worked there, one of whom was his cousin. Coolness! Not only did the Lord arrange this meeting, he has a tie-in with other people I've met.

He also said he'd email me about some upcoming Filipino events in town.

I previously gave out books at his relatives' store here, here, and here.

Other encounters with Filipinos are here, and here,

Friday, April 21, 2006

Moment #560. English at Laundromat. Fri, Apr 21, 2006.

04/21/2006. Laundry night. I went to the second closest laundromat because I hadn't been there in a while. There was a man working there who looked like he might have been the new owner. He looked Hispanic and spoke with a slight accent. I started a conversation with him, and found out he was from Egypt, and spoke English, Arabic, Dutch, and a little French. I asked if he had heard of the Mormons, and he said yes. I said that the reason I asked was because the church had translated the Book of Mormon into over a hundred languages. I asked if I could show him, and he said okay. I went out to the car and brought in a bilingual Arabic/English Bible, and copies of the Book of Mormon in Arabic, Dutch and English.

He was busy with some other customers for a while, and when he was free I went over to the counter. He said he was Orthodox. He wasn't interested in the bilingual Bible or the Arabic or Dutch copies of the Book of Mormon, but he did ask for the English Book of Mormon.

We chatted some more, and he was very friendly.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Moment #559. Chinese at gas station. Thu, Apr 20, 2006

04/20/2006. After leaving the restaurant I went to the gas station in front of it. The lady behind the counter and the man stocking shelves looked Asian. I bought some soda pop. There were two people behind me in line when I paid, but I just asked a quick "what languages do you speak?" and "where are you from?" She said she spoke Cantonese and was from Hong Kong. I asked if I could bring in some free books in Chinese to show her, and she said okay. It only delayed the people behind me about 5 or 6 seconds.

I brought in the Chinese/English bilingual New Testament, a Traditional Chinese and an English Book of Mormon, and a multi-lingual Together Forever DVD that has a Cantonese audio track. I really like the DVD idea because small business owners have little time to read, and they are more likely to pop in a DVD to watch when they are tired after a long hard day. The inexpensive Chinese/English bilingual New Testament is in Traditional Chinese, so that worked out.

There were two people ahead of me when I went back in, but nobody behind me while I gave her the books, so I didn't waste anyone's time.

Moment #558. Chinese at restaurant, Thu, Apr 20, 2006

04/20/2006. I decided to eat supper at a Chinese buffet in a town to the Northeast of Indianapolis. I ate there a few years ago, before I started this book placement project, but haven't been back.

As I was about to leave home, I had a strong impression to pray first. In the past, I've often ignored promptings to pray, telling myself that I already had my morning prayer, or my "before leaving the house" prayer. But I've learned something recently, that the need to pray might not necessarily be because I need to supplicate on my behalf, but because the Spirit has something to say to me. The message this time was a feeling that I needed to pay attention and heed the Spirit in order for this to be a successful outing.

One of the lessons of previous trips, is that the Spirit often leads me in the direction of a place I know in order to get me to a place that I don't know about. So that the "idea" of going to that particular buffet could merely be to get me headed along that path, and doesn't necessarily mean that it is the final destination. Sure, the Spirit can put the addresses or pictures of places we've never been to in our mind, but it's much easier to use memories we already have and make derivations on those themes.

Such was the situation tonight. I was a mile or so from the buffet I had in mind, when my focus was attracted to a strip mall to the right. There was a Shell station on that corner, so I made a mental note to go there afterwards to see if it was the franchise that employed a lot of Africans. However, my focus was pulled to the shops in the strip behind it. And sure enough, right when I was parallel to it, I could see there was a store that had a sign indicating a Chinese restaurant. Later on in the evening, I checked the big sign in front of the strip mall and noticed that the Chinese restaurant didn't have their name on it along with the names of the other businesses.

To be fair, a good portion, maybe about 40 to 50%, of strip malls do have a Chinese restaurant. But there was a "pull factor" or "tug" as I passed it and saw it. There was no turn off other than the intersection I had just passed, so while I drove towards the next intersection I had enough time to ponder if that was where I should really go. There was no clear cut answer, but the "tug" was still there, and the memory of the earlier "follow the Spirit to be successful" message came to mind. It all added up to a confident feeling that that was the place.

At the next intersection I did a U-turn and went back to that restaurant.

