Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thai Liahonas, DVD, Bible at restaurant. Tues, Oct 30, 2007.

10/30/2007. Follow-up at a Thai restaurant. I think it's been a couple years since i've been here. If I remember correctly, I placed a Chinese copy of the Book of Mormon with my waitress, and gave a Thai copy to the owners. But I don't think I gave them any magazines.

I was near there on an errand tonight, so I stopped by to follow-up and give them some more material.

Papa-san, the cook, noticed the magazines on the table when he brought out my plate. I gave him one, and he started to read it. But he had to get back to the kitchen before I could present the other material. When mama-san, the waitress, came to refill my water, she also accepted the other magazine, a "Finding Faith in Christ" DVD that has a Thai audio track, and the bilingual Thai/English New Testament.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

There's a dead man in my cell phone.

A couple years ago, a friend/acquaintance in his 50's passed away. He was a paraplegic due to an accident, and had been in a motorized wheelchair since before I met him. I knew him through a social club to which we both belonged.

He didn't have any local relatives, and perhaps he didn't have any living close relatives. He had never married or had children as far as I knew.

I hadn't seen him at the club meetings for a while. I had heard he was in and out of the hospital, but never got around to visiting him. It wasn't until he was near the end of his life that I was told how bad his condition was, so I went to see him. But at that point he was non-responsive. His eyes were open, and he was hooked up to machines in intensive care, but you couldn't tell if he heard or understood.

When I upgraded my cell phone, and moved the entries over to the new one, I decided to keep his name and number in it, just to remember him by.

Isn't that what all of us desire, if we were to think about it, that people remember us after we're gone? Isn't that somehow related to genealogy and temple work? To turn the hearts of the fathers and children towards each other?

What lasting contributions do we make? What legacy do those who remain childless leave behind? Who remembers them?

I think temple work and missionary work can create such a legacy as much as raising up a family. Of course it's different. But it also creates eternal connections and remembrance. It makes a difference.

This project is part of my legacy. I'm childless and will be so unless/until I marry someone who already has children. (Hopefully they'll be grown and moved out when I get married.) But I hope that at least some of the connections that I make with the people to whom I give gospel material will endure. Even if they only remember me as the American guy who spoke a few words of Wolof to them at their gas station, or the guy who gave them a blue book in their language.

I have a picture in my mind of a Chinese-American young man going to China on a mission when China opens up to missionary work. When his investigators ask him how he became a Mormon, I envision him telling them that it started when some guy who ate at his parents' restaurant gave them a Book of Mormon in Chinese.

I have a picture in my mind of someone from Africa, going back to visit their home country, taking with them a Book of Mormon or Gospel Fundamentals in their language, and showing it to their relatives, and saying "Look what someone gave me in America."

Friday, October 26, 2007

Chinese at restaurant. Fri, Oct 26, 2007.

10/26/2007. 908. I went to have lunch at a Chinese restaurant that I recently visited. The cashier/waitress with whom I had spoken before wasn't there. She had accepted material on that previous trip.

After I was served, I was able to strike up a conversation with the cook, who was the only one on duty. He accepted Chinese simplified script and English copies of the Book of Mormon, a bilingual Chinese/English New Testament, a Finding Happiness DVD, and a Together Forever DVD.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

French and Wolof at gas station. Wed, Oct 24, 2007.

10/24/2007. 907. (The lesson continues.) I was on the far side of town near where I used to live. I had given a hitch-hiker/beggar a ride across town to his mother's apartment. (The lady who answered the door did indeed say he was her son.)

After dropping him off, I stopped at a Mexican bakery, and when I was short about 30 cents, they let it slide, and I gave them a couple of church DVDs with Spanish Audio tracks.

I then stopped at an ATM on my way home, and stopped at another Mexican store for some water. As I left, I felt impressed to go in a direction that was slightly out of my way. I had stopped at most gas stations along that little detour route, so I wondered what as going to happen.

As I approached a certain gas station where I had given out material before, I felt inspired to stop there again. The cashier spoke with an accent, so I struck up a conversation with him. He was from Senegal and spoke English, French, and Wolof. He was not the same cashier to whom I had previously given material. He was ecstatic that I had something in Wolof to give him. And he did not mind at all that it was Christian material, even though he was Muslim.

