06/22/2007. (Road trip to visit family, continued. On the return trip home.) I'm going to combine all three encounters from this one Interstate exit into one post. The sub-title of this post could be "Heavenly Father knows where everyone is."
843. The first stop was at a gas station. My notes indicate this was directed by the Spirit. When I saw that gas station, I felt that it was the one to go to. But I forget the original reason I got off the Interstate. The lady cashier was from India, and spoke Hindi and another Indian language (for which we don't have a Book of Mormon yet.) She politely accepted both Hindi and English copies of the Book of Mormon. When I came back in with the books, I went to the back of the line, and I kept letting people go ahead of me in line until there was no one else waiting. I didn't want to inconvenience anyone.
While I was giving them to her, some more people got in line, so I made it quick. She quickly flipped through the Hindi copy, but put them aside to serve the other patrons.
Journal Entry. Missed opportunity. I saw another gas station down the road that I felt attracted to. I went towards there, and then in the strip mall behind it, I saw an indoor flea-market "peddlars mall" kind of thing, and then felt even more strongly that I should go there. It was typical of the "step-by-step" directions I've experienced in the past.
I went in and browsed for the kinds of things I would normally buy. I'm kind of interested in knives, so I usually browse those, and sometimes buy something interesting. I asked one of the employees, and she directed me to an area that had some.
After browsing that area, I felt inspired to walk down a certain aisle. The Spirit actually said "Walk down this aisle." I did so. I don't remember if they were there when I first went down that aisle, or if they came around a corner, but there were two Caucasian-American women were walking towards me. One of them looked me straight in the eyes.
Have you ever had your eyes meet with a stranger's and you look at each other eye-to-eye for just a second or fraction of a second longer than what is customary, and you feel (to the point of knowing) that there's some connection between you, or you're supposed to make some connection? Not neccesarily deja vu (a past encounter) but a "this encounter was meant to be, and for a purpose." That's what this was like.
But, I let fear and awkwardness get in the way, and I didn't stop to strike up a conversation with those two ladies. There were plenty of other people at that flea-market (or "peddlars mall" thing) that I didn't have that feeling about. So I wasn't making it up, or imagining. It was them, or at least one of them.
It was definitely a lack of confidence on my part, so I guess I need more virtue garnishing my mind
It's easy to give out books to people who speak foreign languages, because you don't have to talk religion. I always say up-front "it's a Christian book" or "a book from my church", because I don't want them to feel surprised when they see the sub-title. But that's the closest I usually get to talking religion, unless the person asks me a direct question.
I know from past experience that immigrants overwhelming welcome offers of free materials in their native language, "even though" it's religious. So for 95% of them, I know they'll consider my offer as a big favor.
But it is harder to strike up a conversation with a stranger for the sole purpose of "sharing religion." I've been using the language and ESL aspect as a crutch, and without that crutch, I'm a big chicken.
I have to keep reminding myself that when the Spirit points someone out like that and tells me to start speaking, (the inspiration of exactly what to say doesn't start flowing until after you start talking, the Lord seems to require that little leap-of-faith from us) that that person is supposed hear some kind of message. I seem to forget that these promptings of the Holy Ghost aren't some kind of whims or randomness on his part, they're actually the will of Heavenly Father. The Holy Ghost does not and cannot prompt, whisper, command, or inspire anything unless it's the will of Heavenly Father and the Savior.
I realize some nay-sayers will likely dismiss such promptings/whisperings/ideas as my imagination. But those who have received of the Spirit will know exactly what I'm talking about.
I also stopped at that gas station out front, bought something, but didn't see any opportunities, and didn't approach anyone.
844. Chinese at restaurant. It wasn't quite supper time, but I stopped at this Chinese restaurant on the way back to the Interstate. I think this stop was prompted, too. I decided to order a meal to go, and then eat it later. I would be passing through a city where a friend lives, so I planned on calling her to see if I could stop and eat the to-go meal at her house.
I went in and ordered. I struck up a conversation with the cashier. Her family was from Hong Kong, spoke Cantonese, and read the traditional script Chinese. She accepted a traditional script Chinese Book of Mormon
, and two DVD's with Cantonese audio tracks, "Finding Happiness
" and "Together Forever
I called my friend, and about 2.5 hours later was at her house. There were no more placement efforts on this trip. But, right after leaving my friend's house I scoped out some places near there to visit in the future. And I did some reconnaissance at an Interstate exit back in Indiana.
Labels: Chinese, flea market, gas station, Hindi, missed op, restaurant