Monday, December 31, 2007

Spanish Liahona at restaurant. Mon, Dec 31, 2007.

12/31/2007. 934. The faithful ol' Book-of-Mormon-Mobile is officially toast, and was declared "totalled" (meaning cost of repairs exceeds the pre-accident or even the post-accident value.) I'll be getting another car in a week or so, and in the mean time have borrowed rides or imposed/hired friends to take me where I needed to go.

But today, I had so many errands, I had to rent a car. Around supper time, I was on the West side of town, and felt inspired to stop to eat at a restaurant that I visited in November 2006.

I'm pretty sure my waitress this time was a different lady this time.

For some reason, I didn't feel up to offering a Bible and Book of Mormon. So I took in a couple Spanish Liahona magazines, and a Together Forever DVD that has a Spanish audio track.

It's been over two weeks since I've offered anyone material, and I can quickly get "out of the groove" and let timidity creep in and lose confidence.

It was pretty good food. When I paid, I casually offered the waitress the magazine I was reading, saying it was free, and from my church, and she just as casually accepted it. My name and mailing address were still on the back cover. And I had hand-written "Misioneros: (phone number)" on the back cover, giving the phone number of the nearby full-time missionaries (elders) who spoke Spanish.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Foreign language Book of Mormon on Youtube.

The Book of Mormon in foreign languages, now on Youtube.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Welcome. Dec 16, 2007.

12/16/2007. This blog got some publicity recently, which has generated a lot of visitors. If you'd like to catch up quickly to my story, read the blog's header above, and then the rest of this post.

For a good example of how someone is using the Internet to spread good information, and promote positive discussions of the gospel and the church, please visit a couple of web sites by former bishop Jeff Lindsay. He's compiled a good list of questions and answers, and many evidences of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, not "proof" but many indications of plausibility. He also has a blog in which both believers and non-believers can participate.

No person can prove to another that the Book of Mormon is true. That knowledge can only come from God via the Holy Ghost, and usually comes as the result of reading the book, followed by sincere prayer.

Anyone can offer people a Book of Mormon, you don't have to be a full-time missionary or a ward missionary. You can give out pass-along cards, or an actual Book of Mormon, or any media that the church produces.

Offering and giving out pairs of copies of the Book of Mormon (or Gospel Fundamentals, etc.), in someone's native language and English is very easy to do, and is very well received. People love to receive something free in their original language, along with the English translation.

Here are some previous posts that explain my story:   Quick start guide to give out copies of the Book of Mormon..   How this started.   One reason why I do this.   Languages represented in Indianapolis, use as a starting point for your city.   Starting with Chinese restaurants.

I sometimes give out Gospel Fundamentals, when there is no Book of Mormon in someone's language. (BoM languages here. All Church languages here. )

Gospel Fundamentals, catalog 31129-000, is a shortened, 36 chapter, version of Gospel Principles, catalog 31110-000. Both are used to teach investigators and new members in the "Gospel Essentials" Sunday School class. When translating material for a new language, the Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet gets translated first, then Gospel Fundamentals, then the Book of Mormon.

Click here to leave me private email, then click on the FEEDBACK icon. I live in the Indianapolis North Stake, and previously lived in what is now the Indianapolis West Stake.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Book-of-Mormon-mobile gets hit. Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

12/14/2007. Journal entry. First off, the missionaries are all right. :-)

After lunch, visiting investigators, gassing up the car, shopping and contacting, I almost got the missionaries home when we spotted someone pushing a car along the side of the road while another was steering it.

I didn't think fast enough to pull over and help them, but the missarionaries throught it would be a good idea, so I turned around at the next light, and went back. It was a 4 lane divided street so I had to back a couple more lights to get to a place to turn around. While waiting to turn at that light, my car got rear ended pretty hard.

My first thought was to get the car off the road safely, and I saw that the median strip ahead of us was accessible since its edge was ramp-like, and not a sharp curb. I pulled forward, and could feel and hear that something was rubbing against the tires, but was able to make it.

The car that hit us immediately took off. I didn't even get a look at it, but one of the elders did, and there was a witness who gave me her business card. No one was able to get its license plate number.

Physically, we were all okay. I had some soreness in my neck, from the base of my skull to my shoulders, which lasted for a day or so, but is almost entirely gone now as I write this Sunday night. The one elder in the back seat had a little head ache from where his head hit the head rest. The elder in the front passenger seat was fine. I was edgy with adrenalin for a few minutes, but was able to settle down soon.

