Sunday, December 31, 2006

Samoan at church. Sun, Dec 31, 2006.

12/31/2006. Journal Entry. A young lady moved into the ward recently, and showed up at church today. She's originally from Samoa. She recently met the full-time missionaries on the street and found out where the chapel is. She didn't have her Samoan Book of Mormon, having left it in another state. So I gave her one that I had in the car.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Amharic at Post Office. Wed, Dec 27, 2006.

12/27/2006. 774. I stopped to check my mail at the Post Office. When I entered the front lobby, I noticed an Ethiopian-looking man, and I wondered how best to approach him. When I came back from retrieving my mail from my box and was about to exit the front door, he was exiting immediately ahead of me. There was no shuffling or arranging to make that happen, it just naturally happened. After we both got outside, it was very easy to just ask "Excuse me, do you speak any languages besides English?".

He said Amharic, that he was from Ethiopia. I asked if he had seen the Book of Mormon in Amharic, and he said no. I explained it was from my church, said the full name of the church, said it was free, and that I had a copy in my car, and offered it to him.

He agreed to see it, and came over, but stayed at the front of my car while I went to the trunk. (I need to remember to remind people to wait while I retrieve it, as I don't want them to think I'm "luring" them to my car.) After I got it out, he came around to the trunk, and gratefully accepted it.

He "softly" declined the English copy. I probably could have been a little bolder in pushing the English on him, but I didn't. He probably would have accepted it though. He was in a hurry, so I didn't make small talk, other than to say that my name was in it, and to call him if he'd like more information.

It's been 7 days since my last book placement, and it feels good to get back in the swing of things. I stayed at home with a cold last Thurs/Friday, and Sunday/Monday. I did go out for a little bit on Saturday and Tuesday, but was grumpy and achey.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Korean at baptism at church. Wed, Dec 20, 2006.

12/20/2006. (I'm not giving this a number since it was to a member.) There was a Korean-speaking member at the baptism at church. He doesn't subscribe to the Korean Liahona, so I gave him two old copies that I had in my car.

Spanish at laundromat. Wed, Dec 20, 2006.

12/20/2006. 773. Last month I moved to a different part of town. I don't have my routine down yet, and had to do laundry in the afternoon today. There would barely be enough time to get home, drop off the laundry, and go pick someone up to attend a baptism. Therefore I put on my church clothes, black leather shoes, khaki pants, white shirt, instead of wearing more casual attire today and having to change later.

I met a Mexican friend at the laundromat whom I haven't seen in years. We lost touch when he moved and changed phone numbers. I was grateful for that reunion.

There was also an Hispanic lady using the dryers and folding table next to the ones I was using. It was very convenient and non-threatening to start a conversation without having to approach her at all or invade her space. We could converse without either of us moving from where we already were.

I asked, in Spanish, where she was from, and how long she's been in the US. She was from Honduras and has been here 18 years.

I asked if she had a Spanish Bible and English Bible and she said no, so I offered, and she enthusiastically accepted. I offered the Spanish and English Book of Mormon and she enthusiastically agreed to receive those too. I went out to the car, and brought back in a Spanish NVI New Testament (Nueva Version International) and an English NIV New Testament (New International Version). I didn't have any full Bibles in Spanish in the car at the time. I also brought in Spanish and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and the multi-lingual "Joy To the World" DVD (featuring the Mo-Tab choir) that has a Spanish audio track.

She eagerly and joyfully accepted it all, expressing appreciation, and asked where the church was. I pointed out the info flyers, pointed out the mission office number, and described where my ward was, and where the Spanish-speaking branch meets.

There was another lady (caucasian) further down the row of dryers who was smiling knowingly, but I didn't approach her. I met her again later at the baptism at church, and it turns out she is a member in my ward.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tagalog and Cebuano at follow-up. Mon, Dec 18, 2006.

12/18/2006. Follow-up to 759. On Nov 27th, I was visiting someone at a nursing home, and made a contact with a physical therapist from the Philippines. I had given him just my business card and a pass-along card.

Tonight, I was back for another visit. After visiting my friend, I stopped by the physical therapy office, and found the same guy, and gave him Tagalog, Cebuano, and English copies of the Book of Mormon. He wasn't busy, so he was able to chat for a while.

Igbo declined. Mon, Dec 18, 2006.

12/18/2006. 772. I was at one of those cash-advance and check-cashing places in order to purchase a money order. Two people ahead of me was a black man who spoke with a beautiful African accent with a strong hint of a British accent that many Africans have.

