Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Follow-up, Korean - Japanese. Tue, Mar 25, 2008

03/25/2008. Journal entry. This was to be a follow up to visit I made here with the ward missionaries on March 3rd of this month. One of the employees there is Korean, and another is Japanese.

There is a member in our ward who went to Japan on his mission, and still speaks Japanese. He even teaches English, part time, to people from Japan. His wife is part Japanese, but doesn't speak it.

Earlier in the month I invited them to go with me to this restaurant to follow up. I probably could have scrounged up a date to make it a foursome, but I didn't want the hassle of trying to work around the schedule of another person.

Our waitress/hostess was the same lady who served the missionaries and me earlier, and she recognized me.

The Japanese employee was not there, and was out of town on a trip.

The place was not busy, so there was plenty of opportunity to chat with the waitress/hostess. We didn't discuss the gospel much, but learned which Christian religion she's a part of. And she gave us some of her family story.

On Sunday, their restaurant is only open in the evening, so theoretically, they could come to church.

I gave her some more material, Korean, Japanese, and English copies of the Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet.

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Amharic at gas station. Tue, Mar 25, 2008.

03/25/2008. 1009. I stopped at a gas station for some soda on my way home. The cashier looked like she was from East Africa. She was from Eritrea, and spoke Tigrinya. The church doesn't have anything in Tigrinya, but many Eritreans also speak Amharic, the language of Ethiopia. Eritrea used to be a part of Ethiopia.

She didn't speak Amharic, but she said another family member does. I asked if she would like a free church-book in Amharic for the other person, and she said okay. I retrieved an Amharic copy and an English copy of the Book of Mormon from my car, and went back in and presented them. She accepted them, and showed genuine interest.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Visited other church. Sun, Mar 23, 2008.

03/23/2008. Journal Entry. Easter Sunday. I showed up early at the church of the man I met yesterday at the car service shop. I would have time to go to their services, and socialize a little after and still make our sacrament meeting.

I got there early and their choir was practicing in the sanctuary. The man I met was in the choir. We waved to each other as I sat in the back. They were singing in their native language, and it was apparently a hymn written in their language, and in an Asian or Oriental scale. I did not recognize the tune, and it did not feel like a western-style hymn. The hymn was beautiful and moving.

Just listening to them sing that hymn was worth the trip to visit their church. I was really wow-ed.

After the choir was done practicing, my new friend came to greet me and introduced me around.

They were very welcoming to me as a visitor. They did a much better job of welcoming me and making me feel at home than my ward (or even most LDS wards) does with visitors.

They were part of one of the major Christian denominations in the US. Almost all of the congretation was from their native country, with a couple of other English-only speaking people. Everyone was pretty much bi-lingual. The service was in their language, with a few English remarks also thrown in by the pastor.

They provided English translation through a radio-headset, so everything was accessible and understandable. Their hymn books were bilingual.

A few years ago I visited another church similar to this one, and guessed that they might invite me to a meal afterward. So, not wanting to be a mooch, I made a small donation when they passed the plate in the worship service, so I wouldn't feel guilty eating their food. After the service, they did invite me to join them in a meal in their fellowship hall. Their pastor invited me to sit with him. The food was so good, I should have made a bigger donation.

In order to not be too late for our sacrament meeting, I wasn't able to stay until they finished up. But I did stay long enough so that I hope I wasn't rude by leaving when I did. I thanked the pastor, some of the ladies who prepared the food, and my new friend and his peers. I gave my new friend an info-flyer that lists the chapel addresses, and indicated which one I attend, and the time, and wrote him a brief thank-you at the bottom.

They invited me to come back next week. I think I will. Next week is our ward's "Linger Longer" so I'll have something to invite them to, in addition to just the normal meetings.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Pass-along card at repair shop. Sat, Mar 22, 2008.

03/22/2008. 1008. I took my car in for an oil change, and took with me a study manual for a foreign language. As I sat down in the waiting area I noticed a gentleman reading a book in that same language. Shortly after the person next to me left, the other gentleman came over and sat next to me. He may have noticed what I was reading, but it also could have been because the light was better than where he was.

Then he was the one who struck up a conversation. He hadn't been in the states too long, so his English was not fluent. He's associated with a local church that serves people from his home country, and he asked what church I went to. I pulled a custom-made pass-along card out of my wallet, and showed him, and later wrote my name and phone number on the back.

We got to talking, and his car was ready first. He came back and gave me something with his church's address on it, and wrote his name and phone number on it.