I took in my bag of Asian language books, set it on a chair at a table, and placed my order at the counter. After I paid, I asked the lady where they were from, and she said China. I asked, and she said they spoke Mandarin. She asked if I spoke Mandarin, and I said I only knew "nee-how" and "shia-shia" (hello and thank-you).

I took my soft drink back to my table, and went outside and bought a newspaper from a box outside.

When she brought my food, she noticed the books of Mormon I had placed on the table. She pointed to them and said something. There were only two other customers in the dining area, and they could probably hear our conversation, but I didn't worry about that. She said she already had a Bible, but I had the Chinese/English Bilingual New Testamant out too. I find it's good to have it out because you can point to both it and the Book of Mormon and explain that we believe in both, and hopefully correct the assumption that we use the Book of Mormon to replace the Bible. She accepted the Simplified Chinese Book of Mormon and the English.

When she got behind the counter, she told the others about it, because I could hear "Mo-men" in whatever it was she said.

I think demonstrating our appreciation of the Bible by having a copy of the New Testament helped. While I ate, I noticed a hand-written sign on the side wall behind the counter. It was a Bible verse, probably from Isaiah, but I couldn't see the chapter and verse.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Moment #557. Chinese (Hong Kong) at restaurant. Wed, Apr 19, 2006.

04/19/2006. I dropped off a book for someone at the chapel and on the way home stopped for supper at a Chinese restaurant on West XX street that I hadn't been to before. It had the standard backlit pictures and the menus that look like they were printed at the same printer as most other Chinese restaurants. The place was clean, but somehow things just weren't organized or laid out like other restaurants. I later found a clue as to why that may have been.

The female-half of the couple running the place took my order at the counter. I ordered my standard Moo Goo Gai Pan and a soft drink.

Within a reasonable amount of time, the male-half of the couple brought my tray out to my table, but was very quick and efficient, and I couldn't tell if he noticed the bilingual New Testament or the two kinds of Chinese Books of Mormon on the table.

My meal was also slightly non-standard, not bad, just different. The major ingredients were there, but the flavoring was different. The fried rice was brown instead of the normal yellow. The vegetables, including the mushrooms, in the Moo Goo Gai Pan were fresh, which is good. But the sauce wasn't the standard taste that I usually find at these cookie-cutter type restaurants.

After I finished eating, I approached the counter, with my four books (Chinese/English bilingual paperback New Testament in Traditional Script, Simplified Script Chinese Book of Mormon, Traditional Script Chinese Book of Mormon, and English Book of Mormon) and asked the man if they were from China or Hong Kong. He said Hong Kong. I presented the bilingual New Testament first. People from Hong Kong usually speak Cantonese (as opposed to Mandarin), so I asked and he confirmed. Hong Kong also uses the Traditional Script, like Taiwan. Mainland China uses the Simplified Script. I also presented the Traditional Script Book of Mormon. By this time his wife came up front, and then I presented the English Book of Mormon. I also gave them a copy of the DVD Together Forever because it has a Cantonese audio track on it.

Three books and a DVD may be overload, but at least something might stick. I've decided to offer the bilingual Chinese/English New Testament because of the reasons expressed in previous blog posts. And the DVD is there in case they are just too busy to read.

Them being from Hong Kong instead of China might explain the different flavoring of the food. And if they weren't trained in Chinese-American restaurant operation by their family as opposed to just going it on their own, that might explain why the feel of the restaurant is different from the many restaurants owned by people from Mainland China.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Moment #556. Hausa at gym. Tue, Apr 18, 2006.

04/18/2006. I was doing an evening workout instead of in the morning. There was a man using a machine a couple rows ahead of me who looked like me might have been from Africa. He got done a few minutes ahead of me, and switched to one of the weight machines. At the end of my main workout, I went to get a drink of water, and passed by him, and could hear him speaking in English on his cell phone, and he spoke with an accent. I went back to my machine for a cool-down, and then wiped down the handles on the elliptical machine. I got another drink of water, and on my way back he was changing machines, so it seemed a good time to strike up a conversation.

I asked him, in French, if he spoke French, and he said yes. I asked where he was from and he said Niger. I asked if he spoke Hausa, and he said yes. He also spoke Gurma. I said my church has books in many African languages, and I had a Sunday school manual in Hausa in my car. I offered to show it to him, and he agreed. I went out to the car and brought back in Hausa and English Gospel Fundamentals, and a multi-language DVD of "Together Forever" which has a French audio track. I thought of giving him a French Book of Mormon too, but then thought it would be overload.

