Saturday, September 29, 2007

Follow up at Restaurant, Liahonas. Sat, Sep 29, 2007.

07/29/2007. Follow-up to 890. I met someone for lunch at the restaurant I had checked out on Thursday the 27th. The two employees thanked me for the magazines I had left before. I have an excess of Liahona magazines in that language, so I brought in two more issues, along with an English issue that matched one of the foreign language ones. I still haven't presented a Book of Mormon in that language, but I intend to on a future visi.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Bambara at store. Fri, Sep 28, 2007.

09/28/2007. 891. While driving back home after lunch and errands, I stopped at a store to buy some stuff, and check out on a product that another church member suggested for a project. He said he saw it at this particular chain. I ended up buying what I needed, but forgot about the other item he suggested.

My cashier was a tall African man who spoke with a beautiful accent. I asked where he was from and he said Mali. I asked if he spoke French, and he did, so we spoke a little French. We got to talking a little more, and his other language is Bambara.

So I offered him a Bambara translation of Gospel Fundamentals, the Sunday school manual.

He agreed to see it, and said it was okay if I gave it to him while he was on duty. I took my stuff out to my car, and brought back in the Bambara and English Gospel Fundamentals, and a multi-lingual "Special Witnesses of Christ" DVD that has a French audio track.

I waited while he attended another customer, then presented the material. He graciously and enthusiastically accepted them. He quickly flipped through the Bambara book, and confirmed it was his language. He was very pleased.

I didn't want to take up too much of his time, so I gave my name, shook his hand, and said both my number and the church's phone number were in the material, and to call if he liked what he read.

Prior to stopping at this store, I took a route that I don't think I've taken before, and I was able to scope out a couple more restaurants to visit.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Liahona magazines at ethnic restaurant. Thu, Sep 27, 2007.

09/27/2007. 890. I had supper at a restaurant that I haven't been to before. I took in three Liahona magazines in their language instead of the Book of Mormon. It turned out well since the three employees or owners all spoke that language. I offered them when the waitress brought my food. She was unsure how to respond, but seemed genuinely interested, and didn't seem offended. She shared them with the two other employees in back, and they all flipped through the pages for a bit, then got back to work.

I still had an English edition of one of the same issues, and offered it to go along with the foreign language edition, but she declined it.

The food was very good, so I plan on going back. And I'll see if they would be interested in a Book of Mormon, or a church DVD with an audio track in their language.

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New Mormon Movie: "The Dance"

Just released on DVD. I haven't seen it yet, but it's by the same people who did "Best Two Years" so it looks promising. (Update: I've now seen it. It's good. Read my review here.)

Movie: "The Dance."
Writer/Director: McKay Daines.
Production company: Flynn-Daines.
Distributor: Promethean Fire.

Cast: Stefania Barr, Scott Christopher, K.C. Clyde, Joyce Cohen, Chantelle Daines, Michael Flynn, Frank Gerrish, Kari Hawker, Monique Lanier, Rick Macy, Olesya Rulin.

Several of those actors also appeared in "Best Two years," Scott Christopher, KC Clyde, and Michael Flynn.

Links: Main website. Trailer. Trailer #2. IMDB. Plot summary.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Chinese at restaurant. Mon, Sep 24, 2007.

09/24/2007. 889. I decided to eat supper at a Chinese restaurant that I haven't been to before. I was seated, placed my order, went to wash up, came back and placed some material on the table. Not on her first trip, but on one of her trips to my table, the waitress started a conversation about the "Finding Happiness" DVD.

She wasn't fluent in English. But I was able to figure out she spoke Cantonese, and could read both the old style Chinese script and the newer style Simplified script. But she prefered the Simplified script Book of Mormon because the type is a little larger and easier to read than the traditional script Chinese edition. We talked a just little each time she came back to the table.

When she brought the check, she had more time to talk, and she accepted the Simplified script Chinese Book of Mormon, the "Finding Happiness" DVD, a "Together Forever" DVD, a Chinese Liahona magazine, and an English Liahona magazine. She declined the English Book of Mormon.

While driving home I felt an outpouring of the Spirit, as if what had happened was a momentous occasion.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

"Locker Kits" (Bible+BoM) to young men. Sun, Sep 23, 2007.