I struck up a conversation with him as he headed for the door, while I was waiting on the man in front of me.

I asked where he was from, and what language he spoke, and offered him the Book of Mormon in Igbo. He said he knew some members of the church back in Nigeria, but he politely declined. He knew the complete name of the church, and correctly associated it as soon as I mentioned the Book of Mormon.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Pass-along card and magazine at the Christmas Ball. Sun, Dec 17, 2006.

12/17/2006. 771. I attended the Christmas Ball of one of the ethnic/regional organizations that I belong to. It was an elegant wonderful fun time. And most everyone wore formal traditional dress.

I gave my business card and a custom-made pass-along card to a man who was at my table. And I gave a copy of the December 2006 (Christmas issue) Liahona to the president of the organization.

The food was excellent. The music was great. And I got to dance with some beautiful women. Okay, I felt a little guilty that it was on a Sunday, but not much.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Russian declined at store. Wed, Dec 13, 2006.

12/13/2006. 770. I was shopping at a store, and offered one of the employees a Book of Mormon in Russian. He seemed to decline, but I'm not sure he understood what it was and that I wanted to give it to him, not sell it. Next time I'm there, I'll take the book in with me, and if he's there, see if he says anything. I assumed he spoke and read Russian, but he may have been Ukrainian.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tagalog - Ilokano at dinner. Tue, Dec 12, 2006.

12/12/2006. 769. I was at a dinner and presentation for a group that promotes civic leadership among immigrant communities from a certain part of the world. I had met several of the people before at a festival earlier this year.

One of the ladies told me her mother had given her a Tagalog Book of Mormon (that she had received from me), and this lady wanted another one, so she could give it back to her mother. I went out to the car and got her a Tagalog copy along with two English copies so she and her mother could both have a set. She then mentioned an Ilokano-speaking friend who just recently came to the states and who could use a set, so I retrieved an Ilokano/English pair from the car.

I belong to two ethnic associations, and one regional association. I've been to several events. I didn't plan to make, and didn't make any pitches or presentations tonight, but the church did come up in conversation. I did give the name and phone number of a Mandarin-speaking brother at church, who is teaching a Sunday School class in Mandarin to investigators, to a Chinese couple sitting next to me. That was the most overt thing I did.

It was a cool time. I enjoyed meeting civic-minded, intelligent, uplifting, positive and energetic people from all over the world. And the food was great.

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Burmese, outside of middle eastern store. Tue, Dec 12, 2006.

12/12/2006. 768. I did some shopping at a favorite middle-eastern store. Right after I left, outside the store, waiting on the sidewalk was an Asian man. He had been ahead of me in line at the store. I asked where he was from and he said Burma. I offered him a pamphlet from church in Burmese, and he agreed to see it. I think I told him the name of the church, but I'm not sure. He followed me to my car, and I got out Burmese and English copies of the Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet, and he accepted them.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Chinese declined at Post Office. Mon, Dec 11, 2006.

12/11/2006. 767. I stopped by the Post Office, and my box was crammed with various editions/translations of the Liahona magazine. As I was leaving the lobby, and Asian lady was speaking in a Chinese accent to another lady in the lobby. When their conversation was over, I held out the Chinese Liahona that I had just retrieved and offered it to her. She was curious for a few seconds, but when she realized it was from church, she turned cold, and politely declined.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

English at gas station. Sat, Dec 9, 2006.

12/09/2006. 766. Before I actually moved to my new apartment, I had heard that there were some Spanish-speaking members living at the same apartment complex. Today, as I was contemplating on whether to go to our stake's Christmas musical program tonight, I thought that it wasn't worth the drive just for myself. So I called some members whom I knew and tracked down the Spanish-speaking members who lived nearby.

I ended up taking a single mother and her teenage daughter to the stake Christmas music program. It worked out well because both mother and daughter had a good time, and were able to socialize after the event with friends they haven't seen in a while.

As we were heading home, I felt a "tug" to stop at a particular gas station along the way. I was thinking of taking them home first, then buying gas for tomorrow, but the tug became stronger. I bought gas, paying at the pump, then went inside to buy a newspaper. The cashier was "just" an English-speaking lady, so I was going to write off the whole thing as my imagination. But after turning to head to the door, I felt the "tug" again, turned to look at her, and I felt as if she was the one to whom I should offer material.