I brought the material back in, and he started flipping through the Hausa Gospel Fundamentals. We chatted a little bit. He said he's going back to Niger in a few months. I asked him to call me, and I'd find out a church contact for him in Niger.

I just looked it up, and there is no LDS mission in Niger, so I'll find out what mission it is in.

On the way out the second time, one of the guys at the counter asked, in a friendly manner, something like "Didn't you already go out before?" indicating he missed me coming back in. I stopped and told him about the encounter, saying that the man over there was from Africa, and I gave him a Sunday School manual in his native language. I apologized for giving out books at their business, and said "but it really made his day." They seemed cool with it.

I've never had a problem talking with people in public businesses like that. As long as you're there for a legitimate reason, as a customer, and only talk to those who are willing to speak with you, no one has a problem with it.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Moment #555. Shona, Zulu at grocery. Mon, Apr 17, 2006.

04/17/2006. [Edited version.] Here are a couple of scripture passages that seem to describe what happened tonight. Proverbs 3:6, "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 16:9, A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

I'm not sure at what point I started getting "directions" today. Several things happened before the following which may have also played into the timing factor.

I drove into my apartment complex. I felt a definite impression or prompting that some kind of encounter was yet to happen this evening, and I shouldn't go home yet. My mind became focused on a Subway restaurant futher down the street, and I felt to go there, so before I got to my parking lot I turned around and went there.

I ordered dinner and ate at the Subway. Maybe I missed someone to whom I could have talked, but I didn't see any obvious possibilities. I left and headed towards home, and I started to think that the promptings were just my imagination. But as I approached the stop light, I felt like I needed to turn right, and go to a grocery store about 10 blocks away. I didn't need any groceries, but this wasn't about shopping. So I figured that may be where my "intended contact" would be found, and the trip to the Subway restaurant could have been a "timing factor" to make it work out right.

Sometimes being given directions well in advance of an encounter is just as overwhelming and intimidating to me as are unexpected encounters, or last minute directions.

When I'm on the road, and approaching an intersection, there's a certain feeling that the Spirit can give indicating which way to turn. It's like a spiritual "tug," almost analogous to a dog on a leash.

I went to the grocery, and while in the produce section, which is next to the entrance, an African-looking man came in behind me. I kind of dilly-dallied a bit so that he'd catch up with me. When we were both in talking distance, but still a respectful distance apart, I asked him "Parlez vous francais?" He said no. But he spoke with an accent, so I could tell he was an immigrant. He was tall, kind of gaunt looking, as if he had a hard life, and hadn't been in the states long. His bearing had a humble dignity that I admire.

I asked him what other languages he spoke. At first he said just English, but then added something like "just my regional language that you wouldn't know about." I said my church has books in many African languages, and I asked where he was from. He said Zimbabwe. I then said "Moroi" which is hello, or greetings. And asked if he spoke Shona. He broke into a smile and said yes. I offered him the Book of Mormon in Shona that I had in my car, and he agreed to accept it. I went out to my car and brought back in a Shona and an English Book of Mormon, and Shona and English copies of "Gospel Fundamentals."

I asked him if he knew a certain man to whom I gave a Shona Book of Mormon about 22 months ago. He did know him. We spoke about it for a minute, and I gave him the name and phone # of a member who speaks Shona and Zulu. He said his wife speaks Zulu. We chit-chatted for just another minute, and I took my leave. After I got a few feet away, it occured to me to offer him a Zulu Book of Mormon for his wife. So I went back, offered, and he accepted. I went out to my car again, and brought back in a Zulu and another English Book of Mormon, which he graciously accepted.

There are thousands of African immigrants in Central Indiana, and one is bound to meet them once in a while. I can't prove to anyone that I had those thoughts and feelings that led me to be at the grocery store at that particular moment. From the outside it looked just like a chance encounter. But from my point of view, I know how I came to be there at just the right moment. I believe the man whom I encountered has the humble dignity to be a member of the church. He just had the look and bearing of a good Mormon. I can say with confidence that the Lord wanted him to have those books tonight. What an honor, privilege and blessing to be the delivery boy. Wow. I stand all amazed.