I offered, and he accepted Wolof and English copies of Gospel Fundamentals, and French and English copies of the Book of Mormon. Another customer got in line right after I presented them, so we didn't have time to chat more.

This encounter really drove home the point that I should not have felt bad about the hitch-hiker/beggar being manipulative. It was because I followed the impression to be of service to him, that I was put in place to make contacts and give out materials to the others. Another reason to withhold judgement of the hitch-hiker's behavior is that I believe I was more-or-less told by the Spirit to be of service to him. If God deemed him worthy of that service, then I have no right to complain.

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DVDs at Mexican Bakery. Wed, Oct 24, 2007.

10/24/2007. 906. 2 DVDs at Mexican bakery. I had given a man a ride to his mother's home on the opposite side of town. I used to live on that side of town, so I knew the area. I planned my trip back home, and intended to stop at a certain bank branch and use the ATM. As I neared one small strip mall, I remembered a bakery there, and felt "tugged" to stop there. I like the small loaves of white bread, so I went in and bought 3 loaves.

I thought I had enough change, but I had given my last 3 or 4 dollars in bills to the hitch-hiker. I searched my wallet and dug out all the coins from my pocket. I told the cashier I only had enough for two, and expected her to take one of the small loaves out of the bag, but she and her partner said not to worry. I paid them for the 2, plus gave them the other few coins I had.

This was kind of a lesson in humility for me, because the only reason I had been charitable to the hitch-hiker/beggar was because I felt inspired to help him, and I had been annoyed at his attitude (of not giving me enough information to feel completely safe, and of refusing the loaf of bread.) Now here were two strangers giving me a free loaf of bread and I hadn't really asked for it.

Anyway, their generosity made it easier for me to offer them something in return. I felt I owed them something, and so their generosity was a nice excuse for me to give them something in return since I was out of cash. I've been to this store at least a few times, but forgot what all I had given them. (Maybe I need to keep a file in my PDA and sync it with my home computer so I can keep track.)

So I brought in a couple of DVDs that have Spanish audio tracks. I brought back in "The Testaments", and I think "Our Heavenly Father's Plan."

I showed them the DVDs and asked if they had seen them before, and they said they hadn't. So I gave the DVDs to them, and they received them gratefully. And I said "Feliz Navidad". The DVDs clam-shells had a copy of the info flyer listing the local chapels, and a Book of Mormon pass-along card.

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Chinese DVD at restaurant. English Bible to beggar. Wed, Oct 24, 2007.

10/24/2007. Journal entry. Follow up at a Chinese restaurant that I haven't been to in a while. I think the last time I ate here was in 2004 or 2005, and they accepted a Chinese Book of Mormon, and maybe an English copy. (That part of my journal is on a hard drive that won't boot, and I haven't recovered the data.) Tonight after finishing my meal there, I stopped by the counter and offered the cook/cashier (he was the only one on duty) a "Finding Happiness" DVD, which he accepted.

It was interesting in that I believe I was directed of the Spirit to go there, and in so doing, began a cross town trip that included an interesting chain of events, and another lesson for me.

10/24/2007. 905. LDS KJV Bible to beggar/hitch-hiker. I left the Chinese restaurant and headed down the road on my way home. It was a well-travelled 5 lane street (2 lanes in each direction plus a center turn lane.) Therefore, when a pedestrian was crossing it, I completely stopped even though I didn't have to in order to let him cross. That also started a chain of events.

Right after letting him cross, I believe I was spiritually directed to go to a discount store as I passed it. I didn't really need anything, but since I can always add a little to my "year's supply", it wouldn't hurt.

The man crossing the street also went to the same store, and got to the front door just before me, and held it open for me.

When in the store, and towards the back, looking for something I needed to stock up on, the same man asked for my help. At that point I felt he had targeted me, because I had been kind to him and allowed him to cross. I also have a "sap" face, and I know I attract street people asking for handouts. Well, I "target" people for the purpose of giving out books, so I figured I'd at least let him have his say.

I also felt confident that this encounter was meant to be. I had been directed to that store. So after his pitch, I asked him to wait outside for me while I finished shopping. He had said he hadn't eaten in 2 days, but I could detect alcohol on his breath. At the last minute before checking out, I got a loaf of whole wheat bread to give him.

I talked to him again after I checked out and went outside.