09/23/2007. Journal Entry. I gave some Bibles and copies of the Book of Mormon to the Young Men's president to give out. I assembled them in kits, a Bible and a Book of Mormon paired together and in a zip-lock freezer bag. These are what I've called "car kits" in the past. The zip-lock bag keeps the stuff together and clean. I suggested to the high-school aged Young Men in priesthood opening exercises that they could keep them in their lockers at school, and see if they generate conversations.

The copies of the Book of Mormon were marked in 3rd Nephi chapters 11 through 26, and Moroni's promise in Moroni 10:3-5. Those markings were done with sticky-notes.

Included in each Bible and Book of Mormon were an "info flyer" listing all the local chapels, addresses, and meeting times. You can download the info-flyer here. Each Bible had a Book of Mormon pass-along card in it, and each Book of Mormon had a Book of Mormon pass-along card, plus another one.

After the entire meeting block, one of the other young men asked if middle-school guys could get one for their locker too. I said sure, and suggested he ask the YM president if he had any left over, and if he didn't have any then ask his dad, and if they didn't have any, I'd get him one.

The next week, I checked with the YM pres, who had given them all out to the older boys, so I gave the middle-schooler's dad a "locker kit" to give his son.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Yoruba at gas station. Sat, Sep 22, 2007.

09/22/2007. 888. After supper at the Chinese buffet, I ran one more errand, and was heading home. But I felt a motivation to go to the singles dance at a nearby stake center. I hadn't planned on going, but all of a sudden it felt like the right thing to do.

I stayed at the dance about an hour or so, and left before the end. I took a certain route home, but received a distinct impression that I should go back to a particular gas station that I had already passed and then take a different route home.

I've been to that gas station before on previous trips to/from the stake center, and have made a least a couple of book or DVD placements there.

I went in and bought something. The cashier spoke with an accent, so I asked where he was from. He was from Nigeria and his native language was Yoruba. I offered him a Yoruba Sunday School manual, and his face lit up, and he expressed eagerness to see it. I brought a copy in from my car along with the English edition. He graciously accepted them, and started flipping through them.

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Chinese at restaurant. Sat, Sep 22, 2007.

09/22/2007. 887. I stopped to eat at a buffet that I haven't been to in over a year. It looked like there were new owners. I had the Simplified Script Chinese and English copies of the Book of Mormon, a bilingual Chinese/English New Testament, and "Finding Happiness" DVD on the table while I ate. The waitress saw them as she took away the plates and brought refills for my soda, but she didn't say anything.

When the waitress brought the check I started a conversation. She accepted the two copies of the Book of Mormon and the DVD. She didn't look through them right away, but put them at her waitress station before going back to work.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

English DVDs at store parking lot. Sat, Sep 15, 2007.

09/15/2007. 886. As I left a store I passed another car in the parking lot on the way to mine. There was a man in the front passenger seat with the door open. As I got back to my car, my attention was turned back to the man. He was still in the car, door open, so he apparently was just waiting on the driver, and was keeping the door open to keep cool. He was an elderly African-American man, and was dressed as if he had just came back from church.

It occurred to me to offer him something from my stash of church material in the car. Rather than analyze the thought/feeling to figure out if it was actually a spiritual prompting, or merely my own idea, I decided to just do it.

I grabbed three DVDs, Joy to the World, To This End Was I Born, and Finding Faith in Christ.

I took the DVDs back to his car, and stood off to the side at a respectful distance, in front of his car door, so that the door was between us.

I said "Excuse me, sir" a couple times before I realized he was asleep. But he was sitting perfectly upright, so it was not obvious at first that he was asleep, and was probably not in a deep sleep.

I feared that I had begun the wake-up process, and figured it was better to continue than just slink off. So I said "Sir" a couple more times a little louder, and he opened his eyes.

I offered him the Christmas DVD first, pointing out that it featured the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He was interested, looked at it, and politely accepted it. I then offered the other two DVDs, which he also accepted.

I sort of apologized that it was early for Christmas, and he responded something like "Not really."

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A "BOM" is a what?

Someone in Pakistan came to this blog after using the following search query on Google's Pakistan (.pk) web site: &oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1 &q=bom%20making%20book%20in%20urdu&spell=1

The search words were: "bom making book in urdu"

And the link he clicked on was the second one listed, and is titled "how-to-quick-start-guide".