Marking the Book of Mormon.

I was putting Post-It(tm) notes in just the English copies of the Book of Mormon that I give out. I had been writing them by hand, but I now have some rubber stamps that I custom ordered, so it's easier. The four stamps are:

1) "The Atonement, 2 Nephi Chapter 9"
2) "The Plan of Salvation, Alma Chapter 42"
3) "Jesus Visits, 3 Nephi Chapters 11-26"
4) "How to know that this book is true, Moroni 10:3-5"

I can get one impression of each stamp, 4 impressions total, on a 3"x3" Post-It(tm) note. I cut them into 4 strips with scissors, and put then in the appropriate place, with just a little hanging out for a tab.

One of my friends told me he would have joined the church a year earlier if the missionaries had asked him to start reading in 3rd Nephi chapter 11 instead of from the beginning.

Anyway, now that it's easier to make the strips with the stamps, I've started putting them in the foreign language books in addition to the English. But for the foreign language, I just use the last two, "Jesus Visits" and "How to know that this book is true."

For most foreign languages, the ones that are written in a Latin alphabet and use Arabic numerals, it's just as easy as marking English. 3 Nephi 11 is still 3 Nephi 11 or 3 Nefi 11.

Languages like Chinese, Cambodian, Thai and Amharic are a little harder, but you just have to use a little logic and detective work.

To find Third Nephi, you look at the Table of Contents and count down 11 books, and note the symbols used to denote 3 Nephi. Then look for the book with those symbols, and count down 11 chapters.

There is a special heading right before Chapter 11 of 3rd Nephi in all languages, which stands out from the verses. I put the Post-It(tm) note right before it.

That special heading ends with "Comprising chapters 11 to 26 inclusive." You can use the page numbers or verse numbers to teach yourself the digits 1, 2, 6, or the numbers 11 and 26, and verify that you've found the right spot. I don't memorize it for every language, I just match up the symbols each time.

It's easy to find Moroni Chapter 10, because it's the last chapter in the Book of Mormon. Turn to the last verse, which might be the last page in the book, or is right before an index or Guide to the Scriptures. You'll notice a change in layout between the end of the Book of Mormon and the begining of the index.

Then go to the beginning of that chapter, and count down 3 verses, and there's Moroni's promise.

For English I stamp the strips with the sticky side on the left. For some languages, 3 Nephi 11 or Moroni's promise is on the left hand side of the page, so I stamp them with the sticky side on the right.

I also include a flyer that lists the addresses and meeting times of the local chapels, the mission office phone #, one of the missionary 800 numbers, and the church web site. I also include a Book of Mormon pass-along card, and my personal card with name, phone, and email.


Moment #554. Amharic at Post Office. Mon, Apr 17, 2006.

04/17/2006. As I entered the inner lobby of the Post Office, two men were coming out, one of whom I recognized as an Ethiopian man to whom I had given Amharic and English copies of the Book of Mormon at the gas station where he worked. He recognized me too.

He said he hadn't read much because he left the books at work, and when he returned, they were gone. I asked if he wanted replacements, and he said sure. His friend also was interested. They also gave me another quick Amharic lesson. I went out to my car and retrieved two pairs of Amharic/English copies of the Book of Mormon. There was another Ethiopian lady with whom they were talking. I thought she was related to one of them, but she wasn't, and she left just before I got back with the books.

I asked one of them to read a little bit in Amharic just so I could hear it. It is a cool-sounding language. The script in which Amharic is written is called the Ethipic or Ge'ez script. It dates back to the 5th century BC.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Moment #553. French NT + DVDs. Sat, Apr 15, 2006.

04/15/2006. I went into the gas station to pre-pay for gas. I recognized the cashier from a previous visit, and I had seen him flip through some material I had given another employee on a previous occasion. But I forgot if I had given him anything. So after paying, as there was no one in line behind me, I asked him if I had given him a Book of Mormon. He said no, but that he wouldn't read it, as he was Evangelical, and really keen on the Bible. He spoke with an accent, so I asked what other languages he spoke, and he said French, that he was from Cameroon.

I offered him a French Bible, and he agreed, so after I was done putting gas in the car, I brought back in a French New Testament, an English NIV New Testament, and two church DVDs that have French audio tracks, Together Forever, and Finding Faith in Christ.