He wasn't entirely forthcoming in his answers, but he seemed honest "enough." He said he needed a ride to his mother's on the other side of town, but first needed to get his stuff from a motel up the street.

So I took him up the street, and the motel was a real dive. He got his stuff together, and made a phone call to let them know he was coming. I probably should have asked for their number, and called them on my cell phone, in order to confirm it was legitimate and that they really wanted him to come by. But again, the Spirit confirmed that even though this guy wasn't entirely open, it was okay to help him.

He put his stuff in the back seat, and we headed across town. I said I bought him a loaf of bread, and he said he didn't want it. I was a little put off by that. If he really hadn't eaten in a couple of days, he wouldn't be turning down fresh food. When I asked what kind of food he wanted, he suggested we stop at a restaurant. I probably would have stopped the car and told him to get out at that point, but I had to remind myself of how we met, so I tried to keep it polite.

I also remembered a lesson I learned September 10th about beggars and opportunities. And I remembered that it doesn't really matter if they are telling the truth or not, as long as the encounter turns into an opportunity to share gospel material. So in the big picture it didn't matter whether he was totally honest, or totally forthcoming, or legitimate or deserving in his requests.

At this point I knew I was being played, at least to some degree, and it stung. And my frustration probably showed. However, I realized I needed to be humble, and not blow this opportunity to share something. I didn't entirely succeed, but at least I had an opportunity to do a little better than I did on September 10th.

I told him I'd stop at a grocery store to get something for him. I asked what he wanted, and he said a couple of TV dinners and a bag of chips. So when we got off the highway, I went to a popular grocery store a block out of the way. Again, he seemed a little too choosey for someone in his alleged situation, but I tried (not entirely successfully) to be non-judgemental and humble about it.

We eventually got to his mother's apartment, and I gave him 3 or 4 dollars, which was the last folding money I had on me. Normally, I don't give money, but again, this situation was special.

I had offered him a Bible, and he agreed to receive one, so I retrieved an LDS edition King James Bible from the trunk and gave it to him. I had given him the choice of a King James or a New International Version, and he chose the King James. I made sure there was a pass-along card and an info-flyer in it.

I went to the front door with him. He knocked and a lady answered, and recognized him and acted like he was expected. I asked if she knew him, and she said he was her son. So I was satisfied that I had not been involved in anything nefarious, or caused things to be worse than before getting involved.

Now the cool part of the story really starts here, as I realized that even if nothing came of this encounter, there were some people to meet on the way back.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

The new Chinese Book of Mormon is out!

10/22/2007. I just received my first shipment of the new translation of the traditional Chinese Book of Mormon, catalog # 34407-265. This is in "traditional script" which is in use in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. For people from mainland China, the Book of Mormon in "simplified script" is appropriate, with catalog suffix -266. I expect the simplified script version of the new translation/edition will be forthcoming.

This new edition has the "Guide to the Scriptures" and footnotes. The "Guide to the Scriptures" is printed western-style, left-to-right, and starts at what we consider the front of the book. The Book of Mormon proper is still printed traditional style, top to bottom, and right-to-left, starting at what we consider to be the back of the book. Therefore, the book reads "outside in".

The font is also larger than the previous traditional script edition that was printed in Taiwan or Hong Kong.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Spanish at apartment parking lot. Sat, Oct 20, 2007

10/20/2007. Journal Entry. A member of our Elders' Quorum was moving today, and I showed up to help. When I arrived, the member was away getting the truck, but the full-time missionaries were there, also waiting for him.

Since missionaries cycle through different wards on their rotations, I'm able to re-tell some of my favorite placement stories to them on a regular basis. I was showing them the Book of Mormon inventory in my trunk, and telling them a few placement stories, when across the way, a neighbor of the guy who was moving was checking something in his car. He looked Hispanic, so I suggested to the elders that they offer him a Spanish Bible, Spanish Book of Mormon, and a video with a Spanish audio track. These elders don't speak Spanish, but it turned out that the man spoke English well.

They went over and had a short conversation with him while I stayed at my car. He accepted the Spanish Book of Mormon, and the DVD "The Testaments." The elders said he already had a Spanish Bible.