In LDS lingo, "BoM" stands for "Book of Mormon." But I don't think that's what he was looking for.

Monday, September 10, 2007

English to guy on street. Mon, Sep 10, 2007.

09/10/2007. 885. After eating I shopped at a couple stores for some stuff on sale, then went to a Single Adult "Family Home Evening" at a chapel not too far from my home. After that, I shopped at a nearby Kroger and stocked up on some soup that was on sale, plus some store brand canned vegetables. The first two stores were "normal sale" stuff, that is usually on sale at least every other month. But the soup on sale at Kroger was really really on sale, at prices I haven't seen this low since seven months ago, so I really really stocked up.

After leaving Kroger and heading home, I stopped at a Village Pantry convenience store. I think it was prompted, but I'm not sure. The cashier was an English-speaking Caucasian-American guy, so I only bought a newspaper and made no placement attempts.

Outside on my way back to my car, a man asked for spare change. I shook my head "no," and made a "no" gesture with my hand. However, something clicked. The guy was very thin, and very humble and meek, not the agressive "player" type of pan-handler who has a manipulative story with lots of ready answers.

Now maybe the whipped-puppy routine was just his act. But he looked underweight, and it ocurred to me to buy him some food at the convenience store. My rule, though I've violated it a few times, is to give food, not money. And a humble underweight person has a better chance of getting me to give them some food than does someone who's overweight and/or being manipulative.

I put my paper in the car, and went back to him, and offered to buy him some food, and he agreed. He stank of body odor, alcohol and tobacco. He could have been buzzed on alcohol, but he wasn't staggering or anything like that. Alcoholics generally have a high tolerance for alcohol, and can be quite drunk before losing motor skills.

I told him to wait outside and not come in. The last time I said I'd give something to a beggar, he followed me into the store first, and it felt rather manipulative. So now, saying "wait for me outside, and DON'T follow me into the store, or else I won't give you anything" is part of my response.

I shouldn't mind people starting a conversation with me. After all, I strike up conversations with strangers too.

I went in and looked for something nutritious and not too expensive, but didn't find anything suitable, not even prepared sandwiches. It was all junk food and some refridgerated food that you couldn't eat without preparation.

Then it dawned on me that I had a lot of cans of chunky soup and cans of vegetables in the car that I just bought real cheap.

I figured he might be homeless, so I purchased a small box of plastic eating utensils. I took them out to the car, put together a shopping bag of 4 cans of chunky soup in pop-top cans, and 2 cans of vegetables, and took it to him.

He was also rummaging through the sand-filled ashtray near the door, collecting cigarette butts with some smokeable tobacco still on them.

He accepted the groceries and said thank-you. I turned to go toward my car, and he started to leave too. It was only then that it occurred to me to offer him a Bible and a Book of Mormon. Giving him gospel material had not even come to mind up until that point.

I asked him if he had a Bible, and he said yes, and that he read it. So I reached in the car and got out an English Book of Mormon, and an English Gospel Principles manual. I gave them to him and said my church uses these books along with the Bible.

We were only four blocks from the LDS chapel that serves that area. So I took out the info-flyer that I had in the Book of Mormon, and circled that chapel's address, and circled the time that that ward meets, and told him to go there on Sunday, and take his Bible, and those two books.

Looking back as I write this, I was a bit too strident at that point, and I should have invited him to attend instead of telling him to go. The last time I was hit up by a beggar I felt very manipulated, so maybe I was taking it out on this guy, which he didn't deserve. But at least he has a couple meals worth of food, and if he does show up at that ward next Sunday, hopefully they'll treat him nicer than I did.

This encounter was a good lesson for me, to remind me that I need to strive to be more polite, humble, non-threatening and non-manipulative when contacting people, and that literally everybody is a child of God and someone to whom I'd like to give reading material. This was an interesting juxtaposition of events.

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Vietnamese at Restaurant. Mon, Sep 10, 2007

09/10/2007. 884. I was heading towards a particular Chinese restaurant that I haven't been to in a long time, and noticed this new Chinese restaurant that I hadn't seen before, just a few blocks away. When I arrived at the restaurant I had intended on going to, it was closed. So I backtracked and tried out this new Chinese restaurant.

