Wednesday, October 24, 2007

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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