It may not be cool to go around proselyting in apartment parking lots. But if you have a legitimate reason to be there (help someone move), and you casually strike up a conversation with just one person, it seems within reason to do so.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Pass-along card ideas: Bible plus Book of Mormon

Here are a couple more pass-along card ideas. They combine the Bible with the Book of Mormon and lead off with the Bible. 888-537-1212 is from the Free Bible pass-along card. I haven't printed them, just playing around with designs. These are fixed templates, so you have little choice on layout and font-sizes other than their standard designs. You could go completely custom, but those cost much more.

You can custom design one like this at Office Depot, under custom printing, then business cards, then standard business cards, then item 166163, format B3.

This next one uses format B7, at Office Depot, under custom printing, then business cards, then standard business cards, then item 166163, format B7. It's a little more personal, but also a little bolder in assuming familiarity. With this one, I think it would be good to sign it at the bottom, and add your own phone number.

These are standard size business cards, 3.5" wide by 2" tall.

Feedback? Any suggestions?

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We are not alone in this belief.

One of my Catholic friends sent me this story. It had lots of forwarding-headers showing it went through a lot of hands. She might know I give out books, but she doesn't know all the details.

In Internet lingo the story is called a "glurge," a made up inspirational story with a moral lesson, but often undermined by presenting it as a "true story" when it actually distorts historical fact, or is entirely made up.

My point here is not that this is a true story. It is probably made up. My point is that many believers of all faiths believe that God can and does inspire people, and that He wants to communicate to us about how to live and serve our fellow man. So even if this story never happened, the point is that many people believe in the concepts that it illustrates. In other words, we (LDS) are not alone in our belief that God can direct us for good, even at the level of daily mundane actions, and then doing something that just doesn't make sense.

Also, I think many people do things just "on a hunch," and it turns out that there was a bigger purpose served. So I think the story resonates with many people on how the idea of doing something that is supposedly crazy or non-sensical turns out to be inspired.

That's how I sometimes feel, "This just doesn't make sense." But most of the time, it works out.

Another concept it illustrates is that God doesn't tell us the reasons for his instructions as we're going along. Sometimes the results are visible at the end of a little "assignment." But most often the final results are far into the future. Fortunately, God sees the big picture and knows what's coming down the road.

This story of the milk reminds me of Beth Moore's story of brushing a man's hair at an airport, and the time I stopped to give something to a man sitting on his front porch.

A young man had been to Wednesday Night Bible Study.The Pastor had shared about listening to God and obeying the Lord's voice. The young man couldn't help but wonder, 'Does God still speak to people?'

After service, he went out with some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed the message. Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways.

It was about ten o'clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray, 'God. If you still speak to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey.'

As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought to stop and buy a gallon of milk.

He shook his head and said out loud, 'God is that you?' He didn't get a reply and started on toward home. But again, the thought, buy a gallon of milk.

The young man thought about Samuel and how he didn't recognize the voice of God, and how little Samuel ran to Eli.

'Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk.' It didn't seem like too hard a test of obedience. He could always use the milk. He stopped and purchased the gallon of milk and started off toward home.

As he passed Seventh Street , he again felt the urge, 'Turn Down that street.'
This is crazy he thought, and drove on past the intersection.Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street .

At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh. Half jokingly, he said out loud, 'Okay, God, I will.'

He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in a semi- commercial area of town. It wasn't the best but it wasn't the worst of neighborhoods either. The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark like the people were already in bed.

Again, he sensed something. 'Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street.' The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat.

'Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going to be mad and I will look stupid.' Again, he felt like he should go and give the milk.

Finally, he opened the door, 'Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something, but if they don't answer right away, I am out of here.'

He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A man's voice yelled out, 'Who is it? What do you want?' Then the door opened before the young man could get away.

The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn't seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep. 'What is it?'

The young man thrust out the gallon of milk, 'Here, I brought this to you.' The man took the milk and rushed down a hallway.

Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming down his face.

The man began speaking and half crying, 'We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn't have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.'

His wife in the kitchen yelled out, 'I ask him to send an Angel with some. Are you an Angel?'

The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him and put in the man's hand. He turned and walked back toward his car and the tears were streaming down his face. He knew that God still answers prayers.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Arabic at grocery store. Tue, Oct 16, 2007.

10/16/2007. 904. On my way home from the Chinese restaurant I passed a large grocery/department store. As I passed by, I believed I was prompted of the Spirit to go there. (For those who believe that Mormons make up their "prompted of the Spirit" stories, I would refer you to this story by Beth Moore, in which she recounts that she was urged of the Lord's Spirit to brush the hair of an elderly man in a wheelchair at an airport. It's very touching. Beth Moore has an organization called Living Proof Ministries.)