This place was indeed new, and had opened just a few months ago. I ordered, sat down, and put my standard Chinese material on the table: bilingual Chinese/English New Testament, both kinds of Chinese Book of Mormon, English Book of Mormon, and a "Finding Happiness" DVD, and I started reading a local newspaper.

The Caucasian-American waitress/cashier brought my food, and didn't show any sign she noticed the material on the table.

The food was great. And it was interesting in that it reminded me of the meals I've had at Chinese restaurants that are owned and operated by Vietnamese families. The recipes, both the entree and the rice, were extremely familiar so I put away the Chinese material, and got out a Vietnamese Book of Mormon from my book bag.

When the waitress checked on me, I asked if the chef was from Vietnam, and she confirmed that he was.

When the chef came out, I was able to strike up a conversation with him, and he accepted my offer of the Vietnamese Book of Mormon. He declined the English, but I didn't push the English edition like I normally do, because I plan on going back soon anyway.

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Festival day. Sat, Sep 8, 2007.

09/08/2007. 883. I had a booth at a cultural festival today to exhibit and distribute the Book of Mormon and church DVDs in the languages of that country. I only gave out one Book of Mormon, but that was enough to make it worthwhile. Then a member from another city stopped by, and she accepted a few DVDs that have audio tracks in one of her languages. Her English wasn't fluent, so she probably hasn't been in the US long. Then a former officer of the sponsoring organization picked up a DVD. And one of the other exhibitors asked for an NIV Bible which I also had on display.

The signage that I used had "FREE" written on it, but it wasn't big enough to get the message across. People kept asking me the prices. So next time I'll need to emphasize "FREE" more. I think I'll also put stickers with "FREE" on the books and DVDs.

The food, the music, and the cultural dances were absolutely great. I would have gone to this festival even if I hadn't had a booth there.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Hindi Liahona at restaurant. Thu, Sep 6, 2007.

09/06/2007. 882. Hindi Liahona at a chain restaurant.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Chinese declined, Urdu, Persian. Wed, Sep 4, 2007.

09/04/2007. Journal entry. I was down to my last Urdu Book of Mormon, which I don't want to give out in case I need to photocopy it. So I decided to take back the Urdu Book of Mormon that I had on display with the other languages at the Indianapolis Storehouse. I thought giving it out would be more important than the notion of a particular display being a complete set.

09/04/2007. 879. At the end of the day doing errands around town, I decided to have supper at a Chinese restuarant that I haven't been to before. I had a Chinese/English bilingual (diglot) New Testament, and the two types of the Chinese Book of Mormon on my table when the waitress brought the food. She noticed them and seemed interested at first, but declined, saying they were Buddhist. The restaurant had other customers so she didn't have time to chit-chat further.

09/04/2007. 880. I stopped at a store near the restaurant. I bought some stuff I needed. The cashier was originally from Pakistan, has been in the US a long time, and was very receptive to receiving an Urdu and English Book of Mormon. So after paying I went out to the car to retrieve the material. He also accepted the Urdu and English Joseph Smith testimony pamphlets. He was very chatty, to the degree that another cashier was eyeing us. I didn't want to bother him with too much small talk while he was on duty, but he was very eager to talk, and we exchanged contact information.

09/04/2007. 881. I stopped at another store on the way home. I hadn't browsed this kind of store in a long time. I bought a couple items. My cashier was from Iran, and spoke Persian (Farsi). I offered and he accepted a Persian and an English copy of the Book of Mormon, so I retrieved them from the car and took them back in. There were no other customers in his section, so we were able to chat some.

The latter two guys were pretty cool, and are the type of people I'd like to get to know better, so I hope to go back to those places.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Swahili at store. Sat, Sep 1, 2007.

09/01/2007. 878. I needed to go to this store not far from where I live. I was not seeking any book-placement opportunities. It was about 1/2 hour before closing time. This store was not busy, so the clerk/cashier had some time to chit-chat. He was older, probably late 50's, and seemed well-educated and articulate, so he might have been the manager. He was friendly and outgoing, and spoke with an accent reminiscent of the Indian subcontinent with a little bit of a British accent thrown in.

Although his family was originally from the Indian subcontinent, he was from Kenya, and spoke and read Swahili. He eagerly accepted my offer of a Swahili Book of Mormon, and flipped through it, and looked at the list of the local churches on the flyer I had included inside.

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