He accepted them all without any hestitation. He asked if it was the Church of the Latter Days, and I said yes. He then made the connection between the name of the church and "The Mormons." He said he had seen the church back in Cameroon.

I offered him a French Book of Mormon this time, and he said he'd go through this material first.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Moment #552. Amharic x2 at laundromat. Thu, Apr 13, 2006.

04/13/2006. I had two baskets of clothes to take in. After setting the first one down next to a washer and heading to the door, I noticed a middle-aged lady and a younger woman who appeared to be her daughter talking at one of the folding tables. They looked Ethiopian. So on my way out I approached them and asked if they were from Ethiopia. I tried to address both at the same time, but the younger was the spokesperson. She said they were from Eritrea. Eritrea is the country North of Ethiopia and used to be a part of it for a time. I asked if they spoke Amharic. She said their main language was Tigrinya, and they spoke Amharic too. I was unclear if they read Amharic. Sometimes people only speak their secondary regional language, and not read it.

I said my church has a book in Amharic, that it's free, and that I had a copy in my car. I offered to show it to her and she agreed.

I went out to the car to get the second basket of clothes, and I got out Amharic and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and Amharic and English copies of the New Testament.

When I got back, there was an Ethiopian man talking to the two ladies. I wasn't sure if he was a family member or an acquaintance, so I gave the books to him first. He wanted one too, so I went back out and got another set. He declined the English New Testament though. It turned out he was a neighbor, not a family member. The younger lady accepted all 4 books, Amharic/English Book of Mormon and Amharic/English New Testaments.

(The Amharic New Testament is $1.50 from International Bible Society, and the English New International Version New Testament is $.85.)

The man helped me with pronunciation of a couple forms of greeting in Amharic and explained a singular versus plural form. Ndemin-amashu (good evening) for addressing 2 or more people, versus ndayt-amashu for addressing one person.

How to meet people and talk to strangers.

Always Talk to Strangers: 3 simple steps to finding the love of your life. By David Wygant. I bought this book in "essentially new" condition on Amazon from a third-party seller for $2.84 plus $3.49 ship. (You pay Amazon, Amazon pays them, they ship the book. Very safe.) Amazon's price for a new copy $10.74.

I highly recommend it. It's about how to meet people, how to prepare yourself and your attitude, where to meet people, and how to strike up conversations. You could even say it has lesson on how to be "sweetly bold" or "bold but not overbearing." The book is geared towards dating. But I think the social skills taught are also applicable towards missionary work. Buy this book for your teenage son or daughter. They'll think it will help them get dates, but it will also be preparing them for being a missionary.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Moment #551. Chinese declined. Mon, Apr 10, 2006.

04/10/2006. I went to a hole-in-the-wall type Chinese restaurant in a strip mall in another part of town. It had the standard backlit pictures of food, and the stack of menus printed by the same printer as almost every other Chinese restaurant.

I orderd at the counter, and sat down, and put out the two kinds of Chinese and an English Book of Mormon.

I had brought in an inexpensive ($3.50) bilingual Chinese/English New Testament, but I had left it in my bag, and did not place it on the table. I probably should have put it out on my table.

They called out my order for me to pick it up at the counter when it was ready. I was thinking I'd have to go back to the counter when I was done to make a book offer, but one of the employees came by to clean up tables, and I engaged her in conversation.

I asked if she was from Taiwan or China, and she said China. I showed her the Simplified Chinese Book of Mormon, and explained it was free and that I would like to give it to her, but she clearly turned it down. I don't think I even got around to showing her there was a parallel English translation. I don't know if that would have made a difference.

When she got back behind the counter, she told one of the other employees about it, because I could make out the words "mo mon gia" a couple of times.

The Chinese word that the LDS translators used for "book" in "Book of Mormon", gia, is the same word used for "Bible". If you look at the covers, you can see that the symbol is the same. This almost always confuses Chinese Christians into thinking that we use the Book of Mormon to replace the Holy Bible. So her clear avoidance of my offer could have meant she was a member of one of the local Chinese churches.

I didn't think it proper to approach any of the other employees. There was an Hispanic employee who was on break, and I probably could have approached him, but I would have had to go out to the car for a Spanish copy. I had taken in my small bag, with just Chinese and English copies. My larger bag that I use for larger Asian restaurants has Chinese, English, Indonesian, Korean, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Spanish.

