Thursday, January 11, 2007

Urdu, Hindi, Telugu at gas station. Thu, Jan 11, 2007.

01/11/07. 778. I was on my way back home from a coin laundry (laundromat). There's a laundry room in my building, but it only has 3 top-loaders; and I prefer to do everything in one trip, just once per week. Besides, going to a commercial laundromat is a great opportunity to meet people. Although I speak adequate Spanish, I didn't approach any of the Spanish-speaking patrons there tonight.

The one I went to tonight is far enough away that there are several routes I could travel. On the way home, I chose a route that I hadn't taken before, and it took me past a gas station that I don't think I've been to since starting this book placement project. As I came upon it, the idea occurred to me to stop there to buy a newspaper. It wasn't a whisper or a prompting, just an idea that came to mind.

I grabbed a newspaper and let someone else in front of me to improve my chances of not having anyone behind me when it was my turn. The cashier spoke with an accent, so I asked where he was from and what languages he spoke. He was from India, has been here about a year, and speaks English, Urdu, Hindi, and Telugu. Although I didn't say the name of the books or the name of the church, I said I wanted to show him some books from my church in those languages, and he nodded his approval. I retrieved those four copies from my car, returned inside, and fortunately no one else was in line yet. He didn't read the Urdu, but correctly read the titles of the others. I was going to ask for the Urdu back, since the distribution center is currently out of stock, and that might have been my last one, but he said he knew other people he could give it to. Maybe I should have left another English copy with him to give away with the Urdu.

I pointed out my card inside, and the local mission office number, and encouraged him to call. He was very polite and grateful for the material.

Something felt really good about that encounter.

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