As soon as I went in, there was a couple with another lady speaking a foreign language. I chickened out of approaching them, and just went on to buy some produce.

However, when I checked out, the one couple was waiting up front for the other lady to finish checking out.

I approached the couple and asked what languages they spoke. I addressed the man, but the lady was the one who responded to my questions, so I then addressed her. They were from Egypt and spoke Arabic. I offered them a free copy of a bilingual Arabic/English Bible that I had bought from International Bible Society. They agreed to see it, so I asked them to wait while I retrieved it from my car.

I got it and also Arabic and English copies of the Book of Mormon. When I went back they had just come out of the store and were waiting outside. The lady to whom I had already spoken accepted the bilingual Bible, but when I presented the Arabic Book of Mormon, she politely declined. At that point the other lady came out, and she accepted the Arabic Book of Mormon. At first she declined the English Book of Mormon, saying she didn't read English well. But when I suggested that it could be used to learn more English, she accepted it.

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Chinese at restaurant. Tue, Oct 16, 2007.

10/16/2007. 903. I stopped at this place on my way home from a customer appointment. I gave Chinese (simplified characters) and English copies of the Book of Mormon, Chinese Liahona magazine, Finding Happiness DVD, Heavenly Fathers Plan DVD, Together Forever DVD, Introduction to Church DVD to the cashier/waitress at a Chinese restaurant.

She was a very sweet young lady who seemed genuinely interested in the material.

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DVDs (and gas) to man who ran out of gas. Tue, Oct 16, 2007.

10/16/2007. 902. I went to drop a letter in a mail box near my apartments and a man in a truck near the mailbox asked for help buying gas. He had a story I hadn't heard before. I'm not saying I believed him or disbelieved him. It may be true or not. He said he took his wife to the hospital that's up the road a ways, and he didn't have time to get dressed or take his wallet. He was in his bath-robe and slippers. I didn't ask for the details, but he said he wasn't entirely out of gas, he just didn't have enough to get back home.

I thought I'd take a chance just in case he wasn't conning me. There was a gas station about 100 feet away, so I said I'd buy him some gas. I don't like to just give people money. I told him to pull up to a pump and I'd pay for some gas. He did, and I went in and paid for $8 worth of gas.

I went back out and told him I hadn't heard that story before, and it didn't matter if it was true or not, but to just "pay it forward" to someone else who needs help.

As I was going back to my car, if finally dawned on me that it was also an opportunity to give him something from the church, so I got out a couple of DVDs from the car. I forget exactly which two, but one of them was probably "Together Forever." I went back and presented them, and he accepted them.

I've often spent $8 or more on eating out, just for the opportunity to give out some church material at a restaurant. So looking back, I can justify it that way.

As I write this, I'm realizing that in the big picture it doesn't matter if such requests are legitimate, because the encounter is actually an opportunity for something more important. I'm going to try to stop worrying if it's a con or not.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Food storage pouch sealer. Dry pack "canning" at home.

Our stake used to seem kind of disorganized about using the local dry-pack cannery at the local LDS storehouse. Or, maybe it just seemed that way because the women handle it in Relief Society and the information and announcements never make it to Elders Quorum.

(Update, June 2008: The ward I'm in now is moving strong on "home storage" and "provident living". Things are getting more organized, and information is getting out to the whole ward, including the Elders Quorum. The whole church is putting more emphasize on home food storage, making it a priority.)

I ended up buying my own dry pack foil pouches, oxygen packets, and pouch sealer at www.ldscatalog.com.

There are practical restrictions on stuff you can dry-pack, so get a list from your local cannery or your ward's cannery rep. Products packaged in the pouches should be low in moisture and oil content. Some stuff won't keep very long. You can't/shouldn't dry-pack brown rice or whole wheat flour for instance. (Whole wheat kernals, yes; whole wheat flour, no.) An oxygen absorber packet should be used in each pouch for all products except sugar.

Here's a list of stuff you shouldn't dry-can long term. (link updated Feb 2010)

After you open a package of oxy-absorber packets, you need to keep it closed with some kind of clip, taking out only a few at a time. They sell a clip, but I can't find it right now. At the end of your canning session, put all unused oxy packs into their own foil pouch and seal them. Putting them back in the plastic container and putting a clip over them isn't enough.