Later on in the day, I thought I might go visit his church, since other churches usually meet in the morning, and our ward is currently meeting at 1:00pm. I called and asked when his church meets.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

French-Arabic declined. Tue, Mar 18, 2008

03/18/2008. 1007. I stopped at a gas station to use the restroom and buy some soda. The cashier was from Algeria, and spoke French and Arabic in addition to English. I offered church material in those languages plus English, but he politely declined to receive them. I don't think I specifically mentioned it was the Book of Mormon, but I should have if I didn't.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Russian to missionaries. Mon, Mar 17, 2008.

03/17/2008. Journal Entry. Yesterday, our ward's full-time missionaries told me that the Zone Leaders needed some copies of the Russian Book of Mormon for a member in their ward (they meet in the same chapel as we do) who wanted to give them to some of his Russian-speaking friends. I suggested to our missionaries that the member probably ought to get them from the Distribution Center (www.ldscatalog.com), but that I'd drop off at least one Russian Book of Mormon.

I was passing not far from the Zone Leaders' apartment on my way home from an appointment, so I stopped by. They were not home, but I left one Russian Book of Mormon, 3 Russian Liahona magazines, and a Restoration DVD (that has a Russian audio-track), at their apartment door. I phoned the missionaries the next day and asked if they thought the member could afford to buy some copies, otherwise I would try to help out. They thought that he should be able to both afford it, and purchase them online; so he probably just didn't know how to obtain them.

If the books had been for active investigators, the mission office might have ordered them. But one mission president had previously told me that any books other than English and Spanish, (and any books in excess of the missionaries' allotment {10 every 6 weeks} need to come through the ward mission leader, and out of the ward mission budget.

I'm willing to help out in my ward, and provide material that missionaries are giving out directly, but I think if a member has the means to buy the Book of Mormon on his own, to give to his friends, then he can order them online like I do at www.LDScatalog.com

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Chinese, Ukrainian-Russian. Tue, Mar 11, 2008.

03/11/2008. 1005. I had arranged to have supper with a friend. We met at a Chinese buffet restaurant near his side of town. I had been there and made at least one placement before, but I thought there would be more people to contact than those I had previously spoken with.

I put some material on the table as we ate, and the waitress saw them, but didn't comment. During one of her trips to the table, I asked if she liked to read, and offered the material. She was a bit busy, and she didn't take any of the material from the table, but she seemed to agree to receive the Chinese/English bilingual New Testament, and the Chinese Liahona. She was called away, and didn't come back since we had already paid by then, so I'm not sure what all she wanted. Anyway, when we got up to leave, we left the bilingual New Testament, the Chinese Liahona, and the corresponding English Liahona, and a "Finding Happiness" multi-lingual DVD.

I don't like to just leave things on the table when I leave, because it seems a bit pushy. But I honestly thought she did want the magazine and bilingual New Testament. Most people are timid about accepting more than one or two items, but I think that's mostly out of politeness and deference.

03/11/2008. 1006. After leaving the restaurant, I received a cell-phone call from another friend who lived in the area, so I stopped by his place.

On the way home, I took a different route than I normally do, and there were a couple choices of which exits I could take to get off the Interstate.

My path took me past a drug store which was closed for the night, but which I had been to before, and I thought about doing a follow-up there, so that's for another trip. Then going past a 24 hour chain store, I felt that I might have been inspired to go there and get something. I wasn't sure. But it was worth a shot.

At the store, one of the employees spoke with an accent. Based on her name-tag and her accent, I asked the cashier if the other employee spoke Russian, and she said yes. So after taking my purchases out to my car, I brought back in Russian and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and a couple Russian editions of the Liahona. She was not too busy when I came back in, so I approached and offered them to her. She gratefully accepted them, and I asked if she spoke any other languages, since there are several countries where Russian is the secondary language. She also spoke Ukrainian, so I said I'd bring in something in Ukrainian. I retrieved a Ukrainian Book of Mormon, and a copy of "The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd" DVD that has a Ukrainian audio track.

She was busier when I got back in the second time, so there wasn't time to make a more formal presentation or explanation, but she accepted them.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Korean Liahona at store. Fri, Mar 7, 2008

03/07/2008. 1004. I was out running errands, and had just left a library. I was on my way to shop at a discount/close-out store. But at a certain intersection, I felt prompted to go another direction. It was at the level where I wasn't sure if it was real, or whether I was imagining it.

As I came upon a familiar shopping-center, I thought about where I could go, and then felt impressed to go to a certain store where I had already been a few times. I thought my opportunities there may have already been played out, so I parked and prayed about it, and still felt impressed to go there. Again, I wasn't sure. It could have been my imagination, but it was enough that it was worth taking a chance.

I knew that store sells inexpensive sweat-bands for head and wrists, so I looked for those, as I'm constantly losing mine. I bought something else that caught my eye too.

