Punjabi, Swahili at gas station. Thu, Jul 19, 2007.
07/19/2007. 851, 852. I was heading home on the Interstate after meeting friends for dinner on another side of town. Right as I passed a certain exit, it occurred to me to stop at a certain gas station down the road from that exit. It was too late to take the exit, so I went to the next exit, and turned around and went back. I had been to that gas station a few weeks ago, but didn't have an opportunity for a book placement as I had someone else with me.
The gas station was several blocks down the road. As I approached a certain store along the way, I wanted to stop there and check it out. Not with a book placement in mind, but because I hadn't been there in a long long time. I got to the front door, but they had already closed for the evening, so I proceeded on to the gas station. There were several other gas stations between it and the Interstate, but I wanted to go there because the last time I was there, the cashier appeared to be from India.
I got there and purchased a soda, and asked the cashier if he was from India. He was, and said he spoke Punjabi. I offered him the Punjabi Sunday school manual "Gospel Fundamentals" and he agreed to see it.
As I was leaving, a lady came into the gas station. I retrieved the Punjabi and English Gospel Fundamentals books from my car, noticed a man sitting next to a baby in the back seat of the car next to me, and went back inside the gas station. The lady was asking for directions. The cashier asked me to help explain. She had come from out of state, and was travelling through Indianapolis to a city about another hour away. The directions she had printed out from Yahoo Maps were not too clear at one point. She thought this was her exit, but she needed to keep going on the Interstate to another exit.
I figured out the directions from her printout, and explained where to go. And I gave the cashier the books I had for him. I forget which order things occurred here, but this is the jist. The lady spoke with an accent, so I asked where she was from. She said East Africa, Tanzania. I asked if she spoke Swahili, and she said yes. I offered her the Swahili Book of Mormon, but I think I just referred to it as a free book in Swahili from my church, and that it was Christian. She agreed to see it.
I also told her that I'd be willing to drive to the exit that they needed, and they could follow me there, and I'd take the exit and get them headed in the right direction, since that highway was a straight shot to their destination. It was opposite the way I was going, but I had time.
We went back outside, and she explained something to the man she was travelling with. He seemed to be a native-born American. I retrieved Swahili and English copies of the Book of Mormon from my trunk, presented the Swahili to her, and explained that we used both the Bible and this book. She was curious and very happy to see it and to receive it. I then offered her the English, and she was grateful for that too, and said something about using it to teach her husband Swahili.
Her husband then drove while she got in the back seat with the baby, and she started to flip through the Swahili Book of Mormon. They followed me back to the Interstate and to their exit. I took the exit, headed the direction they needed to go, and continued on that highway past some construction to make sure they got on their way.
At a convenient point, I got into the right-hand turn lane, and we waved to each other as they passed me and went on. I turned around and headed home rejoicing in the opportunity for a good deed as well as a fortuitous placement.
She didn't take the wrong exit after all.