What does this have to do with the rest of my blog? I have to do something with all the beans, rice, and noodles that I buy at ethnic groceries.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Twi at grocery store. Sat, Oct 13, 2007.

10/13/2007. 901. I went to a nearby 24-hour grocery store to do some late night shopping. As I was in the produce section near the doors, a security guard closed and locked the entrance doors on that side so that customers would have to enter the doors near the cash registers until the morning shift started.

I was standing only a few feet away at the first fruit stand, within conversation distance. The thought that this might turn into a gospel contact never occurred to me. Well, you know me, I'm Mr. Chatty anyway, so as he turned away from the doors, and towards me, I said something just to say something, like "That time of night?" (ie, to lock that set of doors.)

He said "Yes" and something else, enough that I could tell that he had an accent. I said something like "Ah, you have an accent. Where are you from?" He said Ghana. I asked if he spoke Twi (pronounced "chwee") and he was pleasantly surprised that I knew about the language. I said something about the many Ghanaians in Indianapolis, and mentioned one of the cultural events I went to.

I said my church has lots of books in African languages, and he asked which church and I told him. He knew about the church, and had had some contact with members. I offered him a Book of Mormon in Twi, and agreed to receive it.

I left my shopping cart in the produce section, and went out to my car and retrieved copies of the Book of Mormon and Gospel Fundamentals in Twi and in English (four books total). When I returned, he was near the main entrance, and there were no other customers, so it was easy to talk to him. I presented the books, and he beamed. I didn't want to interfere with his duties, so I wrote my name and phone number on one of the inserts, and said he could call me or one of the other numbers if he wanted any more information. We shook hands, and he went back to work, and I went back to shopping.

As I went in the doors near the cash registers, another store employee looked at me, as if he had seen me give the books to the guard and wondered what I was up to. I probably should have enthusiastically said something like "I had some books in his language!" which I have said on other occasions to third party observers who looked askance at the transaction.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Audio Book of Mormon

There are several audio versions of the Book of Mormon.

Download FREE MP3 English files at www.ldsaudio.com

Download FREE MP3 English files at www.lds.org.

You can download free Spanish MP3 files of the Book of Mormon here.

You can download free Portuguese MP3 files of the Book of Mormon here.

Purchase a CD-set containing MP3 English files at www.ldsaudio.com

You'll need an MP3 player (or your computer) to listen to the above.

You can purchase regular audio English CD's (that will play in any regular CD-player) at www.ldscatalog.com. (23 CD's per set.)

You can also purchase English audio cassettes at www.ldscatalog.com (23 cassettes per set.)

Buy Finnish Book of Mormon audio cassettes.

Buy Navajo Book of Mormon audio cassettes.

Buy Swedish Book of Mormon audio cassettes.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hindi at restaurant. Wed, Oct 10, 2007.

10/10/2007. 900. I was at the church storehouse for part of the afternoon. I stopped at a chain restaurant on my way home for an early supper. The couple operating the restaurant were from India. I offered the husband a free church magazine and a free church book in Hindi. I made sure to point out it was Christian material. He agreed to receive them, so I went out to the car and brought back a Hindi Liahona and Hindi Book of Mormon. He graciously accepted them, looked through them just a little, and then went on working cleaning up. It was a friendly encounter, and they seemed like very nice people.

Eating outside of the normal rush hours for lunch and supper makes it easier to talk to the owners/employees at restaurants. Talking with the public is part of their business, and as long as you're not taking them away from other duties or customers, they never seem to mind.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Chinese, Hindi, Punjabi. Tue, Oct 9, 2007.

10/09/2007. 897. Cantonese, Together Forever DVD. I went to a nearby town to buy something. I didn't see any ATMs for my bank along the way, so I had to make a little detour. Fortunately, it wasn't far before I found a branch of my bank. There was a Chinese restaurant in the same strip mall so I planned to go back there to eat.

I made my purchase, and went back to that Chinese restaurant. The cashier noticed the material on the table when she brought my meal. I usually put out a Chinese and English Liahona magazine, Chinese and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and a bilingual Chinese/English New Testament from International Bible Society.