I'm going to vary my approach next time and put out the inexpensive paperback Chinese/English New Testament. Unfortunately, it only comes in Traditional (Taiwan-style) Chinese, and not Simplified Chinese. International Bible Society has a bilingual Chinese/English Bible in Simplfied style, but it's a $20 hardback, a little too expensive for me to give away. Though I don't mind giving out the $3.50 Tradtional Chinese/English paperback New Testament.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Moment #550. Shona at Post Office. Fri, Apr 7, 2006.

04/07/2006. At the Post Office there was a young man at the next station over at the counter in the inner-lobby. He was dressed in nice urban-style clothing, with his immaculate white hat on backwards. He was speaking a foreign language on his cell phone as he finished his transaction. He was leaving as I was still waiting for the lady to bring a package for me. I said something like "Sir, where are you from?" It was a little awkward because I didn't start until after he had turned away.

He turned back and said he was from Zimbabwe. I asked if he spoke Shona. He said yes. I said my church has a book in Shona, it's free, and that I had a copy out in my car if he'd like to see it. I think everyone in the lobby heard us, but I didn't care because he was enthusiastic in his response. I asked him to wait for me, and then the other post office employee brought my packages. We talked a little as we walked out together. I practiced a couple of Shona words that I had learned from a CD, and I got at least one of them close.

He was very enthusiastic about the Shona Book of Mormon and accepted the English too. I also gave him the name and number of a local member who is from Zimbabwe, but is originally from South Africa, and who speaks Shona, English, and Zulu.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Journal Entry. DVD's at Mexican and Korean stores. Tue, Apr 4, 2006.

04/04/2006. After leaving the Thai restaurant my friend and I decided to check out some ethnic grocery stores near where she lives. She hadn't been to either of them before.

We first stopped at a Mexican grocery store where I had given out some DVDs before. We both made some purchases, and I showed off my knowledge about some of the products I like, and made some recommendations.

The cashier was a man I hadn't seen there before. He turned out to be the owner's husband. My friend struck up a conversation with him, and he willingly engaged us. He told us about his family, and he was very proud of his wife, children and one grandchild. He said he's from Northern Mexico, and I think he said he's at least 25% Indian. So I'd like to introduce him to one of the Native American member of the church who lives in that part of town.

He accepted the two Spanish Liahona magazines and two multi-lingual DVD's (Together Forever, and Finding Faith in Christ) that I offered.

We then went to a Korean-owned grocery store, browsed, and bought some things. I love these kinds of stores for their large variety of noodles, and pre-packaged ramen. In most American grocery stores, ramen packages come in three flavors: beef, chicken and shrimp. These Asian stores usually have over 20 different varieties. Plus many kinds of bulk noodles.

The cashier's English vocabulary seemed to be limited to store matters, so she called her husband up front when my friend offered some DVDs in Korean. We gave them multi-lingual copies of Finding Faith in Christ, and Special Witnesses of Christ.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Moment #549. Indonesian/Thai.Tue, Apr 4, 2006.

04/04/2006. A female friend and I decided to go out to eat and seek missionary opportunities. She suggested Thai food, so I chose a restaurant near her side of town. I put Asian language copies of the Book of Mormon in one of my bags and met her there.

Immediately after our waiter took our order, I asked him if he liked to read Thai. He said that he was Indonesian. I offered him a free Book of Mormon in Indonesian, and he was pleasantly surprised. I had one in my bag, and gave it to him. He graciously and eagerly accepted it and also the English edition we offered. His waiter station was behind a divider so we couldn't see if he started reading it.

Another man who was taking orders, and who looked like the owner, didn't seem to notice the Thai Book of Mormon on our table, even though he walked past us a couple times.

I forgot to bring in the Thai language Liahona magazines I had in the car, so I went back out to get those, and we put those on our table too.

The owner brought the check, but was quick and efficient, so I didn't see a comfortable opportunity to strike up a conversation with him.

My friend went to the counter to drop off the signed credit card slip, (she paid for the dinner, thanks!) and took the Thai Liahona magazines with her. The man graciously accepted them. She then came back for the Thai and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and he graciously accepted those too.

They had a magazine rack of Thai magazines. She said the man told her he'd put the Liahona magazines on the rack with the others.

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