The cashier was a Korean lady who I didn't recognize from before. She gave off spiritual light, enough so that it seemed obvious to me that she was a believer in Christ. Her face simply radiated the light that indicated she believed in Him and knew Him.

I think I've attempted to place Korean copies of the Book of Mormon there on my previous visits, and I may have attempted placing copies of the Liahona there. If I remember correctly, those offers were delined. I had newer issues of the Liahona, so I thought I'd try those.

I offered the lady a magazine from church in Korean, and she agreed to accept it. So after paying I went out to the car and retrieved a December 2007 issue of the Korean Liahona. On the way back in, I wrote my name and phone number on the back cover.

When I went back in, she was ringing up another customer, but held out her hand towards me to receive the magazine. She didn't thumb through it, at least not at first because of the other customer, but she thanked me.

Now, as I blog this, I feel more confident that it was an inspired contact.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Yoruba at grocery store. Thu, Mar 6, 2008.

03/06/2008. 1003. I stopped at a grocery store to shop, and one of the employees who waited on me spoke with an accent. I said I didn't recognize her accent, and I asked her where she was from. She said Nigeria. I asked if she was Igbo or Yoruba, and she said Yoruba. I said my church has free books in Yoruba, and asked if she'd like to see one. She agreed. So after paying I went out to my car and retrieved a Yoruba copy and an English copy of the Book of Mormon, went back in and presented them to her. She gladly accepted them, and quickly opened flipped through the Yoruba copy. She was busy, so I didn't want to take up her time with extra small talk.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Missionaries' first sashimi. Korean/Japanese. Mon, Mar 3, 2008

03/03/2008. Sorry for lagging on the entries. Rather than try to get all caught up, I'll just start up again, and hope to fill in later.

Yesterday (Sunday), the missionaries asked me for a ride to an investigator's (for today, Monday). Our missionaries share a car with another set of elders and only have the car every other week.

Journal entry. Today (Monday) I picked up the elders, and we went to the investigator's place. The missionaries then invited me to sit in with them. He had taken a few lessons from other missionaries in another part of town, and then he moved into our ward, so this was a get-acquainted meeting. We gave him an English Book of Mormon, a copy of "Our Heavenly Father's Plan" DVD, a copy of "The Restoration" DVD, and a "Contemporary English Version" (CEV) of the Bible (from American Bible Society).

We left the investigator's place around 8:00pm. The elders don't have to be back in their apartment until 9:00pm, and they can be as late as 9:30pm getting back if they have good reason.

1002*. They didn't have any appointments or firm plans for the remainder of the evening, so I offered to take them out to dinner to a Japanese restaurant that I've been to, but haven't made any book placements at. I knew from the previous visit that one employee was Korean and another Japanese.

One of the elders I took tonight had sushi before, but not sashimi, which is plain raw fish. The other elder has had neither sushi nor sashimi. This was going to be a fun adventure.

They agreed to go with me. We went there, and we were the only customers at first, so I figured it would be easy to present some material. I took in my Asian restaurant book bag, and after ordering, put out Korean, Japanese, and English copies of the Book of Mormon, a Korean Liahona magazine, a multi-lingual "Together Forever" DVD, and the "Finding Happiness" DVD.

On one of the waitress's trips, I offered the material, and she was very enthusiastic about receiving it. There are many Korean churches in town, but no Japanese churches as far as I know. I did not ask if she went to one of the Korean churches, but she indicated the Japanese employee, who is a Christian believer, did not have any contact with other Japanese Christians in town. So tonight's event merits a follow-up. Later, the Japanese employee came by our table to say thanks.

The waitress put the "Together Forever" DVD in a DVD player hooked up to the big screen TV to watch it. She didn't know how to select the language, so I helped her use the DVD remote to select the Japanese language. When I went to pay the tab, she said she liked how the music in the DVD made her feel. I also saw the Korean Liahona open at the cashier counter.

*Yes, the thousandth contact was last month. I don't keep track of actual number of copies of the Book of Mormon, because sometimes I give out other material (DVD's or Gospel Fundamentals/Principles). Some contacts decline to receive material, but I count all contacts where I made at least some kind of offer. As described in a previous Ensign article, just making the offer is a success. The offer is in itself a testimony.

My estimate is that 90% of the people I contact agree to receive material. And some contact events are with multiple people of different families who each receive something, but I only count it as one. Therefore, I would estimate that at least 1000 people (of different households or families) have received material.

I started this project in early June 2004, 3 years and 9 months, or 45 months ago. 1000 / 45 = 22 contacts per month, on average.

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