We had a pretty long conversation. They didn't have any other customers or phone-in orders at the time, so she was free to chat, and I engaged her as long as she stood next to my table.

She said she already had those books, while pointing to the Chinese and English Book of Mormon. But I think because the Chinese symbol for "Book" on the cover of the Book of Mormon actually means "Holy Book" or "Bible", she probably meant she already had Chinese and English Bibles. Anyway, she politecly declined to receive material.

After I finished, I went back to the cashier counter to put some money in the tip jar, and another young man behind the counter thanked me, and we struck up a conversation. I assumed he was her brother, but didn't verify.

He talked about how much they worked and he didn't have time for some other important things. That is one of the themes of the "Together Forever" DVD, wherein the dad works hard for the family, yet the family thinks he doesn't care because he's always working. I described that scene, and they both nodded their heads and indicated their family was like that.

So I got a little bold and brought back in a Together Forever DVD, and handed it to him, and he accepted it.

10/09/2007. 898. Hindi/English Book of Mormon. In the same strip mall as the Chinese restaurant was a gas station. It was a brand that often has people from India and Pakistan as owners/operators. I drove around and parked near there. I went in to buy a newspaper, and the cashier looked like was from India. She said "hi", and I said "hi" and "Namaste". She spoke Hindi and Gujerati. (The church doesn't have anything in Gujerati yet.) I paid for the newspapers, and asked if she like to read Hindi. She said yes, so I said I had something to show her, and would be back.

I retrieved Hindi and English copies of the Book of Mormon from my car and got back in line. When it was my turn again, I presented them, and she gratefully accepted them. She started reading the Hindi, but another customer soon came up to check out.

10/09/2007. 899. Punjabi/English Gospel Fundamentals, and Punjabi Joseph Smith Testimony Pamphlet. Instead of back-tracking and going home the way I came, I continued on this detour so that I would take another route back to the Interstate and go through some commercial districts. I stopped at another gas station that had 2 liters of soda on sale, and bought some, but didn't see any opportunties there.

Eventually I came to another brand of gas station that commonly has foreign-born owners/operators, and decided to stop in there. I bought a fountain drink and a different newspaper this time. The cashier there was from India and spoke Punjabi. I offered him a Punjabi copy of our Sunday school manual from church, and he enthusiastically agreed to see it. I retrieved a Punjabi copy and an English copy of Gospel Fundamentals, and a Punjabi Joseph Smith Testimony Pamphlet from the car. He gratefully received them.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Samoan follow-up. 2 coincidences.

10/06/2007. I talked to the elders at the chapel as we were gathered to watch General Conference.

It turns out the Samoan lady that I met at a store on Wednesday and her family live in the same ward where the full time elder from Samoa is assigned. They are in the other ward that shares the chapel that I go to. She did call the phone number I had given her (the wrong one), but the elders passed her info on to the right elders, and the Samoan elder called and made contact with her family. He said they were excited about meeting him.

I told the Samoan elder I thought it was cool that her brother-in-law was already a member of the church. The Samoan elder then told me that her brother-in-law lives in his home ward back in Utah! I can't believe all the coincidences that lined up for that! WOO HOO!


Friday, October 05, 2007

Polish at Post Office. Fri, Oct 5, 2007.

10/05/2007. 896. I checked my PO Box at the Post Office. As I was passing through the lobby, there was a lady with a small boy talking to him in a foreign language. It sounded Eastern European. At an appropriate moment, and from a respectful distance I asked her what language she was speaking. She said Polish.

I said the reason I asked is that my church as free books in Polish. I offered her the Book of Mormon in Polish. I forget the order of what we said, but she asked which church, and I responded. At first she said to just give her a phone number to call, but when I said I could bring in a copy from the car, she agreed to see it.

I went out and brought in a Polish copy and an English copy. She accepted both. I asked if she was going to the International Festival at the State Fairgrounds the first weekend in November. She didn't know about it. So I wrote down the info on a piece of paper, and told her the local Polish club usually has a booth there. She didn't know about the local Polish club, and was definitely interested in making contact.

More of the back-story...

I wasn't going to check my PO box that day. But I had a flat tire (fortunately I had a good spare tire) and took my car to a repair shop that happened to be near the Post Office. After getting a new tire (it was a side puncture, so the tire couldn't be fixed), and some other car work that I needed anyway, I decided to check my PO Box while I was in the area.