The back of my seat was broken, but mostly held up by the boxes of books in the back seat. My glasses came off my head and were in the back seat.

The rear bumper and trunk were crunched in, and the trunk lid would no longer close. Some of the groceries we bought were broken and leaked, like the ginger ale, and peanut butter. But most survived.

Literally within a minute of the accident, an off-duty police officer in a marked vehicle stopped and called in the accident. When he was assured that no one was hurt, and that my car was safely out of the way on the median, and that the engine was running so we could all stay warm, he took off.

Later, another police officer in a marked car stopped by, but he was not the one who was dispatched to the accident. He was either off duty or en route to something else. But he asked if we were all okay and could stay warm, and he also radio'ed in our situation.

I called the ward mission leader to see if he could get the missionaries home, and help me transfer all the books and personal effects out of my car back to my apartment. My first words to the mission leader on the phone were "First off, the missionaries are all right" which the missionaries found humorous. He was able to come over with a van, and fit all the stuff in.

While we were waiting, I called my insurance company phone number, and dealt with their claims service.

Then the officer who officially responded showed up, and did his thing, and then the tow truck driver showed up just as we got all the stuff out of the car.

On the down side, I forgot to offer the witness and the three officers and the tow truck driver any videos or pass-along cards.

On the good side, I needed a new car anyway. And with the winter storm this weekend, I'm glad the car got hit before the storm got here, while the police were not so busy. There was a few thousand dollars worth of pre-existing damage on the car anyway, so even though the engine compartment is fine, the car might be totaled. And if the car is not officially totalled, I'm thinking of just cashing out by taking whatever money the insurance company gives, selling off the car, and buying another.

English DVD at gas station. Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

12/14/2007. 933. After leaving the apartment complex, we went to another gas station because now I really did need some gasoline for the car.

I pulled up to a pump, and gave some money to the elders for them to pre-pay inside. This would give them an opportunity for "face time" and to look for any opportunities for conversations.

I stood waiting at the pump, and when the pump indicated that the cashier had authorized it, I began filling the car.

The man using the pump on the opposite side of my machine started a conversation about how the price had really jumped recently, and I continued the conversation. After a long-enough pause in the conversation, I switched gears and just outright offered him a nativity DVD that featured the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, from the Mormon church.

He responded in the positive, and seemed genuinely interested and enthusiastic about it. I reached in the car and got out a "Joy to the World" DVD and gave it to him.

Shortly the missionaries came back, and while waiting for me to finish, noticed that the man had the DVD in his hand.

I said goodbye to the man, as he got in his car, and then the elders and I got in and we took off.

Also, not far off course on the way to the elders apartment, was an ethnic grocery store, where I wanted to do a couple things, one was to follow up on a placement there, and two, to introduce the elders to that kind of store.

The owner was busy with another customer while I took the elders around through the aisles explaining some of the food. When it was our turn to check out, we chatted with the owner a bit, but he didn't indicate any further interest or have questions about the material that I had given him before.

After this store, we went to an auto parts store so I could buy an extra ice scraper, and some sundry stuff to put in the elders' car when they get it back. While I was checking out, the elders got into a conversation with another customer.

At first I was concerned that they were imposing on him, but it turned out this guy was very chatty and he sort of button-holed them, and they couldn't politely escape for a while. So I waited around until they were able to disengage from him. They gave him a pass-along card which he accepted.

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Chinese declined at restaurant. Fri, Dec 14, 2007.

12/14/2007. 932. I took the ward's two full-time missionaries (elders) to lunch at a Chinese buffet restaurant.

I placed some material on the table right after sitting down, Chinese Liahona, Chinese/English Bilingual New Testament, Simplified Chinese Book of Mormon, Traditional Chinese Book of Mormon, English Book of Mormon, and "Finding Happiness" DVD.

The waitress did a few double takes on them, but wasn't interested. We could tell from later interaction with her that her English was limited to restaurant vocabulary.

I've made little labels that I tape to the books, that say in Chinese "This book is free". A Mandarin-speaking friend did those to me, and emailed a graphic to me to use.

But she just wasn't interested, or perhaps she misunderstood and thought we were trying to sell them.

The hostess/cashier wasn't interested either.

After lunch, we stopped at a gas station so the missionaries could buy some snacks and so I could get a newspaper, but we didn't see any opportunities there.

Some investigators lived in an apartment complex on the way back to the missionaries' apartment. And since the missionaries are on bicycles this week (trading their car off with another set of elders), we stopped by there so they could drop in. They actually saw two households of investigators/contacts, and introduced themselves to a friend of one of them.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Spanish Liahona at restaurant. Tue, Dec 11, 2007.

