Saturday, August 11, 2007

Day trip. 5 people, 9 languages. Sat, Aug 11, 2007.

Some repeated spiritual impressions over the past year or more led me to take this day trip to a major city East of Indianapolis. First it was the city that came to mind. As I browsed the chapel locator at www.lds.org for chapels in that city, I received an impression for a certain ward. I then went to the online maps, and to www.anywho.com to look up Asian restaurants (Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese) near there. I found a particular Thai restaurant online, not far from that chapel, and that seemed to be my intended destination.

The feeling that I needed to make the trip persisted for at least a year, but I never "got around to it." Yesterday (Friday) I got a "go" signal, and knew that today was the day I had to make the trip. Looking back, I should have gone sooner on my own volition instead of waiting for a sense or urgency to hit.

08/11/2007. 862. After leaving Indianapolis and going a few miles down the Interstate I needed to make a stop for gas. As I drove down the exit, a store's sign on the side of their building caught me eye, and I felt drawn to it. So I went to that little shopping center first. I didn't see any stores that caught my attention, so I went to the store that had the sign. It's the kind of store that I would normally browse at because I'm interested in that sort of merchandise anyway. So I was wondering if the attention the sign generated was my own interest for that kind of stuff, or a spiritual tug.

Anyway, I bought something at that store, and started to leave that shopping center. However, one of the other stores in that shopping center now stood out, and now I felt an attaction to go there. It was the nail salon. I had seen it going in, but I don't normally make cold-calls at nail salons unless there's a spiritual prompting. I thought of leaving again, but the spiritual attraction to that store was clear.

I took Vietnamese and English Liahonas (of same issue) and went in. They didn't have any customers, so it was a good time. A teenage girl greeted me, and I offered the magazines. She called to an adult male in back, and he came out, and I offered the magazines to him. The man and the girl were very humble. The man didn't seem very Americanized. He showed genuine interest and gratitude for the reading material.

08/11/2007. Journal entry. A few exits down the road. I forget why I took this exit. I bought a pocket voice-recorder/note-taker, but I need to learn to keep it at the ready to record notes on the fly. I think I just bought some soda pop here. However, on my way back to the highway, I felt tugged to take a side road to another strip mall, and found a Chinese buffet at the end of it. If you go to the furthest gas station at the exit, you still wouldn't have seen it, you'd have to go down the road past all the gas stations to see it. This exit is still within driving distance for a lunch or dinner from Indy, so it's on my list of places to visit.

08/11/2007. 863. The Thai restaurant was really nice. The hostess was Chinese, and the waiter was Thai. I gave a Thai and an English Book of Mormon, and Thai and English copies of the Liahona to the waiter. He gratefully accepted them, and put them aside. However, a little later another family member came along and browsed them. The other family member indicated she had a Mormon friend and had seen the English Book of Mormon before, but not the Thai translation. After I finished eating and paid, I went out to the car and brought back in Traditional Chinese and English copies of the Book of Mormon for the waitress.

In addition to the Indianapolis information flyer in the material, I made a 4x6 card with the name, address, and phone number of the LDS mission office in that city, and put it in the material.

08/11/2007. 864. After leaving the restaurant I saw a nail salon. I'm not sure if it was a prompting or not, but decided to make a cold-call there. The man at the front desk graciously accepted Vietnamese and English copies of the Book of Mormon.

I saw a couple Chinese buffet restaurants in that shopping complex, and made note for possible future visits. This city is a possible way-point for further trips East, so it's likely I'll have opportunity to stop here again.

08/11/2007. 865. After leaving the nail salon, the idea of finding an Indian/Pakistani or Asian grocery store came to mind. This was not a prompting, but just an idea that presented itself. Since this was not a short distance from home, I was hoping there'd be more than just the one restaurant opportunity.

I drove down the main road, away from the Interstate looking to see if such a place were visible from the road. I went a comfortable distance and didn't see any. On the way back to the Interstate I pulled into a couple of strip malls looking for an Asian or Indian store, but didn't find any.

I got back onto the main road, and took it across the Interstate in the opposite direction to see what was over there. I saw the sign for one of my favorite gas stations, for which I have a pre-paid card, so I pulled off the main road to a side street. And just beyond a little rise, there it was, an Indian/Pakistani store.

Sometimes the Spirit works that way, not actually telling you something, and not making it obvious that the message is from him, but just putting an idea or concept in your head to see what you'll do with it. Joseph Smith called it "sudden strokes of ideas" on page 151 in "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith" (or at amazon.com).

This guy was really cool, and helped me out in selecting some Indian music. I previously purchased a couple cds of classical Indian music, and liked it. I had even listened to one of the Indian cds on the trip over. I bought some food staples here that I needed anyway (including some sugary snacks that I like, but really didn't need the calories).

There were no other customers so we had a chance to chat and sample some of the music cds he had for sale. He spoke and read a bunch of languages, including Spanish, so we switched to Spanish for a little bit, and he was conversant in it. He told me what languages he spoke/read, so I went out to the car to get him some books, but he followed me out anyway.

It was getting close to closing time, and while we were standing outside some customers came into his store, so we said our goodbyes, and he took his stack of books inside.

He was very excited to get all that reading material.

He has some really interesting stories and life experiences. I hope I can continue in contact with him.

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