I was able to stop myself after just one step, so it was not awkward, and there was no one else in line, so a quick conversation would not be out of place. I told her that I like to give out Bibles, and asked if she wanted one. She said she could use one. I asked if she'd like a King James or a more modern translation. She said she used to have a King James and liked that.

I then said that our church believes in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and asked if she'd like to have a free Book of Mormon too. She said okay without any hesitation or reluctance.

I said I'd retrieve them from my car, and went back outside, and got them from my car, and went back in. There were still no customers in line, so it was cool. I presented the paperback KJV Bible (only $2 from American Bible Society) first, and then handed her the Book of Mormon, holding the folded info flyer (with chapel addresses and times) on top of it.

She asked something like "What's the difference in the Mormon Bible?" I repeated that we use both, and that we don't call the Book of Mormon a bible, we just say "Book of Mormon." I explained that the Book of Mormon has prophets and people who believed in God and Jesus Christ just like the Old Testament and New Testament had prophets and people who believed in God and Jesus Christ.

I pointed out the mission office phone number on the info-flyer, calling it the "regional office." I hope that's not too much of a simplification. And said that my card was in the Book of Mormon, and suggested she call me to let me know what she thinks of it.

Back in the car, the mom was still on her cell phone, but apparently the daughter had been observing me, and said what I did was cool.

Unless I was imagining it, the cashier did seem to give off some spiritual light, and may have been ready. But perhaps the "tug" for the book placement may have also been for an example to the daughter. The mother and daughter are both converts of just a few years.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Chinese declined at restaurant. Tue, Dec 5, 2006.

12/05/2006. 765. After shopping at the home improvement store, my friend and I went to a nearby Chinese restaurant.

My friend thought the waitress may have been intimidated by me, but I could tell before I said anything that she noticed the Chinese Books of Mormon on the table, and was uncomfortable. My guess is that she already participates in a church, and her opinion was already somewhat tainted against the Book of Mormon, perhaps by incorrect information, and perhaps by the use of the Chinese word for "bible" in the Chinese title of the Book of Mormon. As mentioned elsewhere in this blog, the word used to translate "book" in the title "Book of Mormon" actually means "holy book" and is the same word/symbol used to translate the word "bible." Thus, the Chinese title is "Mormon Bible" not "Mormon(,) Book (of)."

The waitress was very quick and perfunctory in her visits to our table, and when I did make an offer, she politely declined, but I also could tell she was uncomfortable with the offer, so I didn't repeat, nor did I try a different angle.

This was another case in which I needed a bilingual Chinese/English New Testament, but recently the International Bible Society has been out of stock, so I'll need to check again and buy some more when they are in. It just occurred to me that Chinese Gospel Principles, the Sunday School manual, may also be appropriate in these cases where the title "Mormon Bible" causes misunderstanding.

French and Wolof at home improvement store. Tue, Dec 5, 2006.

12/05/2006. 764. A lady friend and I went to a home improvement store to shop for some utility cabinets to supplement the cabinets in the kitchen of my new apartment. She also has a vehicle with enough room to transport a large box.

We picked out an assemble-yourself free-standing cabinet. I went to get a cart, and she flagged down a couple employees to load it on our cart. One of them spoke with an accent, so I asked where he was from. He said Senegal, and his co-worker was from Senegal too.

I asked "Parlez vous francais?", and he said oui. I then asked "Parlez vous Wolof?" and he said oui. He then asked, in French, if I spoke Wolof, and I said "Tuuti Wolof rek laa degg" which means "I only speak a little Wolof."

I offered them the Book of Mormon in French, and our Sunday School manual in Wolof, and they agreed to see them. I said we'd pay for the cabinet, take it out, and come back with the books. I gave them my calling card and a home-made pass-along card in case we couldn't find them later.

Oh, and it might have helped that my lady friend is from Africa too. She's one of the stalwards of the local LDS community. She and her family have been members for over 27 years.

We got the cabinet out to her vehicle, and I retrieved the books from my car. I got them French and English Books of Mormon, Wolof and English copies of the Joseph Smith testimony pamphlet, and Wolof copies of Gospel Fundamentals. My car inventory was out of English Gospel Fundamentals, and I've lost track of them in the move. The local info-flyer with the chapels and meeting times was in all the books.

We went back in and found them again, and presented the books to them. They were very very pleased. One of them said "jere jeff" to me which is Wolof for "thank-you." And when I replied "amul solo", which is Wolof for "you're welcome", they seemed even more happy.

I'll have to find my English Gospel Fundamentals and go back, and invite them to visit church.

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