12/11/2007. 931. I took a break from an activity at the storehouse, and had dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant (not the same one as last week). I was reading a Spanish Liahona magazine at my table, and the waitress noticed it and showed interest. I offered it to her and she accepted.

I had other material with me too, a Spanish Book of Mormon and a Joy to the World DVD, but didn't offer those.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Follow-up (Urdu) at store. Fri, Dec 7, 2007.

12/07/2007. Journal Entry. I shopped at a store that I was at on March 30, 2007.

On the previous trip I had given the owner an Urdu and an English Book of Mormon. His son was working today. We talked a bit, and he had seen the book on a bookshelf at their home, but hadn't read any of it. He had some questions, and we started to have a gospel conversation, but then he needed to attend another customer. I gave him a pass-along card with the web site URL written on it.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Chinese at restaurant. Thu, Dec 6, 2007.

12/06/2007. 930. I had dinner at a nearby restuarant where I recently had lunch. During my previous visit, the cashier (who also looked to be the owner) declined to receive material.

Tonight there was a different crew working.

I ordered, paid, sat down, and put some material on the table, the two kinds of the Chinese Book of Mormon, an English Book of Mormon, a bilingual Chinese/English New Testament, and some DVD's.

The cashier did a double take on the material when he brought out my food. He stopped to talk a bit, and he accepted the Chinese Simplified and the English Book of Mormon, and the bilingual New Testament. He might have accepted a DVD, but I forget.

One of the cooks on duty also came out to look at the material. I offered copies to him, but he said he'd share with the other guy.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ukrainian declined. Tamil, Hindi at store. Wed, Dec 5, 2007.

12/05/2007. 928. After leaving the restaurant, I felt inspired to visit this store a couple doors down.

The cashier was from India and spoke Tamil. I casually told him about some church books I had in Tamil, but didn't get to finish the presentation. Another customer came up, so I got out of the way and went to look to see what they had on sale that I could use.

When I got back to the front again and got in line, the same customer was there being helped. He had a very heavy accent, so I asked where he was from and he said Ukraine.

At this point, I had to decide whether to make a new offer to this man in front of the clerk, and thereby put the clerk on hold, or ignore the opportunity he presented in order to be more smooth with the clerk.

I figured my chance encounter with this man would be my only opportunity with him, so I offered him a church book in Ukrainian. He was very learned and already had books in Ukrainian, so the offer of a new one was not a big deal to him. He also said he was Jewish. There was no interest on his part, so I did not even bring up the Jewish/tribe-of-Israel aspects of the Book of Mormon.


The cashier wasn't enthusiastic, but he agreed to accept a Book of Mormon in Tamil. The manager was also up at the cash register, and he spoke Hindi and Urdu. After paying, I retrieved Tamil, Hindi and two English copies of the Book of Mormon, and a Hindi Liahona from the car and went back and gave them to the cashier and manager.

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Liahona magazines at Chinese restaurant. Wed, Dec 5, 2007.

12/05/2007. Journal entry. I had dinner at a Chinese restaurant that I first went to on October 16th. I've been there a couple times since then because the waitress was very interested.

The same waitress/cashier was there tonight, and I gave her a new set of Liahona Magazines, the November conference issues in both Chinese and English.

She sat down at my table and we talked just a little.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Spanish DVD at restaurant. Tue, Dec 4, 2007.

12/04/2007. 927. I took a break from an activity at the storehouse, and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant. After I paid, I offered the waitress/cashier a "Joy to the World" DVD that has a Spanish audio track. She gratefully accepted it.

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Spanish DVD at bakery. Tue, Dec 4, 2007

12/04/2007. 926. After lunch I went to a bakery and bought some bread. The cashier spoke Spanish, so I offered her a Christmas DVD featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the "Joy to the World" DVD, that has a Spanish audio track.

She was a big fan of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and had some of their records. She enthusiastically and gratefully received the DVD.

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Chinese declined at restaurant. Tue, Dec 4, 2007.

12/04/2007. 925. I had lunch at a Chinese restaurant that recently opened not far from where I live. When the cashier/owner brought my food to my table, he did a double-take on the Chinese copies of the Book of Mormon and the Chinese Liahona that I had on the table.

He looked at them a while, but declined my offer to give them to him.

Right before I left, I gave him a custom Book of Mormon pass-along card, with my name and number written on the back, and the name/number of an LDS friend who speaks Mandarin. He showed the card to the cook, and explained something to him in Chinese.

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