There was actually a tire repair shop down the street from where I had the flat, but they were booked up all day with appointments, and the next nearest store (of this tire store chain that I like) was near my Post Office.

While I was changing the flat tire, and lifting five boxes of the Book of Mormon out of my trunk so I could get to the spare tire underneath them, I realized that this event was going to put me on a path that I would not otherwise have been on that day. I started to think "Aha. Something interesting is going to happen."

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Spanish declined at laundromat. Thu, Oct 4, 2007.

10/04/2007. 895. I was doing a late laundry run at the 24-hour laundromat. The lady using the folding table next to mine looked like she could have been Native American or Hispanic. Her T-shirt had a Native American theme, so I asked if she was a Native American. She was. She said she was also from a country in Central America.

She spoke Spanish fluently, and said she spoke another language besides English. I offered her a Book of Mormon in Spanish, but she politely declined. She said she knew members of the church back in her home country. I gave her a custom pass-along card, and suggested any of her other friends who spoke some of the other languages she mentioned could call and get a free Book of Mormon in their language. She accepted that card. She also mentioned several other languages, but I wasn't sure if they were her languages or her friends'.

It was a polite and friendly encounter, but she just wasn't interested in receiving any material. She did claim some knowledge about the LDS church, and mentioned Joseph Smith, so she probably had already learned as much as she wanted.

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Chinese Liahona and DVDs at restaurant. Thu, Oct 4, 2007.

10/04/2007. 894. I had lunch in a town about 30 minutes away. It was to be a follow-up to a visit I made some time in 2004. But my waitress hadn't been there before, and I don't think she was in the same family as the owners.

Anyway, she accepted Chinese and English copies (same issue) of the Liahona, and two DVDs, "Together Forever" and "Finding Happiness." I didn't offer the Chinese Book of Mormon though. But the owners still had one copy of each type of Chinese Book of Mormon from previous visits. If it generates conversation between them, I hope they'll offer their unused copy of the Book of Mormon to her to see if she'd like to read it. I also included an index card that had their local chapel address and phone number on it, in addition to the Indianapolis Mission office info.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Samoan at store. Wed, Oct 3, 2007.

10/03/2007. 893. While still on my way home from the previous restaurant visit, and visiting one of my customers, I stopped again at the same store that had the cashier who spoke Bambara, in order to purchase some more of the same items as before. It was a legitimate shopping stop, and not to follow-up or seek more opportunities.

Anyway, the cashier this time was a very friendly lady who looked like she was from one of the Pacific Islands. So I just asked if she was a Pacific Islander. Her face lit up in a big smile and she said yes. It was like she was glad that someone noticed and could tell.

She was from Samoa, and still read and spoke Samoan. I told her about a local full time missionary (Elder) who is Samoan. He is currently serving in the ward that shares the building where my ward meets.

I got all flustered due to the excitement, and gave her the phone # for the wrong missionaries. But I more or less straightened it out later by calling the wrong missionaries and asking them to give her the number for the Samoan elder (and his companion too of course) when/if she calls.

She's not a member already. I asked because a large percentage (not a majority, but a noticeable number) of Samoans are members of the church. But she said one of her relatives is a member, so she's heard of the church before.

She was enthusiastic about meeting another Samoan. I didn't mention anything about missionary discussions, but I made clear the Samoan guy I was talking about was a full time missionary. And I'm confident that the Mission president will let the Samoan elder and his companion cross district/zone boundaries for them to meet.

I think it's good enough for a meet-and-greet. And she also accepted Samoan and English copies of the Book of Mormon.

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Liahonas at Chinese restaurant. Wed, Oct 3, 2007.

10/03/2007. 892. On the way back from visiting a customer in a neighboring town, I stopped at a Chinese restaurant for supper. I hadn't been there before. I was on my cell phone when the cashier/waiter brought out my food, so I couldn't easily make a presentation. Also, it was the dinner rush and they were hustling to keep up, so I didn't want to waste his time. But I did have a Chinese Liahona and the two types of Chinese copies of the Book of Mormon on the table.

On my way out, I stopped again at the counter and presented the Chinese Liahona and the corresponding English issue Liahona, which they accepted. They were so busy, there wasn't an opportunity for much of an explanation, or for a Book of Mormon presentation. It was good food, and I'